I don’t know if you realize just how big the conservative pseudo-educational organization “PragerU” is. But it’s huge. They bring in over $60 million a year (tax-free, as they’re inexplicably a 501c3 organization), and their 100-plus staff, operating out of a 44,000 square foot headquarters, produce hundreds upon hundreds of slick, professional videos (plus magazines, books, podcasts, etc.). It’s an incredibly well-resourced propaganda factory.
PragerU—which is not a university, despite the name—used to be best known for its 5-minute explainer videos, on topics ranging from why we shouldn’t have a $15 minimum wage to why the IDF is “the world’s most moral army.” But lately, they’ve been focusing a lot of their new work specifically on children. The organization produces videos from game shows to history cartoons to DIY videos, many of which look innocent but which are laden with right-wing ideology. (See their 2023 annual report for an overview of their newest offerings.)
PragerU really wants to get into the public school system, and has even come up with a comprehensive “parent action guide” so that parents can try to convince school officials to show PragerU material. And it’s starting to work: the Florida Department of Education recently approved PragerU children’s material for use in school, and I’m sure other states with Republican governors will be following suit soon. [UPDATE: Mere hours after I wrote this, Oklahoma announced that it, too, will be introducing PragerU content in its schools.]
PragerU, of course, insists that it is not indoctrinating children with conservative propaganda, but is simply fighting against the left-wing indoctrination that is already happening. They’re just presenting facts. But as I’ve shown at great length before (and as many YouTubers have also shown), this is nonsense. Their videos are full of misleading statements and even outright lies. They couldn’t care less about facts or evidence or reason.
The PragerU plan to infiltrate schools is therefore troubling. Because although it’s propaganda, it’s good propaganda, in the sense that it’s very well-made. Their kids’ shows are designed to look exactly like any other kids’ show, and their videos are full of charts and data. They know what they’re doing.
So we need a plan. And here at Current Affairs, we’ve come up with one. We’ve produced a booklet called A Student’s Guide to Resisting PragerU Propaganda. It’s only short (30 pages), but it offers a basic introduction to critical thinking and shows students how to analyze and debunk PragerU’s lies. It goes through some of their material on climate change, socialism, American history, policing, and Israel to show how PragerU conceals facts in order to manipulate young people. Any young person who picks it up and reads it will be fully prepared to see through any nonsense PragerU throws at them.
Our guide is available in print in the Current Affairs store and on Amazon. We hope you’ll help us get copies in the hands of every Florida student who is being exposed to PragerU material. Even though Current Affairs is much, much smaller than PragerU, we believe that by showing students how PragerU manipulates the truth, we can help ensure they won’t get fooled.
The right’s media apparatus is formidable. It goes well beyond PragerU. They’re very well-funded and very determined. Scrappy little organizations like Current Affairs are doing our best to counter them. But it’s tough! We need your help. Please consider donating or subscribing today to help us in our work. If you subscribe this week, you’ll get a free PDF copy of A Student’s Guide to Resisting PragerU Propaganda, and you’re free to print out as many copies of it as you like (so long as you promise to distribute them to students!). But our paperback version is beautifully printed and well worth getting a stack of. If you’re a teacher who would like to use the guide in your classroom to help teach media literacy, get in touch ([email protected]) for information on discount pricing for buying in bulk.