PragerU

PragerU (Prager University)

Background

Prager University, branded PragerU, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservative media organization founded in 2011 by radio talk show host and author Dennis Prager and his business partner Allen Estrin. As noted on its website, “Prager University is not an accredited academic institution and does not offer certifications or diplomas.”1Madaline Donnelly. “How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions,” The Daily Signal, November 4, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HQ7bD

According to a Rewire profile, “Dennis Prager, has historically fought against what he describes as ‘liberal’ evils—marriage equality, feminism, and multiculturalism.”2Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV The profile suggests that PragerU targets middle school and high school children.  According to PragerU’s 2014 annual report, a priority is to develop relationships with educators in “in college, high school, middle school and homeschools.”3“Thanks A Million: Make that Twenty-Four Million!” (PDF), Prager University, 2014.

In 2015, PragerU had hit “more than 50 million views as confirmed by YouTube and Facebook,” as Prager told The Daily Signal, a conservative news website. Prager noted that the largest demographic was people under 35 years of age. “With the birth of the Internet, the ability to influence even more people—especially young people—opened up,” Prager wrote. The swell in popularity followed a complete website redesign. PragerU began exclusively using animation in its videos following a 2013 lawsuit where it allegedly used a photograph without consent.4Madaline Donnelly. “How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions,” The Daily Signal, November 4, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HQ7bD

In 2017, speaking with The Times of Israel, Prager said that the group had accumulated 250 million views in the past year, and “are on schedule to have half a billion views this year” with the primary demographic continuing to be viewers under 35 years old. Some single videos netted over 150 million views in 2016, and the group boasts more than 2 million fans as well as a “student force” from universities around the world. The group’s 2017 impact report projects over 500 million views in 201. It describes their student group, “PragerFORCE,” as a “young digital army” of students “who spread the ideas and values of PragerU” on campuses.5Lisa Klug. “Super-conservative PragerU aims to arm pro-Israel students for their campus ‘wastelands’,” The Times of Israel, June 14, 2017. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/PgsA1 6PragerU 2017 Impact Report (PDF). PragerU, May 3, 2017.

According to their website, PragerU’s mission is to “spread what we call ‘Americanism’ through the power of the Internet.” It does this through five-minute video segments, which it describes as “conservative sound bites that clarify profoundly significant and uniquely American concepts for more than 100 million people each year.”  Dennis Prager has described the group’s mission as combatting “liberal bias” at American universities. “The mission of Prager University is to arm people who are on our side with the intellectual ammunition they need to respond to these arguments, and to make the arguments really, really simple, so you don’t have to be a genius to understand them,” Prager has said.7What We Do,” PragerU. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/k6zGc 8Madaline Donnelly. “How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions,” The Daily Signal, November 4, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HQ7bD

“We take the best ideas from the best minds and distill them down to five focused minutes. We then add graphics and animation to create the most persuasive, entertaining, and educational case possible for the values that have made America and the West the source of so much liberty and wealth. These values are Judeo-Christian at their core and include the concepts of freedom of speech, a free press, free markets and a strong military to protect and project those values,” PragerU explains.9What We Do,” PragerU. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/k6zGc

The conservative Daily Signal also noted that PragerU videos generally don’t cite statistics or sources. Prager co-founder Allen Estrin said the reasoning for this is that the videos are narrated by “experts” who know the subject matter, and that viewers are expected to do their own research. After viewing the videos, “the individual does the rest,” Dennis Prager told The Daily Signal.10Madaline Donnelly. “How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions,” The Daily Signal, November 4, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HQ7bD

PragerU boasts that thousands of teachers and professors use their videos as teaching supplements, and advertises the “PragerU Educators Network” as a resource designed to “bring truth back to the classroom.” According to the Prager U Educators page, “Students no longer learn that America is a land of opportunity, a defender of freedom around the world, and a source of pride. Instead, they are taught that America is a land of inequality, racism, imperialism, and, ultimately, shame that can only be redeemed through the adoption of leftist ideals.” It offers an alternative to “show both sides of the argument” and a call to action to “ensure that this generation of American students passes on the mantle of freedom to next generation, and doesn’t allow it to go extinct.” As of 2015, PragerU’s chief operating officer Marissa Streit said that this network included at least 3,000 educators.11Bring Truth Back to the Classroom,” PragerU. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ukhvI 12Madaline Donnelly. “How Dennis Prager’s Conservative Online University Reaches Millions,” The Daily Signal, November 4, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/HQ7bD

PragerU also lists a number of petitions on its website, including one claiming that YouTube is censoring their content from younger viewers by putting total of 34 videos “under ‘restricted mode’ making it impossible for many young people to access our videos.” According to PragerU, this is a sign that “conservative ideas are under attack.”13YouTube continues to restrict many PragerU videos. Fight back!PragerU. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/kdfZM Among the 34 videos PragerU requests be un-restricted for younger audiences is one on college rape, (the video claims that there is “no evidence of a national campus rape epidemic”)14Are 1 in 5 Women Raped at College?” YouTube video uploaded by user “PragerU,” April 11, 2016., and another criticizing anti-tobacco activists‘ opposition of e-cigarettes.15What’s Wrong with E-Cigarettes?” YouTube video uploaded by user “PragerU”, May 8, 2017.

PragerU also promotes religious materials and courses, including videos about Genesis, the Ten Commandments, and other Bible passages. Nearly all of the videos in the “Religion/Philosophy” category are narrated by Dennis Prager.16Religion/Philosophy,” PragerU. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/vODDm

According to Conservative Transparency, Prager University and the Prager University Foundation have collectively received $215,000 from the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Their largest known funders have been the Wilks family, who are significant donors for the Christian Right.17Prager U,Conservative Transparency. Accessed August 29, 2017. 18Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV

Prager University & the Religious Right

Two of Prager University’s largest supporters are the fracking industry billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks, who have gained a reputation as “the Koch brothers of the Christian Right.” The brothers previously owned Frac Tech, and still manage Interstate Explorations, an oil and gas service company. They were each worth an estimated $1.4 billion, according to a 2015 Rewire profile.19Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV As of 2015, Prager University had received an estimated $6,550,000 from the Wilks family as well as $50,000 from the Heavenly Father’s Foundation, run by Dan Wilks and his wife.20Bill Lambrecht. “‘Undercover billionaires’ now in the political spotlight,” San Antonio Express-News, February 13, 2016. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/vDHgV

One of Farris Wilks’ goals is to inject religion into public education. Speaking at a 2013 Pastors and Pews Event, he said:21Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV

“I just think we have to make people aware, you know, and bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age, and, uh, you know, and focus on the younger generation.”

Farris Wilks added: “They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”22Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV

Farris Wilks is also acting trustee for The Thirteen Foundation, described as “one of the biggest and quietest anti-abortion donors in the United States.” The Thirteen Foundation also donated $250,000 to PragerU in 2013 and promised $6,250,000 in future payments.23Anna Merlan. “FYI: Major Anti-Abortion Groups Funded by Crusty Male Billionaire,” Jezebel, December 23, 2014. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/6jM1D 24Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV

The Wilks family donated $15 million to the Super PAC backing Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz in 2016, citing Cruz’s vies on the free market and abortion among their reasons for support:25Michelle Conlin. “Special Report: Touting morality, billionaire Texas brothers top 2016 donor list,” Reuters, September 11, 2015. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/KGaiC

We support (Cruz) because he believes in the morality of the free market, in keeping our country safe, and in the right of the unborn not to be killed in their mother’s womb,” Farris Wilks said in an email to Reuters, speaking on behalf of the Wilks family.

On December 1, 2014, PragerU released “The Ten Commandments” video series, as taught by Dennis Prager. According to the group’s annual report, “only Prager University has – in about an hour – clarified the greatest moral code known to humanity. There has never been anything like this since, well, since Sinai.” The Ten Commandments series featured “two major initiatives: an essay contest for students, and a DVD program aimed at clergy, educators, and youth leaders.” The essay contest encouraged “students under 23 years of age” to watch the series, and write an essay on their choice of commandments.26“Thanks A Million: Make that Twenty-Four Million!” (PDF), Prager University, 2014.

Prager himself has voiced fears over a “secular America.” Writing in a 2013 column in National Review, Prager said:

“So it is sad when a parent who believes, for example, in the American trinity of ‘Liberty,’ ‘In God We Trust,’ and ‘E Pluribus Unum’ has a child who believes that equality trumps liberty, that a secular America is preferable to a God-centered one, and that multiculturalism should replace the unifying American identity.”27Conservative Parents, Left-Wing Children,” National Review, November 5, 2013. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0Xi4P

In a follow-up column, titled “If You Want a Conservative Child,” Prager outlined a guide on how to “ensure your child won’t cross over to the left.”28Dennis Prager. “If You Want a Conservative Child,” National Review, November 12, 2013. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/cRM4r

“American parents who hold traditional American values — such as belief in small government as the basis of liberty, or a God-based moral code, or American military strength as the greatest contributor to world peace and stability, or American exceptionalism, not to mention the man-woman definition of marriage or the worth of a human fetus — are at war with almost every influence on their children’s lives. This includes, most important, the media and the schools,” Prager wrote.29Dennis Prager. “If You Want a Conservative Child,” National Review, November 12, 2013. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/cRM4r

Among his suggestions, Prager says “don’t be preoccupied with instilling high self-esteem in your child. It is the Left that believes that self-esteem is a child’s right, something that parents and society owe children.”30Dennis Prager. “If You Want a Conservative Child,” National Review, November 12, 2013. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/cRM4r

“It is not all that hard to produce a son or daughter able to withstand left-wing indoctrination,” Prager concludes. “You just have to understand that it doesn’t happen automatically.”

Dennis Prager & Feminism

Prager has called the campus rape culture a “gargantuan lie to get votes” and “nonsense” promoted by the “feminist left.” Hear audio below of Prager talking about feminism, via Media Matters, from an October 28 “Restore America” rally:31NRO’s Dennis Prager: Campus Rape Culture Is A ‘Gargantuan Lie to Get Votes,’” Media Matters, October 30, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

According to Prager, “feminism […] is the most mislabeled movement. It is actually masculinism.”32NRO’s Dennis Prager: Campus Rape Culture Is A ‘Gargantuan Lie to Get Votes,’” Media Matters, October 30, 2014. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Prager has been criticized33Conservative Pundit Dennis Prager Says College Sexual Assaults Are Lies To Get Votes,” HuffPost, October 29, 2014. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ElWsJ by feminists34Megan Carpentier. “Dennis Prager Still Thinks Women Should Just Give It Up Already,” Jezebel, December 30, 2008. Archived August 30, 2017. 35Megan Carpentier. “Conservative Dennis Prager Knows It’s Not Rape If His Wife ‘Submits’,” Jezebel, December 23, 2008. Archived August 30, 2017 and even accused by one Daily KOS author for endorsing “marital rape.” (However, another Daily KOS author disagreed36No, Prager is NOT Advocating Marital Rape,” Daily KOS, December 26, 2008. Archived October 28, 2021. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/N59zw)37Dennis Prager Endorses Marital Rape,” Daily KOS, December 26, 2008. Archived October 28, 2021. Archive URL:https://archive.ph/kVyLq The accusation arose from a December 23, 2008 column written by Prager titled ”When a Woman Isn’t In the Mood, Part I,” which contained the following paragraph: 38Dennis Prager. “When a Woman Isn’t In the Mood, Part I,” TownHall, December 23, 2008. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IKmIq

“It is an axiom of contemporary marital life that if a wife is not in the mood, she need not have sex with her husband. Here are some arguments why a woman who loves her husband might want to rethink this axiom.”39Dennis Prager. “When a Woman Isn’t In the Mood, Part I,” TownHall, December 23, 2008. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IKmIq

A second Daily KOS author reviewed Prager’s full column and concluded he was ”NOT advocating marital rape,” and that the first accusation was not justified. “What I see Prager saying is that a loving wife will CONSENT to a man’s request for sex even if she doesn’t feel like it,” the author writes.40No, Prager is NOT Advocating Marital Rape,” Daily KOS, December 26, 2008. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/N59zw

PragerU also posts videos on feminism. For example, one video features conservative radio commentator Tammy Bruce in a course titled “Feminism 2.0” According to the video, women have men to thank for feminist progress:41Feminism 2.0,” PragerU, February 10, 2014.

“It is easy for feminists to forget this, but it was men who gave up their monopoly on political power and gave women the right to vote,” Bruce says in the video. “Men who invented birth control, the refrigerator, the washing machine, and so many other devices that liberated women.”

PragerU features a number of videos by Christina Hoff Sommers of the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) including a video claiming “There is No Gender Wage Gap,”42There Is No Gender Wage Gap,” PragerU, March 6, 2016. a similarly titled video on “The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap“ (AKA “Feminism vs. Truth”), and another video about the so-called “War on Boys.”43The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap,” PragerU, September 22, 2014. 44War on Boys,PragerU, May 19, 2014.

In another PragerU video, Dennis Prager argues that it is justified for men in monogamous relationships to look at other women because it is in their nature. “The power of the visual to excite men has no analogue in women,” Prager claims in the video,45He Wants You,” YouTube video uploaded by user “PragerU,” March 2, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. pointing to another of his videos titled “Men and the Power of the Visual46Men and the Power of the Visual,” YouTube video uploaded by user “PragerU,” January 28, 2016.. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Stance on Climate Change

PragerU’s “Environmental Science” course is dominated by videos of prominent climate change deniers including Alex Epstein, Bjorn Lomborg, Patrick Moore, and Richard Lindzen.

In one example, titled “What they Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” Patrick Moore claims that climate change is “far from being a recent human-caused disaster” and is “for a myriad of complex reasons, a fact of life on Planet Earth,” according to the PragerU video description.47What they Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” PragerU, July 26, 2015.

“The science is not ‘settled.’ The debate is not over. The climate is always changing. It always has. And it always will,” Moore concludes.48What they Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” PragerU, July 26, 2015.

View a full list of PragerU’s climate change denial videos, by presenter.

Other Issues

Anti-Abortion

Prager has previously described conservatism as based on “what is right” as opposed to “how do I feel?” He wrote:49Dennis Prager. “Liberal Feelings vs. Judeo-Christian Values,“ Commentary, February 22, 2005. Archived August 30, 2017.

“That is why a religious woman who is pregnant but does not wish to be is far less likely to have an abortion than a secular woman in the same circumstances. Her values are higher than her feelings. And that, in a nutshell, is what our culture war is about—Judeo-Christian values versus liberal/leftist feelings.”

Criticism of the Left

Modern Art Is “Silly, Pointless, and Purely Offensive”

Funding

In addition to an estimated $6,550,000 in funding from the Wilks family, other significant donors of Prager University have included the “dark money” conduit group DonorsTrust, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Thirteen Foundation and associated Heavenly Fathers Foundation among others.

Below is a summary of donations, based on available information from the Conservative Transparency project and from publicly available 990 forms.50Bria Shea. “Fracking Titans Spend Millions Proselytizing School Children,” Rewire, April 30, 2015. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/SphpV

View the attached spreadsheet for PragerU funding listed by year (.xlsx).

Donor20102011201220132014201520162017Grand Total
Central Children’s Charities$1,400,000       $1,400,000
The Thirteen Foundation   $250,000 $1,000,000  $1,250,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation$75,000$40,000$25,000$75,000$75,000$75,000$175,000 $540,000
Michael and Andrea Levin Family Foundation   $100,000$100,000$100,000$100,000 $400,000
Maccabee Task Force Foundation     $150,000  $150,000
Marcus Foundation      $100,000 $100,000
The Milstein Family Foundation $22,000$5,000$10,000$14,000$10,000$10,000$15,000$86,000
Heavenly Fathers Foundation     $70,000  $70,000
Robert and Nina Rosenthal Foundation   $21,000$1,000$25,000  $47,000
DonorsTrust       $35,540$35,540
David & Janet Polak Foundation     $5,000$30,000 $35,000
Comerica Charitable Trust     $30,000  $30,000
Bradley Impact Fund      $25,000 $25,000
Schwab Charitable Fund    $12,108   $12,108
Jewish Communal Fund      $10,000 $10,000
The Donna and Spencer Gilbert Foundation $1,000$1,500$1,000$1,000$1,000$1,000 $6,500
Milwaukee Jewish Federation   $6,000    $6,000
Community Foundation of North Florida      $5,016 $5,016
Action Council of Monterey County   $5,000    $5,000
Deramus Foundation  $5,000     $5,000
National Philanthropic Trust   $250    $250
Grand Total$1,475,000$63,000$36,500$468,250$203,108$1,466,000$456,016$50,540$4,218,414

990 Forms

Key People

Board Members

The following is via publicly available 990 forms:

Name2011201220132015DescriptionTotal Reported Compensation
Allen EstrinYYYYExecutive Director$439,753
Barak Lurie YYY  
Marissa Streit YYYChief Executive Officer$372,083
Richard Lederer Y Y  
Greg Cassileth   Y  
John Francis   Y  
Josh Wilks   Y  
Ladd Wilks   Y  
William Herreid III   Y  
Roger SilkYYY   
Barry Wolfe YY   
Michael NobleY     

Staff/Leadership

Name2011201220132014201520162017Description
Allen EstrinYYYYYYYExecutive Director
Dennis PragerYYYYYYYPresident
Marissa Streit YYYYYYChief Executive Officer
Andrew Powell   YYYYDirector of Video Design
Chris Powell   YYYYDirector of Technology
Laurie Dorr   YYYYDirector of Administration and Programs
Rachel Ochoa   YYYYCommunications Coordinator
Aryeh Leifert     YYCommunications
Craig Strazzeri     YYChief Marketing Officer  
Jared Sichel  YYY YCommunications Director
Allison Weisenberger      YDevelopment Officer
Dan Banas      YSocial Media Manager
David Prager      YDirector of Development
Devon Mirsky      YPragerForce National Director
Lucy Werner      YVice President of Development
Tim Lollis      YRegional Development Director, Texas
Tyler Goldstein      YDigital Marketing Coordinator
Christine Silk  YYYY Communications
Jonathan Hay   YYY Director of Video Design
Elisha Krauss     Y Director of Development
Tiffany Hasart     Y Accounting Consultant
Eva Vayntraub    Y  Students Affairs Coordinator
David Weinberger   Y   Director of Programs
Noah Yaffe  Y    Project Manager
Robby Moeller Y     Dean of Students

Advisory Board

Name201220132014201520162017
Bradbury AndersonYYYYYY
Michael LevenYYYYYY
David Wehrly    YY
Gregory L. Geiser    YY
Aaron Ginn     Y
Charlie Kirk     Y
Ginni Thomas     Y
Oren Kwiatek     Y
Tommy Swanson     Y
Ronald Lee YYYY 
Lee Ohanian   YY 
B. Wayne Hughes, Jr.YYYY  
David Zucker YYY  
Michael Fourticq Sr. YYY  

Course Presenters/”Faculty”

Name2011201220132014201520162017
Alison ArmstrongYYYYYYY
Bruce HerschensohnYYYYYYY
Frank PastoreYYYYYYY
Joseph TelushkinYYYYYYY
Paul JohnsonYYYYYYY
Adam Carolla  YYYYY
Jonah Goldberg  YYYYY
Peter Kreeft  YYYYY
Terry Moe  YYYYY
Tim Groseclose  YYYYY
Walter Williams  YYYYY
Wilson Miscamble  YYYYY
Amity Shlaes   YYYY
Andrew Roberts   YYYY
Anne Bayefsky   YYYY
Anthony Esolen   YYYY
Arthur Brooks   YYYY
David Henderson   YYYY
George Gilder   YYYY
Greg Lukianoff   YYYY
Kenneth Meshoe   YYYY
Lee Ohanian   YYYY
Michael Tanner   YYYY
Nicholas Eberstadt   YYYY
Nicole Gelinas   YYYY
Stephen Marmer   YYYY
Tammy Bruce   YYYY
Alan Dershowitz    YYY
Derryck Green    YYY
Eric Metaxas    YYY
George Will    YYY
Haroon Ullah    YYY
Kip Hagopian    YYY
Matthew Woessner    YYY
Raymond Ibrahim    YYY
Richard McMillan    YYY
Robert Florczak    YYY
Christina Sommers   YYYY
Alex Epstein     YY
Bjorn Lomborg     YY
Bret Stephens     YY
Burt Folsom     YY
Charlie Kirk     YY
Chloe Valdary     YY
Daniel DiSalvo     YY
Dennis Prager     YY
Heather Mac Donald     YY
Jay Cost     YY
Judith Miller     YY
Larry Elder     YY
Larry Schweikart     YY
Nick Adams     YY
Patrick Moore     YY
Richard Kemp     YY
Robert George     YY
Tara Ross     YY
Tom Shillue     YY
William Voegeli     YY
Anders Fogh Rasmussen      Y
Andrew Klavan      Y
Andy Puzder      Y
Antonia Okafor      Y
Ayaan Hirsi Ali      Y
Ben Shapiro      Y
Bob McEwen      Y
Brad Wilcox      Y
Carol Swain      Y
Caroline Kitchens      Y
Charles Krauthammer      Y
Charles Leerhsen      Y
Dana Perino      Y
Dave Rubin      Y
David Brog      Y
David French      Y
Debbie D’Souza      Y
Denisha Merriweather      Y
Dumisani Washington      Y
Elisha Krauss      Y
Eugene Volokh      Y
Felipe Moura Brasil      Y
Gloria Alvarez      Y
Hussein Aboubakr      Y
Information Station      Y
Jake Olson      Y
Jared Meyer      Y
Jay Stephens      Y
Jim Geraghty      Y
Job Creators Network      Y
John Rosemond      Y
John Tamny      Y
Joshua Charles      Y
Kasim Hafeez      Y
Khurram Dara      Y
Kimberley Strassel      Y
Lauren Fix      Y
Mike Rowe      Y
Naomi Schaefer Riley      Y
Nicholas Johnson      Y
Olivia Legaspi      Y
Pete Hegseth      Y
Rebecca Friedrichs      Y
Richard Lindzen      Y
Seth Siegel      Y
Steve Forbes      Y
Steven Crowder      Y
Taleeb Starkes      Y
Tom Joscelyn      Y
Victor Davis Hanson      Y
Yakov Smirnoff      Y
Jose Maria Aznar  YYYY 
Harry Crocker III  YYY  
Daniel Gordis   YY  
John Eastman   YY  
Philip Howard   YY  
Stephen Moore   YY  
Arthur C. Brooks  Y    

Climate Change Denial Videos

Alex Epstein

Alex Epstein is the President and Founder of the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), a for-profit think tank he founded in 2011 with the mission of inspiring Americans to “embrace industrial progress as a cultural ideal.”51About,” Center for Industrial Progress. Archived August 19, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/dXBNr  Epstein is also a blogger at Master Resource, a “Free Market Energy Blog,” and a past fellow of the Ayn Rand Institute, an organization that has received funding from the Koch Foundations amounting to $100,000 between 2005 and 2011.52“Koch Industries: Still Fuelling Climate Denial 2011 Update” (PDF), Greenpeace, April, 2011. Accessed January 18, 2016.

View Epstein’s DeSmog profile here.

July 11, 2016 — “Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?

Epstein attempts to debunk the 97% consensus of climate scientists that climate change is real and man-made, and argues that the benefits of fossil fuels outweigh any risks to climate change. He compares those who believe in the consensus to anti-vaccine activists.53Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?” YouTube video uploaded by user “PragerU,” July 11, 2016.

Fossil fuel opponents don’t want you to know the precise magnitude of climate change,” Epstein claims. “Because if you did, you wouldn’t be scared of climate change, you would be scared of losing the benefits of fossil fuels.”

Epstein’s PragerU video was also reposted at Capitalism Magazine in April of 2017.54Do 97% of Climate Scientists Really Agree?” Capitalism Magazine, April 23, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/sHPiP

Notable “Facts and Sources”:

Under the “Facts and Sources” tab, Epstein points articles by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a group that seeks to counter “liberal bias” in academia.55National Association of Scholars,” SourceWatch. He links to two NAS articles56The Father of Global Warming Skepticism: An Interview with S Fred Singer,” National Association of Scholars, January 3, 2011. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/azZN5 centered on 2011 interviews57Estimated 40 Percent of Scientists Doubt Manmade Global Warming,” National Association of Scholars, January 3, 2011. Archived August 29, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XsBw3 with prominent climate change denier Fred Singer, “The Father of Global Warming Skepticism.” He also links to another PragerU video by Richard Lindzen for evidence.58Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?PragerU, April 18, 2016. Epstein’s other citations include “further reading” in the Wall Street Journalincluding an opinion article by Joseph Bast59Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer. “The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%‘” The Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2014. Archived August 30, 2017. of the notorious Heartland Institute and Roy Spencer, as well as another WSJ piece by Richard Lindzen. He also links to a Forbes article he wrote himself.60Alex Epstein. “97& of Climate Scientists Agree is 100% Wrong,” Forbes, January 6, 2015. Archived August 10, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/CzBP5

April 21, 2016 —  Fossil Fuels: The Greenest Energy

According to Epstein, “fossil fuels don’t take a naturally safe environment and make it dangerous; they empower us to take a naturally dangerous environment and make it cleaner and safer.” Apart from citing his own book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Epstein notably cited a group that has long promoted the benefits of carbon dioxide while enjoying funding from the fossil fuel industry:61Fossil Fuels: The Greenest Energy,PragerU, April 21, 2016. Archived May 30, 2016.

Organization CitedScaife FundingExxonMobil FundingDonorsTrust/DCF Funding
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science)$100,000$75,000$283,800

October 19, 2015 — “Can We Rely on Wind and Solar Energy

Epstein argues that “solar and wind power are very expensive,” as well as intermittent. “There is no free lunch. And there is no free energy. And that very much includes the very expensive energy from the sun and the wind.”62Can We Rely on Wind and Solar?PragerU, October 19 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Organization CitedScaife FundingExxonMobil FundingDonorsTrust/DCF FundingKoch Funding
Brookings Institution $2,425,000 $40,450$1,179,400
American Enterprise Institute (AEI)$10,401,000$3,075,000 $2,557,999
National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)$2,855,000 $597,150$771,674

April 20, 2015 — “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuel” 

Notable “Facts and Sources”: Apart from a range of sources citing overall environmental improvement since the industrial revolution, Epstein’s notable citations include:

Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore, who has repeatedly been mischaracterized as the founder of Greenpeace, is a Canadian environmentalist who believes that humans are not to blame for climate change.66Greg Laden. “Who Founded Greenpeace? Not Patrick Moore,” Greg Laden’s Blog on ScienceBlogs, June  27, 2015. Archived July 11, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gAdJe In 2008, Greenpeace issued a statement on Moore, noting that he “exploits long gone ties with Greenpeace to sell himself as a speaker and pro-corporate spokesperson, usually taking positions that Greenpeace opposes.”67Greenpeace Statement On Patrick Moore,” Greenpeace, October 10, 2008. Archived February 18, 2011. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/WDnbq

July 26, 2016 — “Why I Left Greenpeace

Notable “Facts and Sources”:

Citations include a book titled Environmentalism Gone Mad by Alan CarlinTrees Are the Answer by Moore, and Moore’s own lecture at the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).68PATRICK MOORE: SHOULD WE CELEBRATE CARBON DIOXIDE?The Global Warming Policy Foundation, October 15, 2015. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/eCZP3 The GWPF has long defended its funding secrecy, claiming that “the soil we till is highly controversial, and anyone who puts their head above the parapet has to be prepared to endure a degree of public vilification. For that reason we offer all our donors the protection of anonymity.”69Secret funding of climate sceptics is not restricted to the US,” The Guardian, February 15, 2013. Archived August 17, 2015.

Organization CitedFunding
Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)$ Unknown

July 26, 2015 — “What They Haven’t Told You About Climate Change

Notable “Facts and Sources”:

Moore cites the same GWPF lecture, as evidence that “Today we are in the midst of a major cooling period.” He also cites an opinion article that he wrote at The Heartland Institute.70PATRICK MOORE: SHOULD WE CELEBRATE CARBON DIOXIDE?The Global Warming Policy Foundation, October 15, 2015. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/eCZP3

Organization CitedScaife FundingExxonMobil FundingDonorsTrust/DCF FundingKoch Funding
Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)$ Unknown$ Unknown$ Unknown 
Heartland Institute$335,000$531,500$19,942,544$102,578

July 26, 2015 — “Are GMOs Good or Bad?

Organization CitedScaife FundingExxonMobil FundingDonorsTrust/DCF FundingKoch Funding
American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)$205,000
 
$315,000$639,074$6,000

July 26, 2015 — “The Truth About CO2

Organization CitedScaife FundingExxonMobil FundingDonorsTrust/DCF Funding
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (CO2 Science)$100,000$75,000$283,800
Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)$ Unknown$ Unknown$ Unknown

July 26, 2015 — “Trees Are the Answer

Moore argues that increased forestry is actually beneficial for the environment. According to Moore, trees are “no different from any other renewable crop.” Moore further argues that deforestation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, when areas are repurposed for agricultural use or cities. Moore claims that forests have not been decreasing, and that there is “the same area of forest in the U.S. and Canada today as there was 100 years ago.”71“Trees Are the Answer,” PragerU, July 26, 2015. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/KHXvx

“the professional environmentalists are never satisfied. They behave as if every tree should be protected and that the products they yield are unnecessary,” Moore declared “This is badly misguided. The correct position, from a purely environmental perspective, is to grow more trees, the world’s most abundant renewable resource, and use more wood. “

Moore lists no sources or citations for any of his statements made in the video. 

Richard Lindzen

A retired professor of meteorology at MIT, Richard S. Lindzen is now a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute‘s “Center for the Study of Science.”72Richard Lindzen,” Cato Institute. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/kicRd The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank, co-founded by Charles Koch. It has received over $14 million in funding from Koch-owned foundations, over $100,000 from ExxonMobil, and tens of millions of funding from other prominent conservative foundations and groups including Scaife Foundations.73Cato Institute” (search results), Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved May 28, 2016. In addition to opposing electric vehicles and alternative fuels,74Alan Reynolds. “Climate Change Can’t Excuse Electric Car Subsidies,” The Daily Caller, April 6, 2016. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/cQ5YJ Cato has historically questioned the certainty of mainstream climate science.75Global Warming,” Cato Institute. Archived August 30, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/H0svU

April 18, 2016 — “Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

Lindzen’s talk on climate change offers no citations to external articles, peer reviewed or otherwise.

Bjorn Lomborg

Bjorn Lomborg is a political scientist and economist who founded the Copenhagen Consensus Center in Denmark. Lomborg is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, two books that downplay the risks of climate change. Lomborg has published no peer-reviewed studies on climate change.76About Bjorn Lomborg,” lomborg.com. Archived August 31, 2016. Archive .is URL: https://archive.is/fObjq 77Board & Directors,” Copenhagen Consensus Center. August 31, 2016. Archive .is URL: https://archive.is/YIGod

May 25, 2017 — “Is Organic Food Worth the Cost?

January 16, 2017 — “The Paris Agreement Won’t Change the Climate

“The agreement will cost a fortune but do little to reduce global warming,” Lomborg claims. He also  claims to use “the same climate prediction model that the UN uses,” to determine that the Clean Power Plan “Will accomplish almost nothing,”  however provides no sources or citations for his video.78The Paris Climate Agreement Won’t Change the Climate,” PragerU, January 16, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/qyTKU

July 28, 2016— “Climate Change: What’s So Alarming?

“For at least the next two decades, solar and wind energy are simply expensive, feel-good measures that will have an imperceptible climate impact,” Lomborg declares. “We urgently need a more balanced climate conversation if we are to make sensible choices and pick the right climate policy that can actually help fix climate change.”79Climate Change: What’s So Alarming?PragerU, July 28, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/3KPjh

February 8, 2016— “Are Electric Cars Really Green?

“While electric-car owners may cruise around feeling virtuous, the reality is that the electric car cuts almost no CO2, costs taxpayers a fortune, and, surprisingly, generates more air pollution than traditional gasoline cars,” Lomborg said.80Are Electric Cars Really Green?“ PragerU, February 8, 2016. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XxqLd

Lomborg’s arguments have become increasinginly popular with the oil and gas interests that perceive electric cars as threat. Starting in 2017, the Koch brothers, through their Fueling U.S. Forward campaign and elsewhere, have been perpetuating similar talking points. Lomborg’s claim that EVs don’t significantly reduce CO2 emissions was roundly and comprehensively debunked by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which found that EVs release fewer greenhouse gas emissions from cradle to grave, and are getting increasingly cleaner with every passing year. Claims that EVs “cost taxpayers a fortune” are subjective and don’t put electric cars in context with federal and state subsidies and support for oil and gasoline. The claim that EVs generate more air pollution than traditional gasoline cars relies on a study by two researchers at the University of Edinburgh that has been criticized for ignorning practical and technical details about EV drivership. The study alleges that the particulate matter released by tires and brake pads on EVs more than displaces the amount of pollution reduced from a lack of tailpipe emissions. However, the study contradicts other studies that factor in the regenerative braking features used in most EVs and more reliable weight estimates of the vehicles.

November 30, 2015— “Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?

Lomborg released this video shortly before the COP21 climate talks in Paris. “In the long run, the world needs to cut carbon dioxide because it causes global warming. But if the main effort to cut emissions is through subsidies for chic renewables like wind and solar power, virtually no good will be achieved – at very high cost,” Lomborg claimed in the video.81Bjorn Lomborg. “Is Climate Change Our Biggest Problem?PragerU, November 30, 2015. Archived August 31, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/XxqLd

Actions

October 25, 2021

Steve Koonin was featured in a PragerU video titled “Is There Really a Climate Emergency?” where he claimed it is “hubris” and “either untrue or so far off the mark as to be useless” that “the planet is warming catastrophically because of certain human behaviors,” that we can project climate change from models, or that we can prevent the climate from changing.82Is There Really a Climate Emergency?PragerU, October 25, 2021. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Transcript below:

“Hubris is a Greek word that means dangerously overconfident. Based on my research, hubris fairly describes our current response to the issue of climate change.

“Here’s what many people believe:

“One: The planet is warming catastrophically because of certain human behaviors.

“Two: Thanks to powerful computers we can project what the climate will be like 20, 40, or even 100 years from now.

“Three: That if we eliminate just one behavior, the burning of fossil fuels, we can prevent the climate from changing for as long we like.

“Each of these presumptions—together, the basis of our hubris regarding the changing climate—is either untrue or so far off the mark as to be useless.

“Yes, it’s true that the globe is warming, and that humans are exerting a warming influence upon it. But beyond that, to paraphrase a line from the classic movie The Princess Bride, ‘I do not think “The Science” says what you think it says.’

“For example, government reports state clearly that heat waves in the US are now no more common than they were in 1900.

“Hurricane activity is no different than it was a century ago.

“Floods have not increased across the globe over more than seventy years.

“Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was 80 years ago.

“Why aren’t these reassuring facts better known?

“Because the public gets its climate information almost exclusively from the media.

“And from a media perspective, fear sells.

“‘Things aren’t that bad’ doesn’t sell.

“Very few people, and that includes journalists who report on climate news, read the actual science. I have. And what the data—the hard science—from the US government and UN Climate reports say is that… ‘things aren’t that bad.’

“Nor does the public understand the questionable basis of all catastrophic climate change projections: computer modeling.

“Projecting future climate is excruciatingly difficult. Yes, there are human influences, but the climate is complex. Anyone who says that climate models are “just physics” either doesn’t understand them or is being deliberately misleading. I should know: I wrote one of the first textbooks on computer modeling.

“While modelers base their assumptions upon both fundamental physical laws and observations of the climate, there is still considerable judgment involved. And since different modelers will make different assumptions, results vary widely among different models.

“Let’s just take one simple, but significant assumption modelers must make: the impact of clouds on the climate.

“Natural fluctuations in the height and coverage of clouds have at least as much of an impact on the flows of sunlight and heat as do human influences. But how can we possibly know global cloud coverage say 10, let alone 50 years from now? Obviously, we can’t. But to create a climate model, we have to make assumptions. That’s a pretty shaky foundation on which to transform the world’s economy.

“By the way, creating more accurate models isn’t getting any easier. In fact, the more we learn about the climate system, the more we realize how complex it is.

“Rather than admit this complexity, the media, the politicians, and a good portion of the climate science community attribute every terrible storm, every flood, every major fire to ‘climate change.’ Yes, we’ve always had these weather events in the past, the narrative goes, but somehow ‘climate change’ is making everything ‘worse.’

“Even if that were true, isn’t the relevant question, how much worse? Not to mention that ‘worse’ is not exactly a scientific term.

“And how would we make it better?

“For the alarmists, that’s easy: we get rid of fossil fuels.

“Not only is this impractical—we get over 80% of the world’s energy from fossil fuels—it’s not scientifically possible. That’s because CO2 doesn’t disappear from the atmosphere in a few days like, say, smog. It hangs around for a really long time.

“About 60 percent of any CO2 that we emit today will remain in the atmosphere 20 years from now, between 30 and 55 percent will still be there after a century, and between 15 and 30 percent will remain after one thousand years.

“In other words, it takes centuries for the excess carbon dioxide to vanish from the atmosphere. So, any partial reductions in CO2 emissions would only slow the increase in human influences—not prevent it, let alone reverse it.

“CO2 is not a knob that we can just turn down to fix everything. We don’t have that ability. To think that we do is… hubris.

“Hubris leads to bad decisions.

“A little humility and a little knowledge would lead to better ones.

“I’m Steve Koonin, former Undersecretary for Science in the Obama Administration, and author of Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, for Prager University.”

July 27, 2021

PragerU announced it would launch a “non-woke history series” in a series of “TBH videos {To Be Honest}” targeting middle schoolers.83(Press Release). “PragerU eyes middle schoolers with non-woke history series,” PragerU, July 27, 2021. Archived August 2, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/guwv0

“While most people would agree that learning history is important, the problem is that modern teaching of history is not honest at all,” PragerU CEO Marissa Streit said in a press release. “It’s laced with anti-American ideology being forced upon our kids and it’s time we did something about it. With our new show, we’re making history lessons fun, entertaining and most importantly – honest.”84(Press Release). “PragerU eyes middle schoolers with non-woke history series,” PragerU, July 27, 2021. Archived August 2, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/guwv0

PragerU boasts in its release “comes on top of PragerU’s successful entrance into the market for children’s content, which has racked up over 3 million views in just months.”

“Nearly 20,000 people have joined PragerU’s PREP community (PragerU Resources for Educators and Parents) to stand together to counter the progressive agenda being taught in schools across the country,” the release boasted.

“Increasingly Americans are turning the eyes of their kids away from the brain-rotting shows of Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney and turning them to PragerU,” said Craig Strazzeri, Chief Marketing Officer at PragerU. “It’s about time our kids binge brain-building, fun and honest educational content.”

January 7, 2020

PragerU shared a series of videos on Facebook titled “Fires in Australia: the Left vs. the Facts,” which contained false information about the cause of the Australian bushfires.85Cameron Wilson. “Facebook Accepted Thousands of Dollars to Promote An Ad Its Own Fact Checkers Had Debunked,” Buzzfeed.com, January 28, 2020. Archived February 3, 2020. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/O70ts

The videos were flagged by Facebook’s own fact-checking mechanism on January 8 for promoting the debunked theory that the fires were started by arsonists and were not influenced by climate change. Facebook nevertheless promoted the videos for days after they were flagged, tallying more than 6.5 million views.86Cameron Wilson. “Facebook Accepted Thousands of Dollars to Promote An Ad Its Own Fact Checkers Had Debunked,” Buzzfeed.com, January 28, 2020. Archived February 3, 2020. Archive.is URL: http://archive.is/O70ts

Claims that environmental policies and arson were to blame for the bushfires have been debunked, though they continue to be propagated by social media bots and fringe websites such as Alex Jones’s InfoWars.87Mat Hope. “These Climate Science Deniers are Spreading Misinformation about the Australian Bushfires,” DeSmog, January 9, 2020.

July 29, 2019

PragerU posted a video hosted by Alex Epstein titled “What’s the Deal with the Green New Deal,” in which he downplayed the future impacts of anthropogenic climate change and dismissed calls for government action.88“(WATCH) PragerU: What’s the deal with the Green New Deal?,” YouTube video uploaded by user PragerU on July 29, 2019. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

He also claimed that fossil fuels made the world a safer place:

Fossil fuel energy has not taken a naturally safe climate and made it unnaturally dangerous. It’s taken our naturally dangerous climate and made it unnaturally safe. Fossil fuels are not an existential threat, they are an existential resource, because they increase something much more important than the level of CO2 in the atmosphere: the level of human empowerment.”

April 13, 2017

PragerU announced a partnership with Turning Point USA, introducing a video that describes the average college campuses as an “indoctrination center” with a slant to the political left.89The Least Diverse Place in America,” PragerU, April 13, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

“This video with Charlie Kirk is part of an exciting partnership between PragerU and Turning Point USA that will include videos with other young conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Antonia Okafor, Matt Walsh and more!” The video description announced.

According to Kirk, most colleges don’t accept a diversity of opinion on different issues, describing it as a “dangerous, revolutionary idea if that point of view is not on the left.”

Kirk claims that “diversity of race, or gender, or sexuality, or any of the other distinctions de jour that universities glorify are at best superficial and at worst just plain destructive.”

  • Prager University/Prager University Foundation — Aliases for PragerU.
  • Turning Point USA

Contact & Address

The following contact information was listed on the PragerU website, as of August 2017.90Contact Us,PragerU. Archived August 31, 2017.

Mailing Address

Prager University Foundation
10045 Red Run Boulevard, Suite 250
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Contact Info

[email protected]
(323) 5PRAGER
(323) 577-2437

A number of other addresses are associated with Prager U. Below are examples, from 990 forms and online.

From the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s 2014 990 forms:

15021 Ventura Blvd.
#552 Sherman Oaks, CA
91403

From the Thirteen Foundation’s 2015 990 forms:

Prager University Foundation
2325 Dulles Corner Blvd , #670
Herndon VA
20171

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