Debunking Courses Offered At PragerU Lesson 18—“Who Does The Media Most Want To Silence?”
Written By: Reverend Anton Sawyer
We are in for a treat.
In today’s lesson, “Who Does The Media Most Want To Silence?” we find that the media’s number one target is conservative women. PragerU, in its attempt to help further the visibility and understanding of this subsection of women, has really topped itself when it comes to a lack of self-awareness on the subject.
To Prager, the mainstream media does everything it can to decimate the voices of Republican women through various means. These include insulting the appearances of women, not doing more to shine a light on women whose husbands desperately want to set women’s rights back decades, and ignoring women leaders who have proven through their actions that they care more about the party’s agenda than doing what’s right, among others. And this is only the beginning.
By the end of the lesson you will see that when looking at the evidence (or lack thereof) that they provide, this video is most likely going to have the opposite effect of its intentions. In fact, I have never seen a more pro-woman video do more to harm the furthering of women’s rights than this one.
In an attempt to maintain complete transparency, all research and statistical fact-checking for all articles can be found in the bibliography linked here.
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To keep things clear, all statements made in the video will be in bold. While all my responses will be in italics.
Who Does the Media Most Want to Silence?
Today’s presenter is Heather Higgins, chairman of the Independent Women’s Forum.
Who’s the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court? My guess is that most Americans would answer: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She’s so famous now that she is often referred to just by her intials—RBG. Elevated to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the left-leaning Justice Ginsburg was the subject of not one, but two movies in 2018 alone. But she isn’t the first female Supreme Court justice. She’s the second. The first doesn’t have a movie named after her. That’s because Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed by a Republican president, Ronald Reagan.
This is a good piece of deception if you don’t know anything about Justice O’Connor. Yes, she was the first woman justice on the Supreme Court, and with that came a lot of attention. However, O’Connor did not like the limelight. She was not one of those people who used her notoriety as a means of self-promotion. In reality, O’Connor was there to do a job and wanted the focus of her tenure to be on that fact alone, not her gender or record-breaking feat. But if the Republican party wants to put such an emphasis on the visibility of a justice as opposed to their ability to do a job well, then that’s on them.
We hear a lot about “the year of the woman,” “the women’s march,” and “the war against women.” But if the major media—the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS, and others—were more interested in accuracy than advocacy, it would be that they are promoting “the year of the leftist woman,” or “the leftist women’s march.” The major media like to pretend that all women think alike and that conservative women are just the exception that proves the rule. But according to a 2018 Pew Research study, about a third of women are Democrats; a little less than a third are Republicans, and a little more than a third are independents. So, if there are all these conservative women around, how does the media make it seem like they barely exist?
I feel the main reason there isn’t more mainstream media attention on conservative women has to do with the fact that the Republican platform has always been so Hell-bent on taking women’s reproductive rights away and returning the ability to choose what they do with their bodies back to the 1950s. To be honest, other than for Fox news, it’s difficult to promote ideals in a mainstream context that are so vociferously opposed by those they impact negatively. Per Pew Research, 62% of American adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases; it’s hard to promote the removal of those rights as something to champion. This fact helps lead to a lack of coverage for conservative women.
They use three strategies. The first is Omission: if you don’t see something, you don’t have to deal with it. Open up a glossy magazine. Every liberal woman is glamorized. Stylishly dressed, and beautifully photographed, their personal stories are almost always an inspirational version of Joan of Arc; they have overcome overwhelming obstacles to make the world a more tolerant and compassionate place. Glamour magazine recognized 11 Democrat women among their 2018 Women of the Year. No Republican made the cut. First lady Michelle Obama was on the cover of Vogue three times. First Lady and former fashion model Melania Trump? So far, not once. Every now and again, the major media will do a story about a female conservative to “balance things out.” But, let’s be honest, it’s not balance—it’s tokenism.
Who were they going to nominate? GOP Representative Lauren Boebert because of her bravery when it came to thumbing her nose at the 340 mass shootings that occurred in 2018 (per the Gun Violence Archive) which caused 373 deaths and 1,346 injuries by running her restaurant “Shooter’s Grill?” You know, the one where all waitresses open carried while taking your order? That’s brave, for sure. Also, I know that PragerU doesn’t have the self-awareness to realize that perhaps Michelle Obama made the cover of Vogue three times because she is the first black woman to become the First Lady in American history.
The “tokenism” attack they are using lacks self-awareness. Remember, in 2016 ex-President Trump made the famous remark about “his African American” at a rally in a painful attempt to show the Republican party as not being racist. You can’t refer to anyone as “my anything” without the concept of tokenism on full display.
The second strategy the media uses to diminish conservative women is Mocking: making fun of a woman’s appearance discounts what she says. You would think the major media would resist this kind of objectification. But they don’t. Not if the target is a conservative woman. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and Kellyanne Conway, the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, are routinely belittled for their hair, their eye makeup, or their weight. Their significant accomplishments, in contrast, are rarely acknowledged. Why? Because the media doesn’t like their boss. And it treats women who work for him as traitors to their sex.
Are you kidding me? Trump was a master at insulting women by calling them “fat pigs” among other names. When asked about this during the 2016 presidential debates, he responded by joking that he only calls Rosie O’Donnell that. In fact, one of the main reasons so many people see Sanders and Conway as traitors to women is because Trump would go and say horrible things about the appearances of so many women that to be a woman working in that environment either shows absurd levels of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to their gender, or they have blinders on that justify the thought of “Trump is saying these things about them, not me, therefore his statements can’t possibly impact ALL women because I’m OK with it.”
The other part of this section that needs addressing is the lack of evidence. Sure, Higgins tells tales of liberal media attacking women solely on their appearance yet provides no examples. No quotes. No statements. No direct passages from any publication. Nothing. This is an example of the classic misdirection tool of accusing others of doing things that you, yourself are doing.
The third strategy the media uses to demean conservative women is Labeling: using stereotypes precludes there being a valid response for conservative women to hold the positions they do. The major media simply can’t accept that conservatives have serious and important reasons for their beliefs. So they have to come up with an answer to explain this seeming anomaly to themselves: these women must be racist or self-hating or just weak-minded. Here’s how Barbara Streisand put it to the Daily Mail in England. “A lot of women vote the way their husbands vote; they don’t believe enough in their own thoughts.” Labeling, like the strategies of mocking or omission, is just another way to display contempt and demonize conservative women. Its purpose is to persuade you to not treat those being labeled with respect, to ignore their ideas, and to even avoid associating with them. Not surprisingly, the vilification that results, discourages a lot of conservative-leaning women from running for political office. Or even from speaking up. Who needs that grief?
Context matters. PragerU knows this and knows that when they go to make almost any negative claim against anyone, removing context is penultimate. When reading the Streisand interview, it’s important to know that she was discussing women voting for a man (Trump) who wanted to remove reproductive rights and the freedom to choose what happens with their wombs. When discussing the subject, Streisand made it clear that the whole issue is a “terribly complex thing,” and in an attempt to try to understand the women who support Trump, she used the above-quoted statement as a means to make sense of these women’s choices. With that said, I’m at least glad PragerU ATTEMPTED to use evidence of some kind to prove their point.
It takes a strong person to swim against the media tide. But here’s the thing about swimming against the tide: it makes you stronger. Maybe that’s why Nikki Haley can stand up in the UN and tell the truth. Or why Candace Owens can question the devotion to progressive policies that have so hurt blacks. Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali can take on the cause of truly oppressed women: those living in radical Islamist societies. We need these voices and more like them. That’s why it’s so important to encourage a more respectful, inclusive debate. We should want everyone at the table—both sides of the political spectrum—listening with civility. That way we can be better informed and make better decisions. So, if you hold conservative views, you have a particularly important role to play. You need to speak out—to your friends, your family, and your co-workers. Let them hear your thinking. And then let them make up their own minds. The media may pretend you don’t exist; they may even mock or label you. They want to intimidate you into silence. That’s not fair, and that’s not right. Don’t let them. I’m Heather Higgins, chairman of Independent Women’s Forum, for Prager University. –End credits.
Sure, swimming against a tide does make you stronger. But when you are swimming against ideals that are designed to further your own rights as a woman, it just makes you foolish and easy to manipulate. And I can promise many other women would make a better example of intestinal fortitude and strength than Nikki Haley. Don’t forget that before being given her prestigious UN appointment she once said about Donald Trump while he was running for president, “I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That is not who we want as president.” Once he became president and offered her the UN position, her tune changed. Being wishy-washy is not synonymous with being strong. And as far as her other two examples? It would be really nice for evidence. What policies has Owens fought that had overwhelmingly bad outcomes for the black community?
As far as the idea of having a respectful debate? Remember, it was during a Presidential debate when Trump made the joke about fat women being pigs. This situation reminds me of a quote from Republican Florida Representative Dan Webster when he said, “You have got to clean your own house first before you tell other people that they aren't doing it right.” Oh, the irony.
The one thing that kept running through my head while watching this lesson was the words of PragerU’s founder Dennis Prager wrote in an op-ed titled “Women Are Disproportionately Hurting Our Country.” In it, he states, “It should be obvious that at least two generations of parents—especially among the well-educated—did not teach many of their daughters to control their emotions and think rationally. The result is that women are disproportionately active in doing damage to our society.”
Prager then goes on to list some of the reasons why he believes that women, who comprise the majority of the US population, are “disproportionately” tearing down American society. Having read this (and knowing that these words come from the man who wrote Higgin’s check to do the lesson), makes every point made in this video comes off as being deceptive bullshit.
I understand that it is PragerU’s job to make videos that would be reasonable to those who espouse conservative talking points like the ones made in this lesson. However, to those of us who research and know the realities of the situation, this video comes off as one of the most intellectually degrading pieces of advocacy ever to be released. Like I said in the introduction, never before have I seen such a pro-woman argument do so much damage to furthering the rights of women.
If you can spare a few bucks to support a starving artist, buy me a coffee!