Dennis Prager Peddles Complete Nonsense About 'Google Censorship' In The WSJ

from the this-is-bullshit dept

Another day, another major publication peddling complete and utter bullshit about big internet platforms. The latest is Dennis Prager, whose Wall Street Journal op-ed, Don't Let Google Get Away With Censorship (possibly paywalled) is so utterly full of wrong that it should maybe be a canonical example of how to bloviate wrongness. The entire premise is bullshit, with most of it focusing on the made up claim that YouTube is somehow censoring Prager's videos because of his "conservative" viewpoints. We've debunked Prager's arguments in great detail before, but apparently we need to do so again.

As a quick summary: a very small percentage (less than 12%) of Prager's videos are put into "restricted" mode. This does not demonetize them. It only means that the very small percentage of people who have opted-in to set up YouTube to not return videos that are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube's users) don't see that small percentage of YouTube videos in their search results. This includes videos with titles like: "Born to Hate Jews" and "Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?" which "includes an animated depiction of a nearly naked man lunging at a group of women." You might recognize why people at YouTube thought this might not be appropriate for children. But Prager insists that it's evidence of an anti-conservative bias.

Also, as we pointed out, many YouTube channels that come from sources that most would consider to be much more "liberal" find a much higher percentage of their videos put into the same restricted mode. This includes Stephen Colbert (13%), The Huffington Post (14%), The History Channel (?!?) (24%), Vox (28%), Sam Seder (36%), Buzzfeed, (40%), Democracy Now (46%), Last Week Tonight (50%), The Daily Show (55%) and The Young Turks at a whopping 71%. To argue that having fewer than 12% of your videos put into this restricted mode is evidence of anti-conservative censorship is pretty ridiculous, but this is Dennis Prager we're talking about, and he's up to the task:

But the issue is much more complex. I was asked to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on this matter for two reasons. One is the size of my website, Prager University, which gets a billion views a year, the majority of which come from viewers under 35. The more important reason is that YouTube, which is owned by Google, has at various times placed about 100 of our videos on its restricted list. That means any home, institution or individual using a filter to block pornography and violence cannot see those videos. Nor can any school or library.

Again, this makes the problem sound much bigger than it really is -- and it has nothing to do with anti-conservative bias.

Conservatives who defend Google or merely oppose any government interference argue that Google is a private company, and private companies are free to publish or not publish whatever they want. But Google, YouTube and Facebook choose not to be regarded as “publishers” because publishers are liable for what they publish and can be sued for libel.

This is, again, a total misrepresentation. There is no "choice." Google, YouTube, and Facebook don't get to "choose" if they're regarded as publishers or platforms -- the law says that they are not liable as publishers for third party content (for very good reason). Prager is misrepresenting Section 230 like sites have to make some sort of decision about what to be. But that's simply incorrect.

Congress gave Google and other social media an exemption from such lawsuits in 1996, with the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of that bill provided these companies with immunity against defamation and some other legal claims. The clear intent of Section 230—the bargain Congress made with the tech companies—was to promote free speech while allowing companies to moderate indecent content without being classified as publishers.

Congress gave all internet websites that protection (not "exemption") from bogus lawsuits, because it recognized that without it, bogus lawsuits (the things that folks like Prager used to be against) would flood the docket, and we'd be much better off if lawsuits were properly targeted at those who violated the laws, rather than the tools and services that they used.

But Google and the others have violated this agreement. They want to operate under a double standard: censoring material that has no indecent content—that is, acting like publishers—while retaining the immunity of nonpublishers. When YouTube puts PragerU’s content on the restricted list, when Twitter bans conservative actor James Woods, they are no longer open forums.

Again, this is literally wrong. Section 230 was designed to encourage sites to create "family friendly" zones -- that is exactly why then Rep. Chris Cox wrote it, in response to the awful Stratton Oakmont v. Prodigy ruling. In that ruling, Prodigy, which heavily moderated its forums to be "family friendly," got held liable for content it did not moderate. Cox wanted to prevent that situation from happening, and thus created Section 230. Based on this history, YouTube's use of restricted mode is literally exactly why Cox passed the law, in order to encourage sites like YouTube to create more "family friendly" areas, so that kids don't end up seeing violent and sexual content, such as those portrayed in Prager's videos. There is no "double standard" here. There is no "violation" of the agreement. There is YouTube doing exactly what the law was intended to do, and a whiny Dennis Prager complaining about it and misrepresenting what has happened to his videos (and misrepresenting the law as well).

Richard Hanania, research fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University, undertook a study of Twitter political bias and concluded: “My results make it difficult to take claims of political neutrality seriously. Of 22 prominent, politically active individuals who are known to have been suspended since 2005 and who expressed a preference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, 21 supported Donald Trump.”

This is wrong. We thoroughly debunked this study earlier in the year. The "list" of Twitter accounts that Prager seems to think showed proof of anti-conservative bias included literal Nazis (the American Nazi Party was one of the accounts), as well as notorious trolls and hoaxers. And, of course, this also comes soon after this very same WSJ published an article it claimed was from a "conservative" ex-Googler who claimed he was fired for "whistleblowing" on anti-conservative bias, but who actually was engaged in trollish support for white supremacists.

Defenders of Google also argue that some left-wing sites have an even greater percentage of their videos on the restricted list. But this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. When left-wing sites are restricted it is because their videos contain expletives or material truly inappropriate for children, not because they are left-wing. PragerU videos do not contain expletives and are very suitable for children. Our videos are restricted only because they are conservative.

This is Prager's weak attempt to respond to the point that we've raised numerous times before (and did above) about all those other, left-leaning, sites finding even more of their videos in restricted mode. But, note that he doesn't actually respond to that point. He just insists that those other videos were properly put into the restricted mode list, while his videos were not (remember: some of his videos that were restricted, depicted violence and sexual content). And therefore it "must be" because he's a conservative. This is nonsense, and the WSJ should be ashamed for publishing it.

If the four major U.S. airlines announced they would not allow passengers carrying The Wall Street Journal to travel to some American cities, would any conservatives or libertarians defend the airlines’ right, as private companies, to do so?

Yes? I think many conservatives and libertarians would defend that? Just like they would defend PragerU publishing videos that are full of racist, bigoted nonsense. Because he has a right to spew ignorance. And others have the right to (a) respond to it or (b) not to carry it on their own platforms. But here, YouTube isn't even doing that. It's not removing videos. It's not demonetizing them. It's merely putting a very small percentage of videos onto a restricted list because it decides that those videos are inappropriate for children.

Also, Prager notably leaves out that the lawsuit that he filed over this whole thing was tossed out as the judge noted that Prager's argument was a complete non-starter. I guess Prager's next WSJ article will be about how the courts have an anti-conservative bias as well?

Filed Under: anti-conservative bias, bias, censorship, dennis prager, nonsense, section 230
Companies: google, wall street journal, youtube


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:06pm

    Important to note:

    To assholes like Prager, not having the audience to which they believe they are entitled is equal to censorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:11pm

      Re: Important to note:

      There is one White-Power advocate here who keeps showing up and crying about how everyone on Reddit keeps downvoting and banning him because he won't stop presetting the "Facts" of white supremacy. He also is highly offended that people won't listen to the Scientifical TRUTH.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Important to note:

      Especially when they have to get them young so as to warp their view of society.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Important to note:

      Indeed, Google could and should give him a big middle finger. As a private entity they don't owe anything to anyone much less propaganda spreading crooks like him. Google could spitefully single him out for deplatforming and he has zero legal ground to stand on even if the treatment is arbitrary, other than bitch and whine like a moron for public pity points.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:12pm

    Captain Ahab has to get his whale, by and large I really enjoy Techdirt content, but Mike, it sounds like these guys are living rent free in your head. We no longer live in a world of absolutes, the truth exists in shades of grey.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 4:22pm

      Re:

      False claims of censorship on the internet are a technology related issue that falls under the general topic of this website, on top of the fact that Mike can post whatever he damn well pleases on his own site. But it also has advertisements and store merchandise that mean conceptually talking about topics others are interested in could be indirect sources of revenue, so in a way, Prager is paying rent by making his absurd claims that Mike can debunk for our entertainment and ad views.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:44am

      Re:

      "We no longer live in a world of absolutes, the truth exists in shades of grey."

      Only in the twisted minds of bigots who desperately want to portray themselves as presenting absolute villainy as a "gray-scale" area.

      Forcing private entities to lend their private properties as platforms for the bullhorns of white supremacists is a digital question - there's only in practice a yes or no answer. There may be issues with one answer - when private entities can set their own rules for their own property - but the outcome of the alternative answer is completely unacceptable to any form of basic democracy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:12pm

    When you are still clinging to your ancient business model & all of the advertising tricks & paywalls didn't pan out... Just try to kill the internet... that will TOTES make people come back to print, & we'll totes forgive you for doing it & believe anything you report now since you pinky swore to stop lying so you could be relevant again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:19pm

      Re:

      While the WSJ is primarily a print publication, I don't see Dennis Prager's financial interest in getting people to quit using the Internet and go back to newspapers.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re:

        He wants everyone to be forced to watch his videos, he is playing into the whole zomg they censor me bullshit.
        The WSJ gave him a platform for his screed because they want print to magically become the only outlet again.
        The enemy of my enemy (who has a vocal unthinking base) is my freind.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 11:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think perhaps you're overthinking it and it's just the standard Murdoch playbook of working up the audience with spurious claims of conservative victimhood.

          You don't think all those talking heads on Fox really believe there's a War on Christmas, do you?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            bob, 14 Aug 2019 @ 11:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            With how crazy they get over there, I wouldn't doubt if the have drunk so much kool-aid that some actually believe in the crap they say.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    urza9814, 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:23pm

    And YT ignores own policies....

    Prager also seems to spend a large amount of money on advertising on other YouTube videos, if the ads I am constantly seeing are any indication. And I've noticed that a number of those ads violate YouTube's acceptable content policies, but there's nothing you can do about that on paid content. There's no way to flag or block the ads the way you can with a channel. There's no way to report them, there's no contact information for YT, there's nothing you can do. Pay a couple bucks and YouTube will apparently let you spew as much hate and promote as much violence as you want, targeted at the exact audiences you want to target. You can't post objectionable videos, because advertisers might not want to be associated with that, but the advertisers can post all the objectionable content they want and force any channel they choose to be associated with them.

    ...which is one of many reasons why I'm ditching YT for Floatplane, LBRY, and Nebula.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:01pm

      Re: And YT ignores own policies....

      There's no way to flag or block the ads

      Ublock Origin keeps all YouTube adverts at bay.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wereisjessicahyde (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 4:11am

      Re: And YT ignores own policies....

      You can report Youtube Ads, using the imaginatively titled "Report an Ad" function.

      https://support.google.com/google-ads/contact/vio_other_aw_policy

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        urza9814, 14 Aug 2019 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re: And YT ignores own policies....

        Thanks...haven't seen that before. Unfortunately it still doesn't have any option for reporting the Prager ads -- it lets you report banner ads on the YT site, but it does not have an option for reporting the ads that play before videos.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          urza9814, 14 Aug 2019 @ 5:11am

          Re: Re: Re: And YT ignores own policies....

          ...and no wonder I haven't seen it before, looks like it didn't exist until pretty recently -- archive.org has no record of it before last May, which is definitely after the last time I looked for it.

          So yeah, DECADES later they finally add that ability...except it only applies to half of the content that it needs to. Typical, Google...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 7:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: And YT ignores own policies....

            So, to sum up your comments:

            You've insisted on using YouTube's free version rather than the ad-free premium version or a competitor. You don't bother to install an ad blocker or seek any solution not provided in the basic interface. The issue is one that annoys you so much that you're ranting about the issue over a year after the last time you looked for a solution that didn't require the effort of 3rd party software or paying for the service, but now you're even angrier that they didn't meet all your needs with the solutions they did provide without you making the effort.

            Good on you for actually deciding to vote with your wallet so to speak, but hopefully you realise the problems here.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 7:09am

      Re: And YT ignores own policies....

      "Prager also seems to spend a large amount of money on advertising on other YouTube videos, if the ads I am constantly seeing are any indication"

      I don't think I've ever seen such an ad. Perhaps there's something about your history that makes them keep appearing for you? Try using an ad blocker, or paying for the ad free service.

      "You can't post objectionable videos, because advertisers might not want to be associated with that, but the advertisers can post all the objectionable content they want"

      If you're not paying YouTube, the advertisers are their customers, not you.

      "force any channel they choose to be associated with them"

      Well, any channel that doesn't bother using the tools available to them to control the ads that are displayed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:40pm

    ...Both the exact article torn to shreds in this article, and the dude referenced, were brought up in comments in earlier articles.

    To my own requests, no less.

    How amusing to find their status as being entirely inadequate to proving conservative bias as the most recent article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      Teamchaos (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      I fully expect every article I post on this subject to get torn apart by those who are absolutely positive that there is no bias in social media. Those with an open mind, however, may benefit from understanding the other side of the argument so they can decide for themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re:

        I fully expect every article posted on this subject to be willfully denied by those unable to see that what they so desperately want to be real, isn't. Those with an open mind, however, may benefit from understanding that the other side of the argument doesn't have an argument to make.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Teamchaos (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Thanks. I flagged your post as humorous.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Please provide the following:

            Evidence of anti-conservative bias in moderation efforts by the sites in question.

            Specific definitions of which views are being banned. "Conservative" is too brad and malleable to be meaningful on its own.

            Evidence that the same moderation efforts are not also applied to non-conservative viewpoints (remember to define conservative viewpoints in the prior step).

            In doing this, remember that there are over 300 million users on Twitter alone. Please ensure to present enough examples that it doesn't come out to rounding error when compared to overall moderation efforts.

            I look forward to your response.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 9:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So weird how whenver anyone asks any of these guys to provide clear and quantifiable evidence to back up their claims of anti-conservative bias, they mysteriously disappear from the conversation.

              But I'm sure they'll be back making the same claims the next time Mike posts an article about ginned-up claims of anti-conservative bias in social media. At least, until someone asks them for evidence again.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2019 @ 10:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Admit it. You only want evidence so you can figure out a way to discredit it. You've made up your mind and no amount of evidence will make any difference.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2019 @ 11:24am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Spoken like someone who is trying desperately to win an argument despite not having any evidence to support their position.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                TFG, 15 Aug 2019 @ 4:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Admit it - you don't actually have any evidence, so you attempt to attack the motivations of those asking for it to shore up a position that otherwise has nothing to support it.

                If the evidence can be discredited, it wasn't worth anything. You should be glad to share it and have it gone over with a fine-tooth comb. If it's legit, the failure of attempts to discredit it would only validate your position.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 16 Aug 2019 @ 1:14am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Admit it. You only want evidence so you can figure out a way to discredit it"

                That tends to be the way intelligent people do things. They don't take claims at face value, they evaluate the source and the methodology. If they find problems, they question them. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:24pm

        Re: Re:

        An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. It isn't just contradiction.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:46pm

        Then offer the “other side of the argument” that isn’t mere conjecture. Point out the facts that prove anti-conservative bias — i.e., how conservatives are being banned only for expressing “conservative views”, what those “conservative views” are, and how said views don’t violate the TOS but get conservatives in trouble anyway. If you can’t do that, fuck off with your for-its-own-sake contrarianism.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 2:46pm

        Re: Re:

        I fully expect every article I post on this subject to get torn apart by those who have evidence and credible citations to back up that evidence.

        Fixed that for ya bro.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 2:55pm

        Re: Re:

        "those who are absolutely positive that there is no bias in social media"

        Who claims that? I have read posts here that say there is bias in everything and that websites are free to be as biased as they please because that is the way it is with private enterprise. I do not recall anyone protesting with claims of no bias whatsoever.
        If you are not pleased with your experience on one particular website, why not go elsewhere to get your fix? Certainly there are websites that line up with your opinions - yes? What is it that you do not like about those websites that espouse your pov? Is it a compulsion to argue?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "If you are not pleased with your experience on one particular website, why not go elsewhere to get your fix? Certainly there are websites that line up with your opinions - yes? What is it that you do not like about those websites that espouse your pov? Is it a compulsion to argue?"

          Because the bigots and racists who keep getting their asses banned and their posts downvoted aren't happy just posting in the stormfront echo chamber. They feel entitled to take their bullhorn to forums which hold actual credibility and get miffed over the fact that most sane people decide not to read their manifestos of hatred and bile.

          White supremacists just aren't content with talking about how the N**s and ks are taking over the world and coveting white women with other good old boys in funky basements. They want to espouse those opinions in open daylight with the surrounding crowd of normal people rendered unable to boo and hiss.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 5:14pm

        The existence of a contrary opinion does not an argument make. Nor do contradicting statements necessarily deserve equal merit.

        I can claim as loud as I like that I have been silenced for being too conservative, but that doesn't mean my claim should be given equal consideration with that of the librarians who asked me to please stop yelling in the kid's section.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 9:07am

        Re: Re:

        I fully expect every article I post on this subject to get torn apart by those who are absolutely positive that there is no bias in social media.

        Well at least your expectations match the quality of your argument.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:41pm

    The problem is that those who want to believe alkthis horse shit because it is beneficial to whatever ridiculous agenda they have. However, when the truth is published because it's couner productive to the cause they are championing, not only is it denied, its ridiculed. The truth is always harder to accept than a load of crap, especially when the load of crap is what is wanted

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:59pm

    I wish I were as censored and mistreated by Google and the universe as conservatives like Prager U. I'd be thrilled to be given $10 million a year by conservative billionaires to spend my time alternating between peddling misinformation and whinging in the press because I can't peddle misinformation as easily as I'd like.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 3:03pm

      Re:

      They did not mention this at the high school career day, they told me I should be an accountant. Glad I did not listen to them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 12:59pm

    Part of the editorial Mike left out...

    From the editorial... (for those of you too busy to actually read the damn thing)

    "PragerU releases a five-minute video every week. As of this writing, 56 of its 320 videos are on YouTube’s restricted list. They include videos such as “Israel’s Legal Founding” (by Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz ); “Why America Invaded Iraq” (by Churchill biographer Andrew Roberts ); “Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?” (by the Somali-American women’s-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali ); “Are the Police Racist?” (by the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald ); and “Why Is Modern Art So Bad?” (by artist Robert Florczak )."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:13pm

      Yes, and…what’s your point? YouTube is legally allowed to put those videos on Restricted Mode for damn near any reason it wants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:16pm

        Re:

        Thank you! You make the point exactly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:19pm

          Re: Re:

          What point?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:56am

          Re: Re:

          "Thank you! You make the point exactly."

          The point that the youtube label of "restricted for underage children" should be removed from videos which containg graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, racism, violence, etc?

          I think I'll agree with youtube that putting the "restricted" label on those videos so they can only be viewed by clicking "Yes, i'm over 18" is quite appropriate.

          Care to illustrate why you feel that 5-year olds should be educated about those topics without any warning?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:18pm

      Re: Part of the editorial Mike left out...

      The restricted list is about videos not being appropriate for consumption by children.

      I can very much understand that these videos may well not be suitable for consumption by children. The titles alone are not indicative of all content (though, honestly, "Are the Police Racist?" is probably not something a 5 year old should be watching).

      These videos are not censored or taken down, nor are they demonetized. They are just restricted from view by children, for those accounts that have decided to activate said controls.

      So, what's your point?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 1:22pm

      Re: Part of the editorial Mike left out...

      And you left out that Prager U isn't even an accredited university. Really they should be getting hit hard with false advertising.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 2:42pm

    Library Filters

    "That means any home, institution or individual using a filter to block pornography and violence cannot see those videos. Nor can any school or library."

    My librarian bride has worked in six different library systems of different sizes and political mien. In all systems that employed them, filters were defaults as required by the government under CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) rules in exchange for federal funding. Any individual, adult patron can waive CIPA filters at any time, gaining full access to the unvarnished Interwebz in all of its glorious depravity, e.g., Dennis Prager.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 3:32pm

    Best watch that racebaiting.

    Racebaiting is perhaps the worst form of racism, and the worst kind of racist simply because of how disrespectful it is to reduce a very real struggle that ruined many many lives to your talking point. And it's rarely a person of color doing the racebaiting. You'll notice that. There's a rich whiteness to the racebaiter typically.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 13 Aug 2019 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Best watch that racebaiting.

      The hell does this have to do with this article?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re: Best watch that racebaiting.

        Perhaps ZOF is using the definition of Racebaiting found @urbandictionary

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 4:47pm

          Maybe he should get a different one.

          race baiting verb; always unhyphenated

          1. (derogatory) Dismissal of any criticism of racist policies/racial discrimination as an act that needlessly incites racial tension where none supposedly exists

            • Example: “I first thought Mike was writing [the article] until I saw the race baiting section.”
            1. The use of dogwhistle politics to incite racial tension

            2. Making an association between a person or people of a certain racial/ethnic group and someone of the same race/ethnicity who has a low public reputation to smear all people of that race/ethnicity
            • Example: “Donald Trump engaged in race baiting when he described Mexicans as ‘rapists’ during his presidential campaign.”

          race-baiting adjective; always hyphenated

          1. (derogatory) Descriptor for a person whose criticism of racist policies/racial discrimination needlessly incites racial tension where none supposedly exists

            • Example: “Black people who keep talking about racism are nothing but race-baiting assholes.”
          2. Descriptor for a person who engages in race baiting [See: race baiting, def. 2]

            • Example: “Donald Trump has been a race-baiting asshole ever since he began his presidential campaign.”

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 4:46pm

      Re: you went full hamilton bro

      Never go full hamilton.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 5:25pm

      Re: Best watch that racebaiting.

      You're correct. Prager regularly engages in race baiting. For example:

      https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2165787260404165

      Not sure why you're posting that here though, Zof as the above article has no race baiting at all. I mean, other than your ignorant dog whistling.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2019 @ 4:56pm

    Prager University, which gets a billion views a year,

    Why is he worried about YT then?

    (He's not. This is just conservative extremists shifting conservatism, and consequently, the center, ever "rightward".)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AN69 (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 8:18pm

    Mike, you lost me

    "... are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube's users)... "
    doesn't make any sense. Frankly I have not idea how anyone could even think that number is realistic. You mean to say that within the US (330,000,000 People) that only 2 million children look at YouTube. MIKE.. THAT is BULLSHIT.

    I read the article in the WSJ. There was more to his argument than you let on .. but you are a publisher and can say anything you want.

    The numbers that get bounced around are ALL garbage and anyone can make those made up numbers to make a point.

    The real issue is does Tweeter, YouTube, etc want to be PUBLISHERS and be responsible for what is seen or not seen or do they want the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect them. I really don't see how they can have it both ways.

    I really don't care what the hell Prager, AOC, Alex Jones and all the other IDIOT brain dead excrement want to say. But when some claims 203 and at the same time says that a video of a threats of to a Senator can't be posted .. your REALLY have to believe that there is something screwed up. It was only after a bunch of Republicans and Democrats that are now investigating the likes of YouTube; that YouTube "claimed after multiple appeals from affected parties," they "reviewed this case more closely." That is publishing.. all the news that we think you should see until we get called on it.

    What about a little guy like me... I am quite sure that any video threats directed at me that I posted on YouTube would be banned .. well just because I'm not a Senator or member of Congress and some little ass-wipe in California doesn't like it because I think something different from whatever the ass-wipe thinks I should think or believe.

    They are publishers or 203.. not both ways.. Too simple.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 9:18pm

      There was more to his argument than you let on

      By all means, explain what more to his argument there was beyond “YouTube isn’t letting me reach all the people I want to reach”.

      I really don't see how they can have it both ways.

      I do. CDA 230 empowers Twitter, YouTube, etc. to moderate third party speech on their platforms. So long as those companies have no direct role in publishing speech — i.e., if YouTube doesn’t directly aid Prager U in uploading videos — those companies are not publishers. And even if they were publishers, legal liability for published content is the only real difference. Publishers have as much right to decide what will be published in their offerings as YouTube does to decide what speech will be available on its platform (and whether that speech will be hidden by an age-gate restriction).

      when some claims [230] and at the same time says that a video of a threats of to a Senator can't be posted[,] you[ ]REALLY have to believe that there is something screwed up

      Not really. Nobody ever said enforcement of moderation rules must remain consistent for a platform to retain CDA 230 protections. And besides, YouTube can legally refuse to host speech that contains threats of violence regardless of the context in which that speech is presented.

      That is publishing[:] all the news that we think you should see until we get called on it.

      And your point is…what, exactly? Publishing news will always be fraught with bias. Someone must decide what to publish, what to distill out of the mass of available data, and what facts to check.

      What about a little guy like me... I am quite sure that any video threats directed at me that I posted on YouTube would be banned

      …why the hell would you be threatening violence against yourself on YouTube?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 9:37pm

      Re: Mike, you lost me

      "... are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube's users)... "
      doesn't make any sense.

      The reason it doesn't make any sense is that you cut the first part of the sentence off.

      the very small percentage of people who have opted-in to set up YouTube to not return videos that are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube's users)

      Less than 1.5% of YouTube's users have opted-in to remove videos that are inappropriate for children.

      Although I suppose your parsing, that less than 1.5% of YouTube's users are videos, is technically also correct.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      cattress (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 9:39pm

      Re: Mike, you lost me

      Too simple-minded is more like it...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 13 Aug 2019 @ 10:38pm

      Re: Mike, you lost me

      I really don't see how they can have it both ways.

      Well, at least you made one truthful statement in that rant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:04am

      Re: Mike, you lost me

      "doesn't make any sense"

      Yeah, reading partial sentences while leaving off the part that provides the context will have that effect. Try reading the whole thing next time.

      I suspect your inability to read and comprehend whole facts is also behind the idiocy that makes up the rest of your post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 10:51pm

      Re: Mike, you lost me

      "... are inappropriate for children (which is less than 1.5% of YouTube's users)... "

      Odd that you missed the first part of the sentence, where it notes that I'm talking about how many YouTube users opt-in to use the restricted list.

      MIKE.. THAT is BULLSHIT.

      Nah, friend. What's "BULLSHIT" is your ability to miss the first half of a sentence and misrepresent the second. Work on that.

      I read the article in the WSJ. There was more to his argument than you let on .. but you are a publisher and can say anything you want.

      No, there isn't. Or, at least, feel free to add in the part that I did not "let on". Because there isn't. And you don't provide it.

      The numbers that get bounced around are ALL garbage and anyone can make those made up numbers to make a point.

      The 1.5% came from a filing in the court in Prager's lawsuit. Say what you want about Google, the idea that they're file bogus numbers in court is... unlikely to be true.

      The real issue is does Tweeter, YouTube, etc want to be PUBLISHERS and be responsible for what is seen or not seen or do they want the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to protect them. I really don't see how they can have it both ways.

      Then you don't understand CDA 230. There is nothing in Section 230 that says companies "pick" whether they're platforms or publishers. It says that no one online -- user or internet site -- gets blamed for 3rd party content. That's just about correct application of liability. It ALSO says that no provider should face liability for their attempts to moderate. You totally ignore that last part, just like you ignored the first half of my sentence above.

      Why?

      But when some claims 203 and at the same time says that a video of a threats of to a Senator can't be posted .. your REALLY have to believe that there is something screwed up.

      Uh... what?

      It was only after a bunch of Republicans and Democrats that are now investigating the likes of YouTube; that YouTube "claimed after multiple appeals from affected parties," they "reviewed this case more closely." That is publishing.. all the news that we think you should see until we get called on it.

      I have no idea what case you're talking about, but you're still wrong. CDA 230 actively encourages (in fact, was written to encourage) content moderation by internet sites. Literally from the law: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to material." It was literally written to encourage moderation.

      What about a little guy like me... I am quite sure that any video threats directed at me that I posted on YouTube would be banned .. well just because I'm not a Senator or member of Congress and some little ass-wipe in California doesn't like it because I think something different from whatever the ass-wipe thinks I should think or believe.

      What the fuck are you talking about?

      They are publishers or 203.. not both ways.. Too simple.

      You okay?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:01am

    "The companies are censoring people conservative views!"

    Erm, OK, what kind of views?

    "Born to Hate Jews"

    Erm, OK, what kind of people?

    "the American Nazi Party"

    OK...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 2:01am

      Some 'interesting' friends there...

      You just gotta love that of all the pieces of 'evidence' he could have trotted out he chose a 'study' that not only had a laughably small sample size but which included literal self-described nazis as evidence for how conservatives are being treated 'unfairly'.

      You'd think by now that the people making such claims would have figured out that pointing to nazis and how they are being booted, only to claim that as evidence of how their side is being discriminated against might not be a good idea as it gives some rather telling impressions, none of them good.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 2:30am

      Re:

      "Erm, OK, what kind of views?"
      ""Born to Hate Jews""
      "Erm, OK, what kind of people?"
      ""the American Nazi Party""

      To be fair I can't blame the white supremacists for wanting another venue than stormfront to peddle their toxic message through. That place is a toilet.

      Bluntly put, since they have shat all over the floor of their own dank basement they now want to be allowed to shit on the carpet of other people's living room unhindered.
      Surely, at least in their minds, that isn't an unreasonable demand. To claim otherwise is just supporting state-mandated censorship.

      Right?

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:27am

    A better question may be ...

    why the hell did the WSJ publish that rubbish?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 1:34am

      Re: A better question may be ...

      Because the WSJ has been owned by Rupert Murdoch for a few years now, and it's been a while since they've even pretended to deal with factual information in their editorial and opinion pages, from what I've seen at least.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mechtheist (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 3:32am

    "up to the task

    "...is pretty ridiculous, but this is Dennis Prager we're talking about, and he's up to the task"

    heeehee, god that's good, really hilarious.

    Might be a good time to remind folks that reality has a liberal bias. That orange thing in the oval office and the sickophants who support it are making that truer than ever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheilaaliens (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 3:51am

    Google Insider will be coming out tomorrow

    You're going to have to rewrite your entire article once you realize that a Google insider is coming out TODAY and releasing hundreds of documents and he has turned them all over to the doj and it explains exactly how their algorithms discriminate politically. Your propaganda piece is garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 4:35am

      Where to even begin...

      Given how that worked out the last time a 'Google insider' supposedly came out talking about how they had proof Google has an anti-conservative bias you'll excuse me if I don't hold my breath.

      If they actually do have evidence that the company has and implements algorithms that (somehow) discriminate 'politically' they'd certainly be the first, but funny thing, as pointed out by others before on TD even if they did they would still be in the clear, as both the first amendment and 230 allow them to 'discriminate' on political basis all they want, so invoking the DOJ isn't going to get you or them very far.

      As a side note I do find it rather funny that you apparently have a serious problem with TD's 'propaganda piece' while ignoring that it's tearing up Prager's utterly garbage propaganda piece itself, as while TD's position may turn out to be faulty due to lacking certain information his tripe is based upon already debunked claims and a 'study' that literally included nazis in a list of 'conservatives'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 5:46am

      Clock’s ticking, Q.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 8:36am

        Re:

        What's the bit from Ghostbusters 2 where the guy's talking about how the world's going to end within a month and Venkman suggests maybe he should have chosen a deadline that was a little farther out? "I mean, just thinking of the paperback sales..."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TFG, 14 Aug 2019 @ 6:16am

      Re: Google Insider will be coming out tomorrow

      Got a source for this?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 8:35am

      Re: Google Insider will be coming out tomorrow

      Look, I already quoted the Argument Sketch upthread, and I try to limit it to once an article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 11:53pm

      Re: Is it today or tomorrow bro?

      Congrats on badly having the cognitive ability to create a profile. 🥳 Now I know you won’t answer, but I’ll ask anyway. Do you get paid in rubles, US currency, or Vodka?

      I mean it’s not like you couldn’t figure out the difference in time zones between St Petersburg and NYC in your own post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 16 Aug 2019 @ 8:24am

      Re: Google Insider will be coming out tomorrow

      *checks calendar*

      Time's up, Sheila.

      You know, the funny thing about your "There is a document dump tomorrow!" foolishness? If there actually had been, all you would have had to do is wait one day to write your gloating nonsense.

      Next time you're predicting something's about to happen -- within a day, even! -- why not just wait and see if it happens before you pipe up? That way, if you're wrong, nobody will ever know, and you won't publicly make a fool of yourself.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 14 Aug 2019 @ 4:17am

    I personally worked with Dennis Prager in talk-radio some 35 years ago, before he became a tool of the Fascists, but as he was establishing a justified reputation as a scholar on Judaism. It was a joy to know him, his first wife, and to meet his parents--all warm and wonderful people. Around ten years later, I met his second wife, who radiated "cold shafts of broken glass", to quote Pink Floyd. Dennis had achieved a growing level of success as a talk-radio host in the ensuing years, and had become completely unapproachable, as he bought mightily into his own P.R. For a number of years into 2019, Dennis has hosted his own daily national show produced and distributed by the Salem Radio Network. What I'd like to know is, how can Dennis Prager--not as a blind, bleating Trump defender who seems unbowed by his "pussy-grabbing" would-be dictator, but strictly as a Jewish scholar, which he will always be regardless--how can he be comfortably at home in the same literal workplace as given to a known, blatant holocaust denier and open toady to European Nazis, "Dr." Sebastian Gorka, a former paid Trump acolyte and current-colleague talk-radio host, following Prager with his own daily national Salem talk-radio show? Gorka was documented as rubbing elbows with then-current Nazi pillars in Europe, a little over ten years ago. "Dr." Gorka was seen publicly since, proudly wearing a pin commemorating the Hungarian Guard, an organization which traces its roots back to the original German Nazi Party. Salem fired Michael Medved, and gave his daily slot to Gorka at the beginning of this year, where he holds forth daily sounding like satan himself spewing out far-far-right barking points with a rich, deeply clipped English accent--despite being allegedly Hungarian. All this with no objection whatsoever from Prager, who now betrays his own heritage giving tacit aid and comfort to one who would send his (Prager's) own people to gas chambers, making lampshades out of their skin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 8:47am

    "Bogus"

    Congress gave all internet websites that protection (not "exemption") from bogus lawsuits

    Speaking of misrepresentations, this was not just to protect from "bogus" lawsuits. They courts had already decided these lawsuits were not bogus.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 20 Aug 2019 @ 5:11pm

      Re: "Bogus"

      Which is why Congress stepped in to declare that the lawsuits are bogus in a way that even a court would see it. Also, there’s a difference between “bogus” and “able to survive a motion to dismiss.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 10:35am

    I don't get it ... even if private business websites censor the contents of user submitted material, that is not illegal so long as it is not based upon race, religion, sex, and all that.
    These same folk who argue for forced hosting of material on private business websites also believe that private business should be allowed to not serve whomever they so designate regardless of any prior laws, ie; race, religion, sex, and all that.
    This point of view is a bit confusing for me because if one were to analyze and compare the two there seems to be a huge hypocrisy. I think what they really want is the ability to skirt the law based upon their religion all the while forcing others to adhere to the laws they write for everyone else.
    Well, obviously, their silly little scheme will not fly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2019 @ 9:57pm

    Google censorship.

    So now it's out that Zachary vorhues released the documents proving that Google does this, you look kinda stupid now don't you... Lol.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 10:30pm

      Re: Google censorship.

      [Asserts facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Aug 2019 @ 11:04pm

      AC argues that certain newly released documents prove Google censors conservatives only for their political beliefs/affiliation. But AC offers no citation of these alleged documents, and their alleged contents, to support this proposition. Their post is hereby dismissed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2019 @ 12:00am

      Re:

      Vorhies*

      Speaking of looking stupid.You idiots can’t even spell his name right.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2019 @ 1:38am

      Check your sources before trumpeting them as credible

      You uh, might want to do a little digging into your little pal there before you hold him and anything he says/presents up as evidence. I suggest scrolling up just a little bit to the link Mike posted about his absolutely charming personality for a start.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.