Another reason to ignore PragerU

Neither Dennis Prager nor his “U” understand U.S. law:

YouTube may have more than a billion users, but it’s not a public forum run by the government and therefore its decision to moderate content isn’t a violation of the First Amendment, an appellate court has ruled.

Radio talk show host Dennis Prager sued Google in 2017, claiming that his conservative PragerU videos weren’t getting the same treatment as liberal ones, like Real Time with Bill Maher clips, in violation of the First Amendment. A California federal judge dismissed the complaint in March 2018 on the grounds that YouTube isn’t a public forum run by a state actor and can regulate videos uploaded to the site as it sees fit.

On Wednesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision and rejected PragerU’s contention that the site has become a digital-era public forum and its power to moderate content is a threat to fair dissemination of conservative viewpoints on public issues.

“Using private property as a forum for public discourse is nothing new,” writes Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown. “Long before the internet, people posted announcements on neighborhood bulletin boards, debated weighty issues in coffee houses, and shouted each other down in community theaters.”

While those methods seem “quaint” compared to the 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each day, the underlying issues don’t change.

“Despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment,” writes McKeown, adding that both the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent present “insurmountable barriers” to PragerU’s argument.

“Just last year, the Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints,’” writes McKeown. “The internet does not alter this state action requirement of the First Amendment.”

The fact that there are many sound legal challenges to the tech giants doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to rely upon ridiculous First Amendment-based challenges to them. Indeed, these arguments are so obviously retarded that they almost appear designed to fail in order to demoralize anyone tempted to stand against the corpocracy.

And it’s not a surprise that an inversive like Prager would rely upon attempting to subvert the definition of “public forum” in order to make his failed case.