Court Kicks PragerU's 'Free Speech' Lawsuit Right In The Dick

Pour one out for Dennis Prager, and Devin Nunes, and his lawyer Steven Biss, and Sean Hannity, and all the other vexatious litigants who think they're going to use the First Amendment to sue American companies into becoming part of the conservative noise machine. The Ninth Circuit just benchslapped the shit out of PragerU's moronic lawsuit against YouTube, through its parent company Google. (You remember PragerU, yes? Wingnut idiot Dennis Prager's fake college?) Or, more accurately, they benchslapped the shit out of Prager's hatemongering sleaze machine AGAIN, since US District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California already told them to get bent two years ago.

Yesterday's decision described the plaintiff thusly:

PragerU is a nonprofit educational and media organization with a mission to "provide conservative viewpoints and perspective on public issues that it believes are often overlooked." PragerU does not confer certificates or degrees. Instead, the organization creates short videos for high-school, college, and graduate school-age audiences and shares them on the Internet.

That is an extraordinarily charitable characterization. We at Wonkette might instead refer to them as shit-peddling, immigrant-bashing, grifters of the highest order. Which is why we wrote such articles as "Dennis Prager Feels Like The Left's N-Word Because He Can't Just Say ... You Know,""Dennis Prager Will Not Be Bullied By Anne Frank," and "Dennis Prager: A Lying Liar Telling Lies About Yr Wonkette". We report, you decide, as Dennis's pals might say.

In the original complaint filed by Prager University (the scare quotes are implied), these First Amendment warriors bitched about brutal censorship by the evil Google overlords.

Google/YouTube have been discriminating and censoring, and continue to discriminate and censor educational videos uploaded or posted to the YouTube platform through the arbitrary and capricious use of "restricted mode" and "demonetization" viewer restriction filters that purportedly are intended to prohibit or limit access of "inappropriate" content to prospective public viewers based on certain viewer characteristics, including the age of the viewer.

The one-and-a-half percent of users who opted into "Restricted Mode," which filters out adult or potentially harmful content, were unable to view PragerU videos on topics such as, "Are 1 in 5 college women raped?" Oh, the humanity!

The district judge tossed the case because DUH, the First Amendment only applies to state actors, which Google most certainly is not, and because vague corporate promises to "help you grow" and "discover what works best for you" do not constitute promises such as would give rise to a Lanham Act (i.e. false advertising) claim. And the Ninth Circuit agreed wholeheartedly, saying, "PragerU runs headfirst into two insurmountable barriers—the First Amendment and Supreme Court precedent."

The precedent is from an opinion by Justice Gorsuch and joined by the other four conservative justices holding that the private operators of a New York public access channel were not state actors for the purpose of the First Amendment. And if the state of New York can bar a couple of wackos from the public access channel without running afoul of the Constitution, then Google can sure as hell demonetize that shanda fur die goyim Dennis Prager.

"Despite YouTube's ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum," the appellate court pointed out, to a guy who makes "educational" videos for a living and is still somehow confused by the basic question of WHO IS GOVERNMENT?

Sadly, this confusion seems to be widespread.

The dumbest cowpoke in congress is currently suing Twitter for throttling conservative content in violation of his First Amendment rights. Larry Klayman has filed claims against multiple tech companies for UNLEGAL BIASSSS against conservatives. And many, many other conservative pundits and politicians have threatened to sue social media platforms for hiding their tweets or videos or dick pics. The reality is, none of that shit's gonna fly. Ditto for the Lanham Act claims those assholes like to tack on because it means treble damages. Bitch, bye!

But you know who IS a "state actor" for purposes of the First Amendment? The United States Congress. So Senator Josh Hawley can say he's going to make Facebook and Twitter stop being so mean to conservatives, but the reality is that would be classic government regulation of speech in violation of the constitution. And the Supreme Court just held last year that social media companies are NOT the public square, which means they can censor whatever content they like. And that whinyass little pissant Hawley, who graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for Chief Justice Roberts knows perfectly well that any legislation regulating speech on social media is going to face a highly skeptical audience at the Supreme Court. Which is why he and Ted Cruz, who clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist, spend so much time whining about it, and never manage to produce an actual law.

In summary and in conclusion, the conservatives might be able to bully or bribe the whores at Facebook into letting them post lies and propaganda, but they'll get no joy from the courts. SUCK IT, DEVIN!

And while we're on the subject of Dennis Prager, our children have informed us that his highly repetitive intonation and general loathsomeness have made him a star in the genre of mashup videos know as YouTube Poop. If anyone ever deserved the honor ....

Yep, he's educating them kids real good.

[Prager v. Google, Complaint / Prager v. Google, 9th Circuit Order / Techdirt]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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