AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott
In 2009, nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager and writer and producer Alan Estrin had an idea to combat the far-left agenda that had taken hold of higher education: they would start a university of their own that would provide a traditional education for America’s youth. Yet without millions of dollars to build a brick-and-mortar institution, the idea was little more than a pipe dream. That was, until Estrin had a better and more cost-effective idea. What if, instead of reaching fifty students with a semester-long course, you reached fifty thousand students with a five-minute, well-produced, informative video? Shortly thereafter, PragerU was born.
Since then, PragerU has become one of the largest and most successful conservative platforms on the internet. In their 2022 annual report, the organization announced that they had topped 7 billion views since 2009. 1.2 billion came in 2022 alone. They currently average 4,000,000 views a day.
The majority of these views come from PragerU’s main website. But most people first discover the site via YouTube, where the group has an equally impressive footprint. Their unprecedented success is especially notable considering Big Tech’s relentless censoring and “shadow banning” of conservative voices. PragerU’s growth despite these structural biases suggests a genuine hunger for conservative content that the left would rather pretend didn’t exist.
Though PragerU initially focused on reaching young Americans, its influence has become far more significant. Businessman, lawyer, and public intellectual Andy Puzder is featured in several of the site’s most popular videos. One of PragerU’s most-watched clips features Puzder fact-checking Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the minimum wage. In another recent video, Pudzer addresses so-called “ESG Investing.”
In an interview with AMAC Newsline, Puzder said that he has “had a number of state legislators tell me that’s how they found out about these issues; watching the PragerU video.” Puzder said that surprised him, as “I knew that college kids were watching, but I didn’t realize how broadly [the videos] were being viewed.”
In the wake of PragerU’s success, a raft of left-wing “deconstructionists” and critics have created a cottage industry criticizing PragerU videos as soon as they are released. The most high-profile left-wing imitator is “The Gravel Institute.” The site’s featured video is titled “How to Defeat PragerU.” Despite a sizable endowment, however, the Gavel Institute’s YouTube account has roughly 10 percent the subscriber count as PragerU.
PragerU’s number one video is “left or Liberal,” a nuanced analysis of how the “Left” has diverged from “classical Liberalism.” The video, hosted by Dennis Prager, currently has 20 million views, and celebrates the Western philosophical tradition that birthed the American experiment in self-government.
Puzder notes that while there is “a philosophical bent to [PragerU’s] content, Alan and Dennis are very focused on the facts. They want to make absolutely sure that they’re not saying anything that looks like they’re trying to tilt the scales of justice, so to speak. There may be videos where people say things that they clearly identified as their opinion, but they are always very focused on making sure that they’re stating things that are factually accurate.”
Puzder also speculates that this desire for factual accuracy is about more than just integrity. “Their belief is if they aren’t accurate, if they don’t relate the facts, then the kids aren’t going to trust them because they’re going figure it out,” Puzder said. “In addition, they believe their conservative views are better supported by the facts and that we should win on that.”
In contrast, many Gravel Institute videos seem focused on hitting emotional touchstones. The top video on the Gravel Institute, “David Cross: Why America Sucks at Everything,” is a broad, factless criticism of every facet of American life.
Puzder noted the stark contrast in the approach of PragerU as opposed to its left-wing detractors, recalling how “we used to have a saying when I was a trial attorney in my younger days: ‘if the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither the facts nor the law is on your side, pound the table.’ What you get from PragerU is that the facts are on your side.”
PragerU’s content is undoubtedly well made, yet its enduring popularity seems to be about more than just viral videos. Many conservatives actually feel that the pernicious liberal presence in academic institutions, the entertainment industry, and the media is so ingrained that they’re no longer worth reforming. Instead, it is up to conservative-oriented Americans like Dennis Prager and Alan Estrin to strike out independently and rebuild the culture from the outside. Other conservative companies like The Daily Wire are now producing their own movies, and lifestyle brands like the Conservateur are reaching conservatives directly.
PragerU has demonstrated that conservatism can still succeed in mainstream mediums, as long as it is packaged and marketed smartly. Progressives may try to stifle and silence them at every chance they get, but at the end of the day, conservative content resonates with the group that matters most: the American people.
Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.
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I love PragerU and started supporting them after the first video I saw sent to me by a friend in an email! I constantly share video’s on social media and watch everything they produce! I’ve even learned things school didn’t teach me! YES, if you haven’t checked them out, please do! They even have some great kids material to help keep the little ones from the indoctrination of the public education system!
Dont forget pragers fireside chats, also worth watching. Prager and Estrin demonstrate the adage that one person can make a difference .
Prager? Isn’t he the guy who got himself COVID and filmed it? God you old people are stupid. No wonder Darwin takes so many of you. Keep up the fast work lol
As you are now so once was I, as I am now so you shall be.
Yeah but With less filming my own COVID and trying to preserve a past that never existed lol
That’s OK señor, the folks on your side of the fence can’t even look between their legs and tell if they’re a man or a woman.
Meet me at the border at 3 am hombre lol
Love, Love Love your answer to Work Faster! I’m gonna use it whenever I can, if you don’t mind.
speaking of illegal immigrants.
i love that everyone says they are taking American jobs and no one is working now
I guess they decided to go on strike and the Americans just didn’t want to work the bad jobs lol
Truth has a nasty habit of revealing how deception keeps people in the dark. Public schools don’t help either.
Prager U is enlightening.
PragerU is wonderful!
I’ve only watched a few PragerU videos, mostly the 5 minute ones, but they are informative, factual, and simple enough that even I can understand the concepts!