Conservative pundit Dennis Prager feels “muzzled” by ongoing Big Tech restrictions on his media company PragerU, the radio talker told The Washington Times on Tuesday.
“If I say the ‘wrong thing’ — whatever that might be — on my Fireside Chat podcast for PragerU, I can be yanked off YouTube or Facebook. When big business and big government work together to muzzle free speech, that’s fascism,” Mr. Prager said.
The nationally syndicated talk show host’s comments came as his company PragerU continues to wage a long legal battle against Google’s YouTube.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled unanimously against Mr. Prager‘s claim of illegal censorship of conservatives. But Mr. Prager continues to allege that YouTube prevents PragerU from advertising videos due to unexplained violations of community guidelines, restricting other videos as likewise inappropriate and adding a disclaimer that the content may be factually incorrect.
“Never in the history of this country has free speech been in such jeopardy. What’s even more shocking is that the threat is not coming directly from the government but from woke corporations,” Mr. Prager said.
One disputed video depicts Mr. Prager, who testified about it in July 2019 to a U.S. Senate committee hearing, discussing the Bible’s commandment against killing. Mr. Prager said in his testimony that Google placed the video on a restricted list due to him using the word “murder.”
“We go to extraordinary lengths to build our products and enforce our policies in a way that doesn’t take political leanings into account,” said Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson. “And we’re proud that YouTube continues to be a place where many different voices are welcome, including PragerU, which has 2+ million subscribers.”
Attempts to reach Facebook and Twitter, who have issued no comments on his allegations, were unsuccessful.
PragerU has claimed that other videos and audio podcasts targeted for censorship center around dissenting opinions on COVID-19 lockdown policies.
The Times reported Oct. 18 that Mr. Prager, a vaccine skeptic, had tested positive for the virus after deliberately seeking infection to acquire herd immunity.
Mr. Prager said Tuesday: “A doctor can’t offer his best medical advice to his patients without risking his medical license? When has that ever happened?”
Marissa Streit, CEO of PragerU, said social media platforms routinely restrict the company’s videos by preventing them from advertising and keeping the videos inaccessible to most of its followers for short periods.
“These big tech companies invited us to invest in their platforms, but then they started changing the rules, making it impossible to benefit from reaching the very audience that we paid to build,” Ms. Streit said.
She added that the California-based media company, which has 90 employees, is still seeking an explanation from Big Tech companies on why their videos get banned.
“We don’t understand which videos are inappropriate and why they flag them. They won’t give us the guidelines and that allows them to take down things that they just don’t like ideologically,” Ms. Streit said.
She said PragerU signed a million-dollar annual lease last week on a 40,000 square foot building and has no plans to stop pushing out Mr. Prager’s video content.
But PragerU isn’t the only company complaining about Big Tech restrictions on political influencers.
The nonprofit Social Movement Technologies, an international NGO that advises the media campaigns of human rights protesters, called on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to stop suspending the accounts of human rights activists while leaving other accounts intact.
“Left or right, Twitter got a lot of good press for being accessible to democracy movements during the Arab Spring. Today, however, Twitter has left human rights activists of all stripes out to dry, and needs to fix its human rights problem,” Hannah Roditi, the group’s executive director, told the Times.
Transparency in how Big Tech censors content can’t come soon enough for Mr. Prager, whose company purports to make “edutainment” like PBS, but without what it calls “left-wing indoctrination.”
“Time to stand up and fight back,” Mr. Prager said. “No free speech, no America. It’s as simple as that.”