Right-wing propaganda organization PragerU begins targetting children

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Eamon Carew, Sports Editor

 Right-wing YouTube channel PragerU specializes in whitewashing historical figures and spreading disinformation to attempt to sway young people to the right. And now it is trying to expand its audience to a new target demographic: kids.

When conservative radio host Dennis Prager launched PragerU back in 2009, he began making short videos that were targeted at teenagers and college students. These animated videos are full of vibrant colors and graphs that contain little to no factual data and are voiced over by prominent conservative political commentators such as Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk. Prager’s goal is to indoctrinate young people who are submerged in left-wing politics and culture but still susceptible to the disinformation of the right. To help expand PragerU’s potential audience, it created the PragerForce, a group of over 6,500 teenagers and young adults that organize PragerU events on college campuses and ask students questions. These questions, asked in bad faith, are recorded in an attempt to make the (often left-leaning) students seem uninformed or wrong. These videos, often with exaggerated titles, rack up millions of views and further spread PragerU’s conservative influence on young people’s political ideologies.

Despite PragerU’s attempts to sway young people to the right of the political spectrum, left-wing politics seem to be gaining support from young people. According to a Gallup poll in October of 2019, almost half of 18-29 year olds view socialism as favorable, with a narrow majority viewing capitalism as favorable. With young adults seemingly slipping away from the grasp of the right, PragerU needed to find a more malleable audience. So, PragerU began creating educational videos for children called PragerU Kids, which target kids as young as five years old. Many of these videos center around a brother-sister duo of Leo and Layla, who go back in time to meet more conservative versions of historical figures. In one video, Leo and Layla describe talking about activism in class as “weird.” They then go back in time to meet abolitionist and activist Frederick Douglass. When asked about the Founding Fathers’ connection to slavery, the animated Douglass calls the choice to keep slavery legal in the United States as a “compromise.” Later in the video, Douglass calls abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison radical, and said Garrison “likes to set things on fire.” Leo and Layla then respond, “Sounds familiar” in a clear gesture towards the Black Lives Matter movement, portraying the movement as violent. PragerU Kids videos may not be as political as their other videos, but the goal is to subtly give young and impressionable children a narrow view of extremely important members of American history’s ideals and policies.

“We constantly hear from educators and teachers who use our videos in the classroom,” Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer for PragerU said in an email to HuffPost. “Ideally, every school in America would show PragerU videos in the classroom on a regular basis to help educate the next generation.”

Education was one of the key issues for Virginia governor-elect Glenn Youngkin in the recent Gubernatorial election. This proved a winning strategy among white voters mainly due to the irrational fears of “critical race theory” being taught in schools. Critical race theory is a concept that race is a social construct and that racism is intertwined in our legal system and our policies. This concept is taught in some law schools, not in public pre-secondary education schools. What parents are objecting to is the teaching of systemic racism in America. Parents want more control over public school curriculum, and Youngkin is looking to deliver. It could only be a matter of time before we see these dangerous, bigoted and outright false PragerU videos shown in FCPS schools and even at Madison. These videos would indoctrinate thousands of students from the moment they set foot in the public school system. It is down to us, the students, to oppose these videos in our schools.