Popular right-wing websites Prager U and The Daily Wire are shown here using the “street interview” as another way to demean today’s young adults to the appeasement of their older conservative audience.
But these portrayals fail in their merit and accuracy, using only a single demographic with only the most inarticulate responses making the final cut in a biased Prager “University” presentation, and a Ben Shapiro sham.
Jesse Waters-style snobbery is on display here, as Will Witt representing Prager U, and Cabot Phillips with The Daily Wire give their hand a try at making college kids look foolish for purposes of political ideology.
First, Witt showcases that he is worthy of tenure at Prager “University” as he attempts to vilify today’s left-leaning young adults for the pleasure of Prager’s older viewers and listeners.
The process consists of Witt walking around the campus of New York University engaging with random students and asking them if they have any Republican friends in an effort to portray them as intolerant and ignorant. But as with any Prager U video, reality is not accurately represented.
For one, like any kind of video of this nature, the interviews have been selectively edited. It’s likely that there were many young people who answered “yes” to the question “Do you have any Republican friends?,” or else answered “no” and gave an intelligent and informed response as to why not. Of course those comments are not going to make the cut in the editing room, paving the way for a biased presentation which only reflects a few hand-picked answers deemed unflattering enough to make it on screen.
Also, Witt is walking around a college campus in New York City asking this question – of course you’re going to get a lot of “no” responses with a so-called “intolerant” comment occasionally sprinkled in. But if one wants to witness the manifestation of true intolerance, send a liberal down to rural Mississippi and ask it’s residents the following question:
“Do you have any friends that are Democrats? If not, why?
There are many good and decent people living in Mississippi who would not use hateful rhetoric as a response to that question. But if I asked 100 people? I would surely be able to find at least half-dozen who would probably utter a much more offensive and ignorant critique of Democrats than any of those who expressed their feelings about Republicans when approached by Witt in New York.
The Daily Caller goes even lower with Ben Shapiro sharing a video as well – this one financed by the right-wing “Leadership Institute” which has ties to ALEC and Koch brother money.
“Do you support (President Trump’s decision to) send troops down to the border?” asks Cabot Phillips to several presumably liberal college students at UC Santa Barbara. Many of these students answer “no,” to which Phillips delivers the punchline: Barack Obama sent troops to the border when he was president!
I don’t care to go into details here about the false equivalency between the two actions, as if Trump sending troops to the border (recall he called those crossing the border “rapists,” pardoned Joe Arpaio, and is planning to spend billions building a wall), has the same implications as when Obama did so.
Instead I hope any viewer of this video honestly asks themselves “How much did I know about the current politics was I when I was in my late teens/early twenties?” If you were like me and virtually everyone I knew in college, we were more interested in keggers than Congress. If you’re actually looking to produce meaningful dialogue between two political viewpoints, you don’t set up college kids who are generally uninterested in politics with “gotcha” questions to make today’s mostly left-leaning youth to look stupid in order to appease your older conservative audience. If they wanted true productive dialogue with a younger generation, they would ask those questions to students who are perhaps members of a campus political group.
But what many on the right including Ben Shapiro and Dennis Prager engage in, is the filtered portrayal of their hand-picked demographic as being the representation of a typical intellect or viewpoint of those on the left. It is the slanting of reality that persists with these conservative personalities that can be easily observed by ingesting just small dose of pragmatism coupled with maybe a little self-examination. There is no need to live in a reality that someone else is projecting for you, as these are places where truth is scarce. ■