A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact checked on a per article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
- Overall, we rate PragerU Questionable based on extreme right-wing bias, promotion of propaganda, the use of poor sources who have failed fact checks, and the publication of misleading information regarding immigration and climate change.
Reasoning: Extreme Right, Propaganda, Poor Sourcing, Mixed Fact Checking
World Press Freedom Rank: USA 45/180
Founded in 2009 by Dennis Prager and Allen Astrin, PragerU short for Prager University is a non-profit organization that creates videos on various political, economic and philosophical topics from a conservative or right-wing perspective. PragerU is not an academic institution. It is strictly a conservative Youtube video channel and news website. The following disclaimer is located at the bottom of the website: PRAGER UNIVERSITY IS NOT AN ACCREDITED ACADEMIC INSTITUTION AND DOES NOT OFFER CERTIFICATIONS OR DIPLOMAS. BUT IT IS A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE FREE TO LEARN.
Dennis Prager is a Neoconservative radio host and columnist for the far-right and questionable WND. Prager believes that Christianity is under threat from secular leftist universities and therefore created PragerU to counteract them. PragerU has developed two partnership programs to help cultivate relationships with educators. PragerU’s Educator Program supplies teachers with lesson plans and study guides that accompany their videos. Additionally, secondary school teachers and college professors can register their classes through PragerU’s Academic Partnership program, which lets students sign up and allows teachers to monitor their students’ progress.
Funded by / Ownership
PragerU is a non-profit that is funded through donors such as hydraulic fracturing billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which advocates for low immigration and human-influenced climate change denialism. Other large donors all hold conservative views as well. The organization has a $10 million annual budget, of which it spends more than 40% on marketing.
Analysis / Bias
In review, PragerU publishes well-produced videos that appeal to a conservative audience. The most frequent topics covered are anti-immigration, human-influenced climate change denialism, Pro-Christian and anti-Muslim themes, as well as advocacy for free-market capitalism and harsh criticism of socialism. Further, there are many videos in support of President Trump. Most videos are less than 5 minutes and come from prominent conservatives such as Dennis Prager and some of which have very poor track records with fact-checkers such as Tucker Carlson, Michelle Malkin (Anti-Islam), and Steven Crowder. Further, the right-leaning Cato Institute has criticized PragerU for publishing misleading and false information regarding immigration. In general, all videos favor the right and denigrate the left with the use of poor sources.
The website also contains an “In The News” section which curates news from other sources such as the BBC and Forbes. However, they also list stories from far-right biased sources and questionable ones such as Breitbart, Townhall, PJ Media, and Front Page Mag. All news stories are related in some way to PragerU, such as this: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Smear Campaign Against PragerU. This particular story is a reaction to the SPLC calling PragerU an “indispensable propaganda device for the right.” They further state “PragerU seems to be yet another node on the internet connecting conservative media consumers to the dark corners of the extreme right.”
Failed Fact Checks
A factual search reveals they have Half True and Misattributed claims by IFCN Fact-Checkers. However, several of their videos come from those that have poor track records with fact-checkers such as Michelle Malkin and Steven Crowder to name a few.
- Setting the Record Straight on Climate Change and Arson in Australia’s Bushfires – False
- The polar bear population has been growing. Polar bears are thriving even where sea ice is diminishing. – Incorrect
- Video from PragerU makes several incorrect and misleading claims about climate change – Very Low Scientific Credibility
- “only 6% of COVID-19 deaths were caused by COVID-19 alone”; only 0.056% of the U.S. population has died from COVID-19 – Misleading
Overall, we rate PragerU Questionable based on extreme right-wing bias, promotion of propaganda, the use of poor sources who have failed fact checks, and the publication of misleading information regarding immigration and climate change. (D. Van Zandt 3/21/2019) Updated (12/24/2020)