Prager University, a nonprofit that produces short, educational videos from conservative perspectives, is suing YouTube and its parent company, Google, claiming the tech giant is illegally censoring some of its content as part of a wider effort to silence conservative voices.
A lawsuit filed Monday evening in federal court in San Francisco says YouTube’s more than 30 million visitors a day make the site so elemental to free speech in the digital age that it should be treated as a public forum. The suit argues the site must use the “laws governing free speech,” not its own discretion, to make decisions about what to censor.
The nonprofit, known as PragerU, alleges that by limiting access to some of its videos without clear criteria YouTube is infringing on PragerU’s First Amendment rights. [emphasis added]
So a conservative organization is demanding that the government override the private-property rights of a private media company, and instead treat this private media outlet like a government organization? A conservative plaintiff is saying that?
And these “conservatives” are also insisting that a private company be required to meet the “First Amendment” standards of public entities?
I wonder how the folks at Hillsdale College feel about that? Or Liberty University? Or Chick-Fil-A?
I’m thinking that private companies should have control of how they run their businesses, up to the point that they are directly endangering others.
On the other hand….
As I said on the podcast today, this is a tough call because 67 percent of Americans really do get their news via Facebook. Newspapers call it “the real front page,” the place where most of their customers access the news content. YouTube is the portal for video content that millions of people in the real world actually use. So while libertarian ideals sound great, in fact if YouTube does shove conservative content onto the back shelves, the practical impact is very real. The Right is already getting our head handed to us in popular culture (and not even trying to fight back). Getting marginalized on YouTube on top of that is very troubling.
So which comes first: The conservative principles of private property and individual choice, or the political survival instincts for ideas that could literally die in darkness?
I look forward to hearing what the Ricovanchists think!