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How PragerU Is Winning The Culture War Five Minutes At A Time

How PragerU Is Winning The Culture War Five Minutes At A Time

Can you change a mind in five minutes? PragerU says “yes!” and BuzzFeed reluctantly agrees.

https://youtu.be/EvMpYct7lbg

Here at LI, we love PragerU and often share their excellent videos with our readers.  So it was with great interest that I read an article at BuzzFeed about “How PragerU Is Winning The Right-Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump.”  They don’t quite get it because they can’t quite wrap their minds around PragerU’s focus on ideas rather than on politicians or parties.

The BuzzFeed article begins by relating the experience of a 15-year-old high school sophomore who was intrigued by PragerU videos.

The video that hooked him was this one on Iran and the Bomb:

From there, BuzzFeed reports, this student began watching other PragerU videos, and the student said that it took about two months “to clear out my beliefs and reform them.”  He is now a 19-year-old conservative.

BuzzFeed is appalled that such a thing can happen right under their noses.  After citing some pretty impressive PragerU viewership numbers (about a billion), BuzzFeed muses that “it all adds up to an audience at a scale that makes PragerU unique among conservative media organizations. In fact, it’s much closer in size to the major digital-first players in news video: Vice, AJ+, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post.”

BuzzFeed continues:

And yet PragerU is a whisper in an online conservative din dominated by the Trump-worshipping Breitbart brigade.

PragerU’s low national profile comes partly from the fact that it doesn’t really do the news cycle; you can search the PragerU video landing page for “DACA” or “Kushner” and come back with bupkis. Nor does it do speed: The site only releases one video a week. And its politics, or at least the cumulative politics of its presenters, can be hard to pin down: a grab bag of Federalist-style moralizing, Commentary-approved Zionism, “alt-lite”-issue broadsides against campus outrage culture, defenses of free markets that would be at home in Reason, and, er, George Will explaining why baseball is America’s true national pastime.

The site may also have grown so large so quietly because it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the sexier narratives about the viral right that have obsessed the mainstream left: that it is a stalking horse for white nationalism, a clearinghouse for racist 4chan memes, or a move in a twelve-dimensional chess match played by Grandmaster Putin. Indeed, this is a rapidly advancing homegrown front in the culture war being led by people who wouldn’t dream of saying “cuck.”

Being what they are, BuzzFeed can’t see anything on the right without first donning its Trump Derangement goggles.  There’s no Trump at PragerU, they wail; there’s no “conspiracy theory, xenophobia, racism, and anti-Semitism whose rise accompanied Trump’s.”

PragerU is making a play for a potentially bigger and longer-lasting audience than just Trump supporters. The exact shape of this audience is still coming into focus — as is much of the political landscape after the Big Bang of 2016 — but squint and you can see it: Millions of young people, many of whom didn’t vote for Donald Trump, looking to stretch their conservative intuitions about our new culture war into a coherent worldview. It’s an audience more alienated by a perceived liberal cultural orthodoxy than it is attracted to the president.

Part of the explanation consists of simple history and mission, PragerU was founded by Dennis Prager in 2009, long before Trump appeared on the political landscape in any meaningful way.  They didn’t do any “I hate Obama, he’s the Devil” videos throughout the Obama presidency, either, so why would they do pro- or anti-Trump videos now?

In fact, PragerU didn’t get involved in any of the elections since its 2009 founding, and that’s been no accident.  They don’t “do” politics, at least not, per se.  What they do is share “Short videos. Big ideas” in an effort to “to explain and spread ‘Americanism.”

In some ways, then, it’s unsurprising that BuzzFeed is so puzzled.  The left is all politics, all the time, and the more personal, anti-American, and vile, the better.

Furthermore, the last thing the left ever wants to do is defend (or even explain) their ideas.  A leftist outlet like PragerU is impossible because it would be the same thing as the mainstream media; a lot of screeching about hate and impeachment and attacking individual politicians, the “white supremacist” GOP, and the “deplorable” Americans who decided against a Hillary presidency.

No wonder BuzzFeed struggles to understand PragerU’s appeal to so many “normal” young people.

In fact, they ramble on for over 20 paragraphs just trying to figure out what’s up with PragerU before launching into another 15 or so paragraphs trying to get a handle on Dennis Prager, PragerU’s founder.  Click over if you want to read it; it is of some interest to see how completely confused the left is by the popularity of a video “university” that doesn’t attack, attack, attack while spewing vomitous bile and dripping condescension from its morally-superior perch of self-righteousness.

Ultimately, BuzzFeed does have an answer for PragerU’s popularity, particularly among young people. The videos are so polished and so professional that they’re just like . . . BuzzFeed!

The most obvious reason PragerU has attracted so many young viewers is the quality of its videos. It’s clear after watching just a few seconds of any of the segments that they have a higher level of polish and professionalism than the other popular conservative digital media outlets.

“Conservative organizations have absolutely failed in coming up with a product that is digestible and shareable, which young people want to consume,” Strazzeri told BuzzFeed News. He and Streit see PragerU’s competitors in video not as other conservative media outlets, but BuzzFeed, Vice, and AJ+, whose content they admire.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Here is a sampling of some great PragerU videos:

Ultimately, BuzzFeed inadvertently reminds us that the culture war is not lost. Knowledge is power, and PragerU provides a great groundwork for explaining and defending our ideas without sinking into ad hominem and other rhetorically lazy strategies that not only shut down conversation but close minds.

Instead, clear, informational, and short videos focused on ideas is the key to winning the culture war.

Watch:

Share their videos far and wide, including those restricted by YouTube; you never know when one might land on the device of a high school or college student who is still trying to figure out their worldview or who hasn’t been exposed to the big ideas that make America great.

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Comments

Fighting liberal fascism five minutes at a time.

kenoshamarge | March 6, 2018 at 9:57 am

Those are wonderful, informative and honest videos. If you could get the uninformed and ignorant to shut up long enough to watch them I suspect minds could be opened. Knowledge, facts, and all the things we need to make informed opinions seem anathema to the left. And therein lies the problem.

Or maybe not. Because their insanity is so obvious they are alienating anyone with a brain.

Long may they rant.

I will pass these great videos on to everyone I know. Because knowledge it power.

Michael Johnson | March 6, 2018 at 10:49 am

Prager U is good stuff, and I am pleased with the job they are doing. But this is politics, not culture. This is downstream from culture as Andrew taught us.

The Prager videos are clean. This makes them refreshing to someone bombarded with partisan tripe.

On another topic, I just cannot resist commenting about this line from Buzzfeed:

” “Conservative organizations have absolutely failed in coming up with a product that is digestible and shareable, which young people want to consume,” Strazzeri told BuzzFeed News. ”

That quote explains why the Democratic Party was blindsided by the last set of election results. They do not know what was in the marketplace for ideas. Further, they believed their own propaganda, never considering that it was supported by shills and fake polls.

My guess is that the Democratic Party media, David Brock and perhaps another few organizers succeeded too well in their use of blatant propaganda and shills to paint a false picture of support for an arrogant, tone-deaf Hillary campaign.

My engineering grad student son discovered Prager U a couple of years ago and is a loyal subscriber to the channel. He was an undergrad a year ago when he texted me to tell me the media had called Trump for president. He was watching the results with friends, who were, he told me, not terribly happy. I raised my son (and daughter, who is also a subscriber) to be a thinking conservative and Prager U helps to support that. Thanks so much for being out there and giving an intellectual framework that is sorely lacking in most colleges these days!

The secret to the success of the Prager videos is that they do not allow the discussion to be dragged off into the tall grass through the use of misdirection. Where most conservative interviewers go wrong is allowing liberal/Progressive spokespeople to commandeer the discussion and direct it into areas which are not germane. The Prager videos remain on point and most are short enough that they do not tax the attention span of today’s viewer. Coupled with the use of readily verifiable facts to support their point, this makes them very effective.

    Mac45 in reply to Mac45. | March 6, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Trump. Trump’s election was certainly a shock for the Elite in this country. They have no one to blame for that shock, but themselves. The Elite, made up mostly of Progressives, has been assiduously working to turn the United States into Russia, pre-1918. The Elite has been working to eliminate the middle class while creating a class of serfs dependent upon the Elite for their continued existence. However, the Elite has little contact with those outside of their “class”, except in the role of employer. They do not view the middle class, and certainly not the dependent lower class, as being “people”. And, this is why they never saw Trump coming.

    Trump is not widely liked, even by those who voted for him. His election was simply the latest in a long list of signals, from the middle class, that they are unhappy with the way the country was being run, largely by the Progressive Elite, and that they were no longer going to stand for it. In France such unhappiness led to the French Revolution. It has led to armed rebellions and revolutions throughout history. At this time, in the USA, this message was sent at the ballot box. However, the Elite are not going to heed the warnings. It is actively attempting to foment violent resistance to any change. At the same time, they are attempting to replace American underclasses with imported serfs.

    Where this will end up, is still not clear.

buckeyeminuteman | March 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Conservatives need to be defending principles, not personalities. Prager does well at that.

LukeHandCool | March 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

I use these videos with my two teenagers.

They love to yank my chain (I hope that’s what they’re doing) and parrot the leftist garbage they’re fed from their high school teachers.

So, whenever they want some money or a favor, I make them watch one of the videos with me. They get to choose which one to watch.

After watching it, I quiz them on it and have them explain to me the main points. Any good vocabulary words or useful phrases in the video I tell them to incorporate in their answer to a question I ask them.

Lots of learning you can do with these videos. They can be a springboard to other types of learning besides giving them the other half of the argument they never get from their teachers.

They are a great resource for parents worried about their kids being bombarded with leftist viewpoints from their teachers and all aspects of pop culture.

Good way to get your teenagers talking to you and have an actual conversation with them outside of,

“How’s school?”

“Good.”

“What did you learn today?”

“Nothing.”

I almost always learn things from these. They are superb!

I have never watched a Prager U video that I didn’t like and think was well done. I’ve probably watched 30-40, and I link to a number of them from my church small group’s website that I maintain. I’ve seen people bash the videos, but they displayed a profound ignorance, both about Prager U and about the videos they were bashing. It is pretty clear they had not actually watched the videos in question and they claimed that Prager U was just charging money to gullible people. Apparently the concept of “free” is only meaningful to them when it is a “freebie” from government.

It is pulling teeth to try to get a progressive to watch one of the videos – progressives fight tooth and nail to prevent hearing anything they disagree with. But it is worth a try. While it took Milton Friedman almost an hour to convert me from liberal to conservative (the first episode of “Free to Choose”), 5 minutes is a possibility with a well-selected one of these videos.

We started watching PragerU videos with our 17 yr-old son at dinner time a few years ago. After watching a 5-minute video, we had our dinner discussion topic set. He has watched all the rest on his own. This is how our son has been inoculated against the leftism he will likely face in college this fall. Thank you, Dennis Prager!

nordic_prince | March 9, 2018 at 11:21 pm

We also use Prager U videos as a starting point for discussion with our teen and pre-teen. For the most part, they do a great job of presenting the conservative viewpoint and cut through the liberal nonsense that pervades mass and social media. (I say “for the most part” because we take exception with his concessions to the homosexual front of the culture wars – but even that, too, serves as a springboard for conversation with our kids.)

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