TED and inequality: The real story

Today TED was subject to a story so misleading it would be funny... except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us.

The National Journal alleged we had censored a talk because we considered the issue of inequality "too hot to handle." The story ignited a firestorm of outrage on Reddit, Huffington Post and elsewhere. We were accused of being cowards. We were in the pay of our corporate partners. We were the despicable puppets of the Republican party. 

Here's what actually happened.

At TED this year, an attendee pitched a 3-minute audience talk on inequality. The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. (The talk is explicitly attacking what he calls an article of faith for Republicans. He criticizes Democrats too, but only for not also attacking this idea more often.) And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance, such as the apparent ruling out of entreprenurial initiative as a root cause of job creation. The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings - some enthusiastic, others critical.

At TED we post one talk a day on our home page. We're drawing from a pool of 250+ that we record at our own conferences each year and up to 10,000 recorded at the various TEDx events around the world, not to mention our other conference partners. Our policy is to post only talks that are truly special. And we try to steer clear of talks that are bound to descend into the same dismal partisan head-butting people can find every day elsewhere in the media.

We discussed internally and ultimately told the speaker we did not plan to post. He did not react well. He had hired a PR firm to promote the talk to MoveOn and others, and the PR firm warned us that unless we posted he would go to the press and accuse us of censoring him. We again declined and this time I wrote him and tried gently to explain in detail why I thought his talk was flawed. 

So he forwarded portions of the private emails to a reporter and the National Journal duly bit on the story. And it was picked up by various other outlets.

And a non-story about a talk not being chosen, because we believed we had better ones, somehow got turned into a scandal about censorship. Which is like saying that if I call the New York Times and they turn down my request to publish an op-ed by me, they're censoring me.

For the record, pretty much everyone at TED, including me, worries a great deal about the issue of rising inequality. We've carried talks on it in the past, like this one from Richard Wilkinson. We'd carry more in the future if someone can find a way of framing the issue that is convincing and avoids being needlessly partisan in tone.

Also, for the record, we have never sought advice from any of our advertisers on what we carry editorially. To anyone who knows how TED operates, or who has observed the noncommercial look and feel of the website, the notion that we would is laughable. We only care about one thing: finding the best speakers and the best ideas we can, and sharing them with the world. For free. I've devoted the rest of my life to doing this, and honestly, it's pretty disheartening to have motives and intentions taken to task so viciously by people who simply don't know the facts.

One takeaway for us is that we're considering at some point posting the full archive from future conferences (somewhere away from the home page). Perhaps this would draw the sting from the accusations of censorship. Here, for starters, is the talk concerned. You can judge for yourself...

No doubt it will now, ironically, get stupendous viewing numbers and spark a magnificent debate, and then the conspiracy theorists will say the whole thing was a set-up!

OK... thanks for listening. Over and out.  

[Edit: Had to switch off commenting for a couple days because of a Posterous notification bug that was driving people crazy. They say it's fixed now. If you comment and get notifications you don't want, you should be able to immediately unsubscribe.]

[Edit: One other reporter's take..]

436 responses
Sad that C Anderson had to defend TED's transparent and rational decision, but here you have it. #TED
And yet you gave Jon Haidt an open mic to spread some of the most vile and dishonest partisan nonsense I've ever heard.

I've stopped subscribing to your feeds.

yes! over and out!
Anyone who has spent any time on TED.com or gone to TED, TEDx would know this is a ploy on his part for aggrandizement which in and of itself is not TED-like and proves your point.
Well done! Redditor
Thanks for posting this Chris :)
The text of the TED talk is here: http://roundtable.nationaljournal.com/2012/05/the-inequality-speech-that-ted-...

Decide for yourself!

Well done, Chris. Reposting.
I love TED
Good stuff, TED has been growing their global reach and should definitely continue to be transparent in their selection process. http://socialfresh.com/ted-social-media/
i agree that the discussion was flawed and from a "ME" standpoint, i.e., ONE person's view, however empirical it might be. But agree with TED that better and more convincing POVs from either direction could be had
What does that have to do with the fact that TED's whole existence is based on telling the affluent techies in your audience how brilliant, awesome, and deserving they are?
What's the matter TED? Did you think this might cause a pause in the IPO wet dreams of your target techie audience? That someone besides you might be an important engine of growth? What sacrilege to the Silicon Valley Myth!

BTW I am a techie and had my first tech IPO in 1973 and my last 7 years ago.

Thanks for posting the video, really wanted to see it.
I found his talk informative and not partisan. His observations ring true and debunk myths created here by an array of media sources. Sorry, but your explanation rings hollow to me. I don't know the speaker's motivation for saying what he did and don't care. I believe that his points were very accurate.
I think his comments were pretty sound and relevant to a current and important issue.

This could have all been avoided if you just posted it. Sounds like you and he got into a pissing match and now you have to defend yourself against popular perception.

Should have just posted it and let people draw their own conclusions. The people who seek out TED talks are capable of discerning the strength of arguments and decide things for themselves

JCfromDC: TED = Technical Education Talks
Given that the major political parties were only mentioned once, I note that some issues ARE partisan, no way around it. Some subjects are uncomfortable, some awkward or even painful, but nevertheless need to be addresses. So also with partisan issues. There are partisan differences, perhaps not really enough to drive change, and they should be aired. If one political philosophy advocates the keeping of what a few already have obtained at the expense of the many, while another advocates some plan only a tiny bit more equitable, let's hear it! In fact, I would love to see TED feature even more free-thinkers on the subject of economic policy, such as Herman Daly and others who advocate a sustainable, steady-state economy not obsessed with growth. Otherwise, TED is a great service.
I am SICK TO DEATH of the truth being subverted because of a paralysis over "partisanship".

BE PARTISAN if that is the truth. Forget about placating one side or the other or not trying to offend the idiots.


Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.
By Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM LIES WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (emphasis mine).

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.


first off, I didn't find this talk very partisan...it did seem like he pointed the finger at the political system, not any one party.

That being said, I also thought the speech was mediocre and can absolutely understand why TED decided on another talk over this one. Shame on the bullies of this society that choose to create scandal just to get their way. Boo.

Having sat through about four hundred talks at home so far, I was incredibly upset when this issue first came out. But after watching Hanauer's talk the subject has become muddled. Hanauer brings up some excellent points but his talk lacks some essential, intangible qualities that I've come to expect from TEDtalks. Even short ones. Hanauer felt like an impassioned executive giving a powerpoint presentation at a shareholder meeting, which is not the typical vibe I get from these talks.
I am glad to have watched it.
I feel that your panning of the talk was a bit harsh. I have watched
the other talk given by Richard Wilkinson, and it was good, but not as
simply stated. Nick Hanauer's talk was not particularly partisian, it
was simply factual. That is a statement that I have heard form
Republicans and it is rarely challenged by democrats. If anything his
delivery was flat and poorly delivered. The content was easily
digestible and delivered in a simple fashion that many I know could
understand it. So if you are only putting out 1 talk a day I can
understand why this was not chosen, but your partisian argument is
wrong and was the weaker of many arguments that you could have made. I
am glad that you posted it for viewing off site.
One last point. For all those claiming that giving a standing ovation proves that everyone "LOVED" the talk...A standing ovation at these types of events (an most events for that matter) is been reduced to a mere sign of courtesy. Think about any highschool play you've been to lately, almost any performance gets a standing ovation, not to mention pretty much every TED talk.
hey, john ... I'm sick of your big stupid logo. don't you have any sense of online etiquette?
Mr. Hanauer gave a mediocre, abrasively partisan talk that rehashed old ideas and stretched to conclusions that were not supported by any cited evidence. It flatly does not merit posting to TED's home page. End of story.
Thank you. That is all.

/ Rick (a TEDx talker who _did_ get posted, btw)

I read the transcript and it sounded pretty important to me. The message it carries is not one that is heard in the mainstream nowadays. I understand that the reaction to not posting it got out of hand, but I'm glad that it did. I've seen other talks that weren't nearly as interesting or topical as this one.

You're right in that this was blown way out of proportion and wrong for thinking that it wasn't interesting enough to post.

I agree, the talk was not the best TED talk ever, but saying "The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings" is hard to believe; the video clearly shows a standing ovation.
I don't see anything wrong with this talk. I think its short, succinct, and if the facts check out from his statistics, then I would think that this information may be some of the most relevant effecting our daily lives. It's not as science-y as other ted talks, but it definitely has elements of social justice embedded in the superficiality of this talk.

I had not watched the video before and I do not know the background of this man, so I would have to say based on this I am disappointed by TED's decision to not run this talk on their website. I also did not find the talk to be partisan, and I think the republican/conservative veiwpoint clashes with many of TED and science in general's evidence, so I am not sure what their motives were, but it definitely couldn't have been the quality of this, I have seen way worse presenters who were awkward or boring on there.

How about creating a second youtube channel that has all the other videos? if you have 10,000 vids and aren't releasing them you are sitting on a gold mine.

TL;DR Do the right thing and release all videos on a second youtube channel.

Interesting that this content did not rise to TED's high standards, but the "bit" on '404 Page Not Found' was found to be absolutely riveting.
I don't understand what is partisan about this... Yes republicans don't like taxing the rich, but does it mean you cannot talk about it?
Hiring a PR firm to promote it to MoveOn? Yeah... that isn't partisan at all. Even though I whole-heartedly agree with the speech he gave..... the PR/MoveOn thing was the clincher for me. Not cool.
My take on this is that the subject matter and topic are important and worth being widely spread, and I do think he's on to something. However, It's also completely possible that there were more idea focused, passionate (and more politically neutral) and more geeky typical TED fare available for the TED site.

Ironically due to the subject matter and topic, it's exclusion, even completely within TED policy and criteria, manages to give the appearance of suppression. It's also true that this IS a view the Right would prefer be discredited and suppressed.

Difficult times.

Seriously? You're worried that is was too partisan and yet you have tons of other TED talks that I can point to that are a culprit of the very same.

If the facts or the information he was showing was incorrect, than maybe you should go back and pull down some of your other TED talks that have misinformation, one coming to mind was the TED talk by the lady who had a brain aneurysm and had spouted out incorrect information about the way the human brain even works. Not to mention her completely ridiculous talk about the fantasy in which she lived.

I just have to say good day, I'm sure you guys will keep doing what you do, but I won't be any part of it.

Simultaneously, kudos for posting the video for public viewing. I applaud you for responding to the public's request for the video.

I understand that TED doesn't want to be painted as being partisan in one direction or another, but we cannot allow that to determine when socially cogent information that affects the masses gets shared with them.

The real job-creators? American workers who keep on producing more and more - even though they get paid less and less.
Please define "partisan" as you're using it above. Where is the line on what is too partisan? Most TED talks espouse some kind of position or opinion on something. Are they being partisan and divisive?
It already didn't make sense. Thank you for your explanation, and above all, thank you for the incredible work you and all of you at TED do.
Sure Chris. Keep telling yourself that over and over again and maybe you'll believe it. I smell a rat here. The fact is by not publishing this talk, Chris has made an overt political act. You have taken a side. Deal with it like a man and stop making some BS excuse. You are officially in bed with Murdoch, Trump, Steve Forbes, Karl Rove, David Koch and other me-first "greed is good"-ers. The fact is that Hanauer has a valid point. It may not be one that many of the wealthy elites who sponsor and go to Ted agree with, but what is the point of having a conference like TED? To get "safe" ideas that don't threaten the economic establishment or to encourage free thinking that might one day help steer this economy back from the brink that dribble down economics has brought us to?
After reading the transcript, I have to say TED made a good call. I fully agreed with the assertions the speaker made, but I can't honestly say it was very substantive. It contained unsubstantiated assertions, anecdotal evidence, and lots of opinion. I know TED talks needn't be doctoral theses, but I don't see a clear call to action, game-changing fact, anything particularly edifying. A rich man says he's not a job creator? Glad to know he thinks that, and I would have applauded his frankness had I been there too. That said, there's very little I can do with the information provided therein, it's an op-ed at best (one that I happen to agree with), and it's my understanding that TED talks should inform, edify, or sound the a call to action. I don't see this talk as doing any of those.
What happened to the TED Talk with Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin? Why didn't that ever get posted?
"Mediocre" reception?

Maybe my video player is getting all ka-razy on me, but I saw a standing ovation by many at the end of the piece.

In an ideologically 50/50 crowd, anything that's said is going to have "on average, mediocre ratings", regardless of whether or not it's truthful.

Do better, TED. Fonzie's jumped enough sharks.

So the author got involved with MoveOn.org eh? Well that show's how much bullshit is piled into his talk if MoveOn.org is willing to purvey it!
Thank you for maintaining your neutrality and transparency in all of this. You have garnered my respect and I will continue to look to you for fair representation of novel and intelligent ideas.
The reality is that TED now is not the original TED and the idea of TED in the beginning was one which was different in many ways. TED has changed. It is now a more well followed event which also means it is both LESS elite (more people have access to the talks I used to have to get the DVDs from an ex and pass them around to people who could not afford to go to TED) and yet more commercial.
There is a sense of not wanting to offend anyone, when, in fact, TED should not care if anyone is offended. The speakers are responsible for what they say basta... and if speeches are vetted in advance, or edited, well, I would hope that would not be the case... as that in itself would be censorship. I do not believe they are having worked with a speaker on her speech in the past and know several of the speakers. Some found the TEDx events great but others found the official TED events not so great. To each his own. This comes from speakers and attendees. Some of the original attendees do not go anymore.
TED puts some great ideas out there, but it also is an event only afforded either by wealthy folks or those whose companies pay for them to attend. I have to say I have found the TEDx events for younger people very exciting...yet they are not official events. And are free or very affordable.
I guess my conclusion is, TED is a brand and the person who bought that brand from the founder of the original TED has the right to do what he wants with that brand.
We can watch the talks or not, attend or not...we are free to choose.
But if the talks are not even posted....well that would be a shame...
So I encourage TED to post ALL talks.
Because the real point of the TED brand is to pass on knowledge...and make us think.
Partisan? Was it partisan because he mentioned the Republican party first (and then pointed his finger at Democrats after)?

What was partisan is that Republicans are the ones mostly espousing the concept of the the rich as job creators than Democrats are.

So I suppose that TED will no longer air any talks on the issue of global climate change since it would be partisan, since Republicans are far more likely to be deniers than Democrats are.

Thanks Chris.

Anyone who has been in publishing has seen this type of Blackmail before; People who 'require' their voice to be heard and scream censorship if they aren't given the mic.

Problem is, the publishing outlets (TED in this case) built their audience by EDITING and selecting compelling content - crazy irony - TED's audience keep coming back specifically for that reason.

How sad that someone can use politics and strong arm PR tactics to manipulate the general public, rather than by creating a compelling message. We see this stuff everyday on Fox & CNN - these organizations have embraced it for the numbers - but how dare they bring this slimy approach to a platform like TED.

Unfortunately there is a need for this side of the issue because it is largely ignored in the mainstream media because of the ever shrinking group of MegaCorporations who control the industry. The lie of trickle down economics has been perpetrated for the last 30 years. The loss of wealth for the middle class and poor that has been transitioned to the wealthy elite over that time period is largely under-expressed in the press. If organizations like TED are not willing to present this information who will? It is only partisan to the wealthy elite who do not want to be taxed fairly. It is quite obvious whose interests you are serving by not presenting this talk. It is a crucial economic and social problem that needs to get some traction. Who are you really protecting by not sharing it? Only the very people who are suppressing the discussion in every other media outlet. This should be on the news every night. I wonder why it never is.....
Please pardon my typo in my earlier posting here.

I did want to point out that this talk is poignant in that is is coming from a wealthy person - a factor I think TED may have wanted to consider during the selection process.

TED has now posted this video, thanks to public pressure. Partisan? It's a good solid analysis; an analysis shared by Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. And the video shows that people clapped during the speech and gave the speaker a standing ovation. So not sure what Chris means by "a mediocre rating."
I see hardly anything partisan about this talk. Except, of course, that this slaps the Right in this country in the face with the fallacy if its orthodoxy.
Frankly, it's impossible to present the facts of income disparity and NOT sound "partisan." Sad to see that it seems TED is going the way of NPR in an attempt to present itself as "balanced." Well guess what? Not all issues have an equal share of outstanding points on BOTH sides of the American political spectrum. By not publishing the talk, TED apparently wants to save us from "mediocre" material. All well and good, but I think I should be able to make that determination for myself, thanks.
In less than the time it took you to write this post, you could have put the talk up.

So the question remains why you spend so much effort deflecting criticism on your decision not to show something that an increasing number of people want to see, when just letting them see it would take a lot less effort.

Given the other controversial talks that TED *has* decided to release, it's clear that the standard by which TED filters its media for the non-elite online viewers is inconsistent. For example, TED released an Al Gore talk on climate change, a topic that is extremely partisan, to the point that conservative activists have gone to lengths to get Al Gore's movie and other works on the subject banned in various places. Active bans on a speaker and topic are apparently not controversial enough for TED to filter. The diffrence between an Al Gore talk and a Michael Hanauer talk is not that one is controversial and the other not; it's not even that one is partisan and the other not; it's that one is anti-rich, and the other is... well, much less so.

Has it not occured to TED, that, perhaps, partisanship and truth can align? Further-- if we avoid partisanship for its own sake, we risk avoiding truth?

Besides, partisan politics are not absolute. They waver madly about the spectrum. In 1998, Republicans supported a health care mandate. In 2008, they were against it. In 2003, they supported wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, they were against them. So what is a truth-seeker to do? Well, perhaps the primary overarching rule should not be to avoid controversy or partisanship. If you do that, instead of seeking truth, you simply seek acceptability, and rarely are the two in sync.

Finally, you can't credibly claim that, on the one hand, you chose not to release the talk as a merely editorial option -- and then explain the decision by lambasting the talk for being controversial. It can't be both. It's either to avoid controversy or because you have "better" (by whose measure, exactly?) stuff to post.

The best way for TED to avoid continued flack over this non-censorship-editorial-decision-to-censor-a-controversial-topic is to release the damned talk already.

After all, if your goal was to avoid embroiling TED in a major controversy, you've epically failed.

I always thought of TED as a brand not a non-profit. And I still think whomever "owns" the brand can decide to do with it what he wants as long as it is legal.
I guess I don't see why TED cares if it is partisan or not? Just post everything and let the audience out here decide.
I've been watching the comments here, and took a skim through the ones at YouTube where Nick's talk is up.. and the tone, decisiveness and yes... partisanship of the comment far exceeds either Nicks or Chirs's, either real or perceived. This is an important issue, and is absolutely in need of discussion. But many on both sides of the debate, sense our Nation's unravelling on this and related points.

And our National Leadership seems stunningly unsuitable and incapable of either addressing, debating or showing any leadership in resolving these critical issues. Which further agitates the national mood.

Shame! The only reason Hanauer's ideas are "unconvincing" is that they are poorly understood truths -- exactly the kind of truths that we have come to expect TED talks to relate.

The basic macroeconomic factor at play is illustrated by http://j.mp/taxplain and it is the reason that Ron Paul is unable to tell the truth about simple historical facts on national television: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/05/01/ron-paul-krugman.html

TED. After viewing this gentleman's talk, I found it interesting and well spoken. Not the overtly political speech you folks portrayed it to be. If you think that Americans are not interested in the economy and what intelligent people think what the problems are, then TED is certainly out of touch. You are deserving to be criticized for being gutless for not posting this talk. Both the rich and the poor alike have treated the middle class as a feeding station to be exploited. By taxing the weathly and profitable corporations at the same or higher rate than the middle class is an excellent idea to assist everyone achieve at least a position to be able to enter the race for the pursuit of happiness.
I actually think it is far more disturbing to have people such as James Watson, DNA co discoverer who has said disturbing things regarding races and intelligence be a speaker at TED...this guy's talk is nothing compared to the true orientation of some of the other speakers...he was just more open about it.
Sponsors like Democrats as much as Republicans anyway...we both buy stuff.
I have to both agree and disagree with you on this, Chris. Hanauer's talk does show clear partisan-based views on the downfalls of economic progression in our modern economy, but he is also drawing clear, concise correlations between the increased rate of tax breaks and incentives for the richest Americans and increased unemployment rates for the lower and middle-class demographics. While the partisan argument may be enough to say that this TED talk is a bit sketchy in sticking with TED's long-running policies of distributing only non-partisan, objective talks on subject matter, the issue of income inequality will almost invariably bring along partisanship. You simply cannot argue the issue of income inequality through purely objective motives. Like religion, morality, etc., this topic will have the speaker in one political arena's corner or another.

But TED's consideration of this talk also begs the consideration of prior talks involving prominent Buddhists, Christians, and even individuals of creative and scientific backgrounds. A sense of partisanship is necessary for the speaker to be believable, for his or her passion in the subject to be informative, heartfelt, and insightful for viewers. Had Rick Warren, Sir Ken Robinson, or Brene Brown not remained partisan in their presentation—Warren for the necessity of morals, Robinson for the necessity of restructured education, and Brown for the necessity of vulnerability—would their engagements with TED have led to resounding success? In many ways, partisanship is the foundation for engaging in thoughtful discussion on almost every topic, but the general rule of thumb remains that such a concept, that we are in emotional allegiance to one side of an issue or another, is taboo.

I have and continue to respect the TED organization, even so much as to hope I can speak at a TEDx conference in my own future. But I will be quick to challenge that if the TED organization intends to promote objective, unbiased perspectives on subjects, future talks will become dull, uninspiring, without motivation and assuring that every subject deserves such that its pros and cons be weighed equally without interest in achieving any strict purpose. Eliminating, or attempting to obscure, the partisan in each person, speaker and viewer, will blur the lines between what defines a rambler and what defines a mission.

Thank you,
Joshua Peterson

This is a limp response to an interesting talk and it squarely aligns you with the mainstream media in this country. Pretty sad for an organization that until this point had a good reputation. The firestorm is justified. You are a coward. I for one will be spreading the word as far and wide as possible that TED Talks has corporate keepers and supports censorship.
Having viewed it, I side with those who say there was little in this talk that could be considered "partisan". OK, there were some opinions mixed with the facts. But that's true of many TED talks.

If your reasons for not posting it were *only* low reviews and you could document that you had a strict cut-off on that front, I'd agree with you that you made a legitimate editorial decision. But you have now said explicitly that TED also filters on content that it considers "partisan", and since that is an entirely subjective test this really boils down to editor's whim. And that's not what TED is supposed to be about.

The question of whether the speaker's actions, upon having the piece rejected by the editors, were reasonable or not is completely orthogonal to whether or not TED's actions were reasonable.

It's your videoblog. It's your right to edit it however you see fit. But you have to expect to be held to account when your editing itself appears partisan... and that's very much the case here.

No major harm done... except perhaps to the TED brand's reputation. Since I never assumed you were completely impartial in the first place, nor do I accept your speakers' statements as fact without checking them, it doesn't actually affect my attitude all that much. But it does mean I take TED itself that much less seriously.

Platitudes of the wingnuts on the left. Let's waste more time listening to brainless wingnuts of the right. Let's stop pretending any of these people actually reason. Good call TED.
(On the other hand, I do have to remind everyone that this *was* editorial decision, not "censorship". Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns and operates one. I can't demand that the NY Times run a random article I submitted, even if they requested it (though I might be able to demand payment for my work, depending on the contract). The same applies to net outlets such as TED; it *is* their right to take or reject content contributions as they see fit.

And it's our right to hold them accountable for those decisions.

This was pretty obvious to me from the first time i seen the story of TED censoring, clearly the people getting upset have never actually spent any time on the website.

There are many presentations on the website more likely to be censored than this one including the much better one on inequality linked in the article by Richard Wilkinson.

Thanks for not posting the video, that way everyone gets to see it. I agree with many of the comments above. If I didn't know better, I'd say this blog post is trolling. What's the one way to get more people to view TED? Controversy. The issue itself isn't as controversial as some would have us believe.

I happen to agree with the speaker but I also respect TED's decision not to air the speech. There's always youtube. Nobody can claim that they're being censored on the interwebs. If indeed Hanauer did hire a PR team, he got his money's worth.

The only people that find no interest in this subject are either rich or stupid.

Meh. Mediocre at best. Most of the talks on TED expand my mind, encourage me to think outside the box and view an issue from different angles. His "Look-at-me-I'm-rich -and-I-dislike-the-move-towards-taxing-me" approach made it difficult for me to pay attention his flawed logic.
I found Hanauer's talk engaging, passionate and informative. As a small time businessman, it rings true with me - I don't hire anyone until I have to hire someone to help with the business, otherwise I do it myself.

If it's factually incorrect, I'd like to see the numbers. It looked about right to me.

Editing is always tricky stuff, but this DOES have a whiff of not wanting to offend people that can spend a lot of money to listen to lectures.

This talk was extremely partisan in my view. Probably one of the worst takes on economics ever. The consumer is important, just as important as the rest of the cogs in the economic wheel such as the risk-takers. If this is an argument about bailouts then I agree that there should be none. If it's really just an argument about taxation, then I'd say there should be minimal taxes across the board, not just on business but on everyday consumers of all classes. Taxation is taking money from productive entities and dumping it into unproductive means, aka the government.
I just watched the talk and I don't see anything wrong with it. The guy did a good job and the audience stood and applauded at the end. I also agree with everything he said.
Partisan? TED? lol that's hysterical. These baby killing liberal climate change alarmists are nothing more than the intellectual elite brainwashing branch of the Democratic Party. I beat my son's butt when I saw him listening to this swill and trust me, he learned his lesson, just like the American people will teach you liberals a lesson come next November. God is coming back to the WHITE HOUSE!
I really don't know why you guys all read "partistan" as "offensive". In my book, partisan can mean that, you are prejudiced, biased or follow a party/idea blindly. I think you guys focus too much on "following a party". The problem is rather that he has his opinion fixed (an opinion I would support to a large degree) is fixed and his talk blindly follows the opinion, it is not really informative or inspring.

That's also why I fully understand the discrepancy between standing ovations and the "mediocre" talk opinion. For his opinion, namely that the "taxing the rich lower and lower is needed for job creation" is plain wrong and that something needs to be done about rising inequalities, I would applaud him, but the presentation is below standard.

The talk has opinion points I fullheartedly support, but to people interested in this topic those points are known. There is no interesting science or new ideas shown, it is just an opinion statement. Yes some of the slides show that the "other side" is plain wrong and inequalities are rising, but first, these show what most people interested already know and besides they do not support his consumer driven cycle theory either. So yeah, good opinion, mediocre talk, can understand it does not get the "relly good talk, shown on the webpage" award!

Still would generally support the idea of a full archive, it's always good to have sources available, just in case you need them at some point.

Great response. Looks like TED got unfairly tarred this time. But thanks to the controversy, more people will watch the talk and other TED talks. Looks like a win-win to me.
Well, I have read the talk in question. It is here http://roundtable.nationaljournal.com/2012/05/the-inequality-speech-that-ted-... and you know what? This is a good speech, and worth spreading.
TED you lie if this is a correct:

In an email obtained by the National Journal, TED curator Chris Anderson told his colleagues that Hanauer's speech “probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we've ever run, and we need to be really careful when” to post it. He added: “Next week ain't right. Confidentially, we already have Melinda Gates on contraception going out. Sorry for the mixed messages on this.”

There are a lot of people posting here to say that the speaker was correct. Yes, the speaker was (in the overall conclusion if not in every single supporting point) correct. But it wasn't NEW! Why would you need to ask TED to repeat what you already know is true... what everyone who thinks about the issue and isn't beholden to an ideological position knows is true. TED talks are awesome because they have people presenting new ideas and results, or new ways of framing or thinking about issues. This was none of that.

I understand that for political reasons, people want to see certain ideas stated in more places, more often, to a wider audience... but TED made a perfectly reasonable decisions in that they don't want to dilute a collection of really unique ideas and new perspectives by taking one of their daily spots to post an uninteresting retelling of facts that are already widely available.

And no, finding one TED talk you didn't like doesn't mean they have to post this one. It just means there was another talk where perhaps the wrong decision was made.

I think that the speaker is, unfortunately, not a very good speaker. There were some obvious edits to the video (clapping chopped) but I assume content was maintained. His points were good and valid and biased against tradition, not against any political facts, just opinions. Regardless, this is a thought that needs to be discussed openly and TED made an unfortunate decision to stick with tradition and post only one talk per day.
Boo Hoo, my video didn't get selected - better throw a conspiracy tantrum
This short talk is exactly correct and is probably the most important message people in the US need to hear. There is nothing partisan about ut. It's true and if it runs afoul of some party then so be it.
This response is totally unconvincing. Partisan means favoring one political party over another. I don't recall him ever using the words Democrat or Republican. In fact, his talk explains how this has come to pass over the last thirty years in which we've had both Democratic and Republican presidents and Congresses. This is so clearly not a partisan issue, and that is why the Occupy movement was born, because we really that both parties are beholden to the 1%. Personally I thought the talk was fabulous. The fact that he could get all of that information into five minutes was very impressive. Plus, he is a very engaging speaker. If your audience was tepid about it, maybe they're mostly uncomfortable 1%er or those who aspire to be.
Chris, I think you have been an incredible curator for TED. You seem like a decent and intelligent individual, and I'm very sorry for the pain and stress this entire affair is probably causing you, but I think you should probably post the talk.

Whatever your initial reasoning was, an no matter how galling it may be to reward someone who makes threats by giving them what they want, the talk really needs to be posted now, to save TED's larger reputation. I watched the talk - and I thought that while it could have been delivered better, it was still pretty good. I even liked it enough to send it to some of my friends and relatives.

Most people are good people - Nick probably honestly thought he was being censored and was angered by it. I would recommend offering to meet with him in person, to try to get him understand your reasoning. Face-to-face communication is much better than emails, it might help. I also like the idea of creating an archive with all of the TED and TEDx talks, and then just using the main site to highlight the best ones. That's probably what you guys should have been doing all along.

Anyway, good luck. For what it is worth, most of us random internet people think very highly of you and love TED - we are inclined to think well of you, just post the talk and keep explaining your side of the story. If people hear the full story and decide that Nick was using the threats to promote himself personally, their wrath will come down on him too.

Okay, I take that stuff about how to read his "partisan" back after looking at the mail citations on nationaljournal - assuming the citations are correct, it really is about elections (or would be about being political when the quality were good enough to have it released). That I found truely scandalous!

If the topic is hot and the talk is good (which it ain't) then the hell if one party got it right and the other wrong!!!

Claiming to be non-partisan is idiotic. You guys better be anti-republican, or you can gtfo of town.
It's one thing to deem the speaker not compelling, and another to claim him partisan.

Please identify phrases or ideas that are "partisan".

How the hell is this talk partisan? It's only partisan if you buy into the fool notion that in a democracy, you have to give equal weight to the opinion of the unintelligent. This dude is right. If I were a business owner, I wouldn't hire people just for the hell of it. I'd only hire them if customer demand dictated I increase my manpower. That's common sense, really.
I am far more offended by some guy posting his business advertisement into his "comments" in this forum than by anything the speaker said. Others have already made the point that this was not a partisan talk, and TED's lame defense of their decision not to post it is pathetic.

That said, what TED did is not "censorship." As a private entity, TED has every right to decide what to put its name on or not. Censorship is governmental prior restraint on free expression. TED exercised editorial judgment. Poor judgment, to be sure, but they will bear the consequences of that far longer than Mr. Hanauer will be damaged by this.

If someone is arguing that the privileged have too much power, and they need to give up some of that power - well, the issue is inherently partisan. And it is fundamentally political, given that the rich pump so much money into politics. There is absolutely no way to be neutral or nonpartisan when discussing these issues.
Really, this was so partisan as to not post the talk? I have been a devoted TED fan for years, but this is disappointing. I didn't think it was especially persuasive, but the point he makes is one that has already been accepted by most developing countries around the world, so it is by no means radical. The US has an especially favorable tax regime for the rich, and the middle and lower classes are worse off than many other countries with lower GDP per capita. A few decades of increased tax benefits for the rich have not proven to be effective in terms of creating jobs and consumer demand, so other points of view should be discussed.

What percentage of TED talks don't get published? If this is just one of the 50% that get cut than I can understand, but if this is one of a small handful than I think you have just lost a lot of credibility.

Thanks for the detailed explanation and for consistently delivering quality content. I also support the topic of this controversial video but am happy that you declined to promote unconvincing and misleading data. Thank you!
Dchris you say the talk is mediocre and that was the feedback from the people that participated...but I saw an standing ovation...I liked the talk.. it is not the best I've seen but was good
He should have done this before everyone was left to draw on their own conclusions.
A bunch of rich people didn't like a speech suggesting they should pay more taxes... so of course TED flushes it. And now the flushee is here to offer up this half-arsed defense.

TED's "transparency" is quite transparent: Don't give a speech that might offend the room full of rich people in your TED-audience or said speech shall be dealt with.

Liberals and members of the media and academia went wrong in the 90s, when we tried to outdo each other by eliminating all possible liberal bias in reaction to accusations by the Right that we were ignoring their views---their widsom!---in contemplating anything and everything.

Nevermind the fact that the media and academia, with their questioning of authority, systematic investigations and refusal to follow blind faith, are inherently liberal! Nevermind that corporations and the rich have an axe to grind, themselves, and are, more often than not, quite conservative, by nature.

The people at TED need to remember this simple fact the next time they get their panties in a bunch about partisan politics.

I hope every issue that can be considered divisive or "partisan" - even when the speaker himself isn't overtly partisan - isn't disregarded... if you found it uninteresting or his case not compelling then that's a different story, obviously.
Why is it partisan to examine the validity of an economic theory? I was hoping your statement would explain something, but you sound punitive at a personal level and narrow-minded. And afraid of whatever partisan forces you think will punish you for questioning canon. How is that not partisan, by the way?
quote "I've devoted the rest of my life to doing this, and honestly, it's pretty disheartening to have motives and intentions taken to task so viciously by people who simply don't know the facts."

It is imperative that you do not resonate with that which you know to be false.

Red shirt Blue shirt - someone says "I hate that red shirt you are wearing". But you are not wearing a red shirt you are wearing a blue shirt. So your response is simply "I am not wearing a red shirt". You do not get angry or take offense because the criticism is completely false.

quote "we're considering at some point posting the full archive from future conferences"

Excellent idea.

Really the best solution is to open your archive completely. Make all TED talks available online, and let us be the judge. That way you avoid this silly talk about "censorship".

As a curator you can still highlight the talks you think are worthwhile, and probably most people will be satisfied by that. But if you only post what you think best", when your choice becomes controversial, the public has no baseline by which to evaluate your judgement as to what is typical and what is extraordinary.

Will you please publish your ratings on this talk and others, unedited? Thanks.
How was this overly partisan? Both Democrats and Republicans have been on the side of big business for decades. And saying that it got a mediocre response is disproved by the standing ovation and multiple applause breaks that are in the video. Yes, it was a relatively short and simple presentation, but it is meant to be a conversation starter, not a doctoral dissertation. This was nothing more than a simple, straightforward, point-by-point argument supporting bottom-up demand-side Keynesian economics.

Why does this scare you?

For everybody's amusement and information, the conspiracy theories currently circulating include:

1) TED censored it for fear of offending their corporate partners.

2) Vague evil corporate forces were trying to have it censored, and Chris and Nick heroically conspired to do so in such a way that it would get it maximal attention, thus ultimately defeating said evil corporate forces while, on the surface, giving them what they want.

And there are probably more...

This actually reminds me of an old TED talk about how people like to think in terms of stories. I remember, he said that "if a story made up to explain a set of facts would make a great movie - it is probably false." I think that tidbit of wisdom is very applicable here.

As babrahamse said... open archive completely, otherwise you are editing and censoring. Gotta take the good with the bad, make it black and white, none of this shades of grey business.
This explanation is totaly disingenuous. Who ever came up with this explanation should be terminated.
i listened intently for the partisanship and didn't hear it. as a business owner with a background in finance, i'd say he's spot on with his theory: the middle class does create jobs through their demand. recent history proves it also...we're not swimming in jobs.

i love the TED talks and watch them frequently...this wasn't the most inspiring but it wasn't inferior. it touched on a subject that NEEDS to be discussed. and thankfully, it is now being discussed all over the world.

sadly, i now have a bit of distrust towards TED and their choice of message.

I think others have more or less said this but putting it simply trying to only or mainly post things that are balanced is censorship. Some things aren't balanced, many things aren't fair. Presenting arguments that give a fair and balanced view of something unbalanced is a distortion.

So being new to visiting here it raises the question does the site refrain from publishing anything written by a side with a point of view?

Well we have 2 choices then if we want to avoid censorship. We can see this controversial video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5OdQGbVNa4

Or we can read this controversial book: http://goo.gl/LHB76

The talks information was good, the way it was presented was poor.

Anyone who has taken classes on presentations would see countless flaws in, the biggest one being the graphs. The labeling was too small, multiple graphs were shown without time to consume what was on them. I don't think TED is against the topic as much as the fact that it was a poor presentation that doesn't stand up to the standards of other TED talks.

@ 'I don't buy it'

Jonathan Haidt's TED talk was based on years of research using clinical trials and brain imaging. The neurology and psychology of liberals and conservatives have been well established. Just because science tells us conservatives are less open to experience and change doesn't make Haidt's presentation vile or wrong.

Otherwise, I agree that TED should post Hanauer's talk. The excuse that it is "too partisan" holds no water, as he mentions politics in only ONE line:

"This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape."

Besides, even if it were partisan, it should still be posted. Reality has a notoriously liberal bias, and TED has posted many highly partisan talks in the past.

I'm sad too that Chris Anderson had to come and defend TED motivation... And the talk was really biased and flawed. He was just feeding the "consume mith" - give more to the mob and they will spend more and we will be richier than we are today... SAD! Everything is so sad...
Its just not good.
Thank God for the internet and the ability to present your side of the story -__-
TED should publish everything on its web site. Why not show also the good but no great ones? Its a form of censorship.
my thinking is that it was far more the accessibility of his content to the masses who can't afford the price of admission (6000 a year) to this NON profit cradle of exclusive elitism that was the real THREAT to the corporate dictates... seems to be now little more than a marketing machine much like susan g komen kony 2012...
where you are excluded from the top but they will set up little local clubs where you can pretend like you are one of them and they get to have a captive audience to advertise to...or get info for further marketing... it is all in the subtext for so many of these glimmering fronts that would leave many stunned and shocked if they knew the hidden agendas like with komen... it is the greatly growing way of corporate business and political manipulations all sugar coated and so less obvious...
my classmate's sister makes $89 an hour on the computer. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $16298 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site LazyCash34.com
I am also disappointed by both TED's decision and Chris's response. I don't see how this is "explicitly partisan." And it does seem incongruent that the audience applause resulted in mediocre scores. This is certainly not the weakest TED talk I've seen.

I urge TED to reconsider their decision on this talk. Perhaps there should be an option for another retry.

Excellent Speech, You guys defenitly should not have censored him ;)
Those of you clamoring that the talk couldn't have received mediocre reviews because of the standing ovation: think of the State of the Union address for an illustration of how standing ovations don't necessarily correlate with satisfaction.
Don't worry, everyone in nonprofit work is subjected to vicious attacks and people at the bottom of the emotional intelligence barrel. I don't know why but I've experienced it and watched it numerous times. Keep heart and great work!
I think this is a pretty good talk... kinda partisan but it is still good.
Needlessly partisan? Heaven forbid. The very definition of a self-absorbed idiot is someone who believes their own ideology is beyond ideology.
Why not post everything, and let people decide for themselves what they want to watch/hear/believe? An informed audience doesn't need TED to filter their perception of the world. On the contrary, "partisan" opinions should be the basis for spirited conversation.
Zombie Ayn Rand strikes out from the grave again...

Next it'll be Zombie Milton Freakin' Friedman trying to eat my brains out again. Sweart'god sometimes I feel like Vincent Price: just wanna' throw a giant can of pears across the pantry...

The idea was good but the talk was kind of lame. A standing O? Technically I guess it was a partial one but the speaker just wasn't exciting. Good call on it not making it through the process. Work on your presentation Mr. Hanauer. You have a good idea to sell.
The only way this talk could be considered partisan is if you consider one party to be the 0.01%, and the other party the rest of us. But thank you, TED (Chris), for blatantly trying to suppress this absolutely "spread-worthy" idea in the first place, since it will now reach a much wider audience.
I highly doubt they were trying to censor the guy... its a good 'talk' but its not that good. its not inspiring as most of the others are... maybe they made a mistake for not posting it? but alas, the lynch mob is going to burn them at the stake huh...
I don't understand the contentious nature of this talk. Do we avert our eyes every time something comes up a little bit difficult to talk about? The "economy" brings up all insecurities that we all have about our lives. But if that is the most pressing issue, shouldn't we explore all avenues to get to a conclusion, or do we just pretend it isn't a problem? I, for one, don't understand the whole fuss about this talk.
Oh GODS. Please. It's taken over my inbox... 
Is this the completely horrible, political, partisanship comment that you're so opposed to?

"This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape."

Sounds very nonpartisan to me.

For the love of god, why am I now getting an email of every comment posted on this threat? How do I unsubscribe?
You say over, or out, but not both.
yeah i need to get rid of this shit email
I noted the kerfuffle this morning but didn't delve into it. Then I came across this post on a news aggregation site . I clicked on the video link assuming that your viewpoint would be confirmed. Only it wasn't.
Explicitly partisan? I must have missed that part. Do you mean the brief mention of both parties?
Weak arguments? Maybe you can climb down from your lofty tower and explain it to the unwashed masses. Examples and rebuttals would strenghten your position.
I think TED produces some great content, I will continue to consume that which appeals to me. However, I will view it with the knowledge that TED has a political agenda and will not hesitate to use its editorial powers to limit debate.
Chris, back this up with some facts: "...it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing...". Convince me you're not partisan!
mmmmmmmmmmmm thanks
Mediocre talk, not because of content, but because of lack of style, passion. Chris, you had a fight with Nick, and now you are crying. Man up!
Partisan? The response by both parties to the crisis and recession has been overwhelmingly supply-side. From which party does this message come?

As for the controversy, that's a lesson TED had to learn. When someone asks for a video to be posted, post it or eat it. Just the way the world is right now.

The speaker made some compelling arguments, but he didn't back them up with anything substantive. It was all sizzle and no steak, so to speak. The delivery was clumsy and dry. The attempts at wit fell flat. ("Humans believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It's not. [Really?] And an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some pretty terrible astronomy." What is he, GladOS? 'Look at him still talking when there's science to do.')

And while I agree with everything he said (all 5 minutes worth), I didn't learn anything I didn't already know. And if I were of a contrary mindset, he wouldn't have convinced me to question any of my own preconceptions.

As for the allegations of censorship - I'm not really interested in the slightest, but then it isn't reputation that's at stake. Certainly I can understand TEDChris' firmly-worded response.

TED is a forum for world-class talks from world-class thinkers.

This was not world class - not even close.


I apologize for being drawn into the "censorship" flap. It makes me feel a little sheepish think it was so easy for me to jump on a band wagon that was critical of an institution that I admire! My apologies, and of course you have editorial say on what kind of articles you publish.
I think the decision seems a bit cowardly and a bit false equalizing––avoiding topics that come down firmly on one side of the political aisle. False equalizing in the media has already protected, hidden and rewarded the hard shift Republicans have made to the right and towards the very rich. Most Americans have come to believe that the only way you can be fair is declare a pox on both parties, which is like giving equal time to pre-Copernican physics or pre-Darwinian science...and I guess the Republican Party is all over that too. TED does great things for the public conversation. Please don't distort it with false equivalencies. It's dishonest.
Putting aside Mr. Hanauer's abrasive style or any issues about partisanship, I'm compelled to reiterate the larger point: A weak talk is a weak talk! Get over it, folks. Hanauer presented no new or innovative ideas, and his conclusions were not well defended. Only the few, very best talks get posted to TED's home page. This talk hardly rises to that standard. It's pathetic and sad that Hanauer whined and aggressively concocted this misguided conspiracy theory about "censorship," forcing Mr. Anderson to defend a transparently fair and rational decision.
ideas worth spreading < to the major corporate marketing machine in the making

i'm still confused you bought this from someone and now its a non profit exclusive club with major corporate sposorship...and dues(6000 yr) affobrdable to a very few......and talks pulled that in very simple terms state the issues of our economic sytem as to have many of those unwashed non ted members understand not talked over by a person who is the 1% not some 'unkept lazy hippie' they can demonize...something is very very off here...

you;ve nancy brinkered(komen for the cure) yourself chris...
things aren't adding up at all with your reply....
when you run non profits and espouse a certain philosophy
nothing is outta bounds in questioning your integrity and true motives...

TED. Please continue to censor. censoring the mediocre is why you have risen above.
Hey everyone that's complaining that this didn't get posted:

Start your own website and post it there. TED reserves the right to post or not post whatever videos it feels like. The team as a whole decided that this was not up to the standards of the site. It's their job to decide which videos get posted on THEIR site, not yours, not the speakers, not the media. Are all of you really that cynical that you're willing to throw all TED does under the bus because you disagree with entirely legitimate decision they made? You all don't deserve TED if that's the case.

...and the PR company wins.
I have a bone to pick with the people who, with good intention, have been saying over and over that "this is not censorship."

Yes, it is. What it isn't is illegal, or a violation of First Amendment or any other rights, or a civil wrong.

But it is still censorship.

If it wasn't, there would be no such word as "self-censorship".

You do not have to be a government to impose censorship. You simply have to have control over content, and exercise that control by either preventing some of that content from being released, or deliberately underpromoting it as is the case here, because of the nature of its subject matter.

Don't see how this " [But it] framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan." I have also seen talks on TED that were much more boring than this talk.
And Chris: You had to have foreseen, by being a conference with a multi-thousand-dollar entry fee, and therefore only accessible by the elite, that deciding not to release a video of a talk that opposes the increasing bias of power towards that same elite, would make you look pretty bad. (Or else you TED guys are not as smart as you let on.) My deduction is you hoped/figured no one would notice. In that case, kudos to Hanauer for bursting that thin bubble.
The faketroversy fooled me - but my point does remain the same. Just raising tax rates won't help redistribute income. It will just move it around some and encourage more people to make $$ off Federal debt service.


Like a conference that charges $7500 a head to attend doesn't have problems with elitism and political partisanship to begin with.
I don't see it as censorship but more as, curating. Someone has to decide what does and doesn't get posted, and I for one have always been pleased with the content on TED.
Seems to me this is more about a rich guy that didn't get his way and threw his toys out of his crib. I don't care if he is use to getting his way and neither should TED. Your mission, contribution, and reputation speak for itself.
That's cool. A response was necessary and def. agree w/ its our editorial op. Just, get that takeaway done so this won't be an issue again. cheers!
Fair enough. But I've actually NOT seen a TED talk that addresses income inequality in as straightforward a way, which is what I found most compelling about this one to begin with. It was not "needlessly partisan" at all. In fact, at this point, it seems pretty clear Hanauer is simply stating the obvious. True, it was neither revelatory nor impeccably executed. But as has elsewhere been pointed out, neither are MANY of the talks prominently featured on the site. So one takeaway for me is that, while TED may not be into censoring ideas (which was never my contention), it is, regrettably, unhelpfully skittish when it comes to keeping it real on the economy.
That's cool. A response was necessary and def. agree w/ its your editorial op. Just, get that takeaway done so this won't be an issue again. cheers!
I gotta say I agree. It was a pretty weak talk.

He presents only one simple idea without any real depth.

Paraphrased: The rich (capatalists) are getting all the breaks that aren't really deserved. They're not job creators, the middle class are.

It took you less than 5 seconds to read that. Why would you want to watch 5 minutes of repeating the same thing with a couple different analogies thrown in?

Whether you agree with him or not, it's nothing that hasn't been said a million times just as convincingly by random protestors in any "99%" rally you could see on the mainstream media.

In these chaotic days, it is good to know that you and your audience has graciously relieved me of the responsibility to decide for myself whether the talk presented a good argument or was convincing without being partisan. One less thing for me and millions of others to worry about.

By the way, when you say 'left', I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Yeah, I love TED but this whole thing was obviously them just not wanting to say something to piss of republicans.
It's sad when someone explains a reason for not choosing something and people just insist on the idea that it's an issue of censorship. If we are going to live in an era where the exchange of ideas should be paramount then you have to be willing to accept that perhaps the idea you conjured up in your head maybe just wrong. The PR guy went on the attack, PR companies work to show their clients in the best light, NOT TRUTH!

If TED chose not to pick that speech they had sensible reasons for doing it. It was just explained, if you don't believe him then don't be cowards and make your comment 2 easily words that cut to the chase of what non believers want to say. "You're Lying!" It's that simple, don't try to be better than this guy because you aren't. You're just commenting on a site with an over-inflated sense of importance. I'm pretty sure Chris Anderson isn'g going to sleep becuase "colinMXS" or "foggytown" don't believe his side of the story..

Chris, you and your staff's decision to not post this talk was a PR blunder. I'll grant you that the speaker isn't the most dynamic, but his credibility is impeccable for what his message is.
Bad decision.
That said, if you only have one bad decision a year, then you're doing good work.
So the whole Al Gore climate change talk wasn't political?
Interesting, I don't think there is any one absolute correct side of this debate. I found the talk interesting and though-provoking, but I do see some oversimplification going on that could certainly be construed as one-sided. What I think is the bigger slap-in-the-face is the fact that he decided taking this public was the next best move. If I were him, I would have asked for a do-over, perhaps a rework or a more in-depth presentation of some very valid points. My feeling is that his ego was hurt and his passion for this subject created a situation where he felt his best move was to burn the village instead of taking the decision constructively and making another attempt, This is all however based on the assumption that TED would give him another chance with a revised or more in-depth discussion. Chris?
ok, Chris Anderson, maybe Ravi Batra would be more interesting for you? unless of course his track record on geo-economics is too partisan or mediocre for you. just sayin,.

"The first question is this: Why does rising wealth disparity create poverty? My answer is that it causes overproduction and hence unemployment and destitution. It is all a matter of supply and demand. Inequality goes up when official economic policy does not allow wages to catch up with the ever-growing labor productivity, so that profits soar and rising productivity increasingly raises the incomes and bonuses of business executives. I have detailed this process in an earlier article. Then money sits idly in the vaults of bankers and big-business CEOs and restrains consumer demand, leading to overproduction and hence layoffs. The toxic combination of mounting layoffs and absent job creation raises poverty, which, according to official figures, is now the highest in 50 years."


I don't know if you will get down into the low 200's on the comments but I do want to say that Reddit is, if anything, about truth. And that is why when the scandal hit yesterday the posts regarding it were on the front page. And that is also why today as you tell your side of things your response is also on the front page. You have satisfactorily explained the situation I feel. And most folks will probably let it go.

The only thing I take issue with is your explanation of avoiding partisanship. TED is about spreading knowledge. Or at least that is what my interpretation of your words and actions has led me to. Knowledge starts with truth. And truth is sometimes partisan.

I would feel a lot better about this situation if your explanation had been simply "We at TED seek to tell the truth. There was not enough truth in what this speaker had to say so we felt it better not to sensationalize it." That would have made me happy.

Worrying about taking sides and partisanship is the trap that much of the media has fallen into. They don't want to seem biased so they say nothing at all. The truth can be partisan. You should not be giving off the impression that TED would avoid a subject that is true simply because it is partisan. I know you generally don't actually do that. But it is how you couched your response. And perception to most is reality.

He sounds pretty petulant to me, I might've overlooked this one too if not for the .. well, petulance and PR bullshit.
This is ridiculous... he simply stated a reality of Keynesian economics. How is that political or partisan? Taxation creates investment money, not unscientific, politically driven Reaganomics... if someone came and gave a TED talk about Reaganomics, trickle-down theory, and its benefits, then it should be censored. John Maynard Keynes might as well have been censored in this case, and that is enough to make TED a mockery of its own expressed goals. Economics is a respected field, and it should not be a partisan action to speak to the effects of taxation and consumer-driven investment. Grow a spine, TED. Elitism is not endearing in a civil discussion of ideas.
Saying that "if they censored it, they had good reasons," is about as extremely ignorant as an appeal to authority can be. You cannot argue this without being a fool. Blind acceptance is not equitable to trusting someone's word...
Economic inequality can't help but be a political issue. And even if I didn't believe that, I don't appreciate your believing it for me. Regardless of your two dozen corporate partners who don't want to be taxed higher but are not creating jobs because there is no middle class to buy their products, you have made a complete mockery of everything TED professes to stand for.
"Partisan" is your excuse! Would have TED blocked an argument against Slavery on 'partisanship'?

Surely some topics deserve no such partisanship, I don't think we should give an equal argument for slavery, torture, child prostitution, and yes, income equality which causes great suffering.

Clearly it is immoral and inhumane to allow 'partisanship' for such issues.

After viewing the clip, it is clear it was at best misjudged by the the deciding members of ted. Perhaps a system of allowing us common folk's to judge the material in a process similar to that seen on Reddit applied to Ted might be a better idea.
The only way you can think of this as a "partisan" issue is if you view it through the narrow, narrow lens of US Politics. Which any intelligent person already knows allows only a tiny sliver of the spectrum of possible ideas.

For shame TED.

There can be no advancement in most types of thinking if your audience isn't made uncomfortable.

The problem with TED is that the focus has gone from the business of actually educating people, to the business of making really rich people feel good about themselves.

Hence it's subverted its original purpose.

Thank you so much for posting this. As a lover of TED talks, I was scandalized and confused by the accusations of censorship. I'm so glad you took the time to clear up these rumors.
btw, i'll give Chris Anderson the benefit of the doubt. it's a he said-he said pooh-flinging right now between him and Nick Hanauer. so i'll just leave it to both of them to settle this as civilized intellectuals that they are. but i find Chris' response to be bitter and i don't buy it when he said that the talk was "mediocre". it's also interesting to see that Chris Anderson didn't even mention Nick Hanauer's name on his post. he simply referred to him as "an attendee". very Diva-ish of Chris.

~ "At TED this year, an attendee pitched a 3-minute audience talk on inequality. The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance. The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings."

i wasn't there. but if the other commenters here are correct that Nick Hanauer got a standing ovation, then Chris has got some explaining to do.

my issue with Chris is that he viewed this as a "partisan" issue rather than a valid argument for the economic mess than we're in right now, regardless of one's political leanings. in any case, at least this incident forced TED to be more transparent. but this issue is just getting started. let's see if the people who will watch the video will find it "mediocre." IMHO, I've seen more mediocre stuff on TED before. but that's just me.

When attaching your own name to anything, it's your name. If you feel that a given subject or presentation does not represent you. You do not need to explain. Your "no" should be sufficient.

In this case he was perfectly free to remake his presentation elsewhere. After all, it was his presentation wasn't it? Just not with your endorsement.

I've read the actual text of the "pitch".

Apparently it was too "overtly partisan" to say that Republicans believe raising taxes will cut job growth... even though Republicans have been loudly preaching this for 40 years or more.

Hanauer was stating a well-known fact that Republicans will gladly confirm: they believe raising taxes will cut job growth.

that was too "partisan"

You guys are the same guys who present talks by Steven Levitt (self-styled "rogue" economist), Deepak Chopra and that self-help guru guy with a massive jaw, whatever his name is... right? Just want to make sure I am not getting you wrong, before I try to understand the sense in which you use the word "partisan" and in what manner you aim to be fair and balanced.
R.I.P. TED Talks. You've become marginalized by your obvious bias. I will enjoy whomever comes up in the wake of your suicide.
This is clearly partisan, but only to the extent that it reflects the perversity of American culture. A totalitarian like culture of escalating authoritarianism and fascism. Where a resetting of the center of compromise is desperately required.

Like all totalitarian societies your not suppose to say when the Emperor has no clothes on. So yes, in this environment, you can't politely imply that the system is wrong, even if supported with facts and empirical evidence. This is very taboo.

After I watched Hanauer's video and read your post, I watched the Wilkinson video that you offered as proof that you are not tip-toeing around the issue of rising inequality.

The Hanauer video is a much more effective presentation. The Wilkinson video is an unsatisfying synopsis of a book- a lot of charts without numbers or footnotes.

You insinuate that Hanauer's video is "needlessly partisan in tone." If ridiculing the ridiculous ("job creators") is partisan, you have a point. For what it's worth, Wilkinson lists "more progressive taxation" as part of a proposed solution to the problem of excessive inequality. Of course, this "partisan" chestnut is buried in a list of 7 or 8 items that appears onscreen for a few seconds in the last minute of the video.

Hanauer's video is punchy enough to actually encourage some people to think about the garbage they are force-fed on a daily basis. Wilkinson's video will disappear into comfortable irrelevance.

P.S. bottom line: what Chris Anderson calls "partisan" I call "just the facts, man!"

that is all. please don't filter stuff from your own political lens moving forward. the TED audience are are intelligent enough to make our own discernment. thank you very much for the fantastic work that you do. stay cool and unbiased.

This is one of the best and most even-handed TED talks I've ever seen. To know that it was considered sub-par in any way is a bit like the twilight zone. I'm startled about what else I could be missing.
That video was unimpressive at best. You guys were justified in choosing to pull from more interesting and thought provoking talks.
It seems to me the only way this talk can be read as partisan is if it is partisan to say that something would be better for both the poor, middle class and rich, than for the rich alone.
Er, the "noncommercial look and feel of the website" went out the window when you started shilling, however creatively, for a News Corporation summer blockbuster.
Well, I don't understand how the author of this post can say that the talk was only rated as average when many in the audience gave him a standing ovation. I also thought it was a very insightful look at the ordeal from a rich person's stand point. I think the negativity towards this talk by the author of this post is unwarranted.
People have been griping that the visible standing ovation means that Chris is not being truthful when he said the ratings were mediocre.

That's because those are two different events: 1. the immediate crowd reaction, and 2. the online survey TED sends out to attendees a couple of days after the event (It takes a LONG time to fill out believe me.)

Often times people's reactions in the moment end up different from their considered evaluation a few days later. So, standing is not filling out the survey, and they seem to measure different things.

I've stood for things that upon reflection, I didn't like as much.

>One takeaway for us is that we're
>considering at some point posting the
>full archive from future conferences
>(somewhere away from the home page).

So do it. Then everybody gets to decide the quality of the talks for themselves. Put them on YouTube.

The talk wasn't partisan in nature. It wasn't mediocre, either - it was a succinct statement of a problem that doesn't get enough attention.

I lost a lot of respect for TED today.

I am not posting to accuse Chris Anderson of not wanting to post a controversial issue.

I do take great exception to Mr. Anderson's assertion that the talk was overly partisan and that the arguments were unconvincing.

What I find unremarkable about the talk is that it is accurate and verges on self-evident to those who think critically about these issues and rely on facts and evidence in attributing causation.

Contrary to Chris Anderson's claim, Mr. Hanauer's presentation did not smack of partisanship. It is only in this era of journalism dominated by corporate media that stating something so obviously true can be construed as partisan.

It is basic economics that companies can sell to the extent that people are able to buy. When people have less income, they buy less. So, companies do not create jobs out of thin air or out of the goodness of their hearts, but when people buy more.

Additionally, large corporations, as a group, have been anything but job creators over the last decade. Most have outsourced and eliminated jobs. Most of the job creation that has occurred has been by small (and to some extent medium) sized companies.

Dean Baker, Yves Smith, Simon Johnson, Joseph Stieglitz, Robert Reich and others have been documenting both of these situations for years. If Mr. Anderson found them unconvincing, it was incumbent on him to do some research before using his own state of not being convinced as justification.

In terms of how accusations of partisanship have stifled news coverage, here are two worthwhile reads:

I was at TEDxHarlem in March, and those speakers kept it real. Perhaps the local TEDs will have to pick up big TED's slack. Going forward, I suppose, big TED can blow our minds with sleek, crowd-pleasing tech shows (escapist); TEDx can address reality (salient).
Truth be told, I suspect the "talk about the talk" will be more important then the actual TED talk as far as history is concerned. Only about 300 views so far.
Thank you.... In the EXTREME partisan country we live in today, finding the TRUTH is harder and harder every day...
I usually have to apologize to friends for the thin gruel of most TED talks, although a few do have substantial content. Who knew you had such high standards.
Its immoral to give 50/50 arguments for topics relating to injustice.

Such 'partisanship' approach has extended and maintained death and suffering in topics of;

Child Abuse
Economic Inequality - which causes mass misery and suffering.

I'd imagine we're going to look back and see TED as totally corrupt, akin to them censoring Slaves who spoke out in a subtle way about their Masters. This is totally out of whack with ethics.

The defense given by TED is demonstrably false...unless the problem is us, and our inability to understand their nuanced use of language. By calling it 'explicitly partisan' maybe TED was not referring to the Democratic and Republican political parties...they were instread referring to the 1% and the 99%. Perhaps in TED's view, those are both equally valid perspectives that must be equally represented at all times, or it's partisan. (Hanauer, you class traitor, damn you!)
Ahem... the audience i saw on the video gave him a standing ovation! but you said...
"The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings."
Of course with all the buzz i watched it and found it so level headed and sound. To presume that a theory of wealth creation (economics) is partisan reveals what is unspoken but assumed... the Republican Party is the party of the ultra rich. What the speaker was challenging was the orthodoxy of "trickle down" economics. Not a bit radical!
You cut out the applause during the speech.
TED provides enlightenment and education and it offers us opportunity to indulge in a think tank, so what is wrong with that? We can agree, or not, with the content of the topic whether it be right or left and recognize that the non-elite view the forum as elitist and the elites share opposite views. It seems to me that this is the habit of most of us. Frankly I think that Chris should just have left the criticism of TED to the critics and this can of worms would have remained closed.
The fact is that the timing of this particular 'talk' made it even more relevant. Even if you already have a queue of material lined up, I'm assuming that some of those have decreased and increased in relevance to the general tone of the nation. Your use of the words 'conspiracy theorists' is a lowly tactic that people learn on the playground called 'name-calling' which if you're familiar with the degrees of argumentation (and I'm sure you are) is the lowest form of refutation. I hardly find your response convincing at all.
in all fairness, perhaps it's not the calling out of demonstrably bad public policy that's so unnecessarily partisan, perhaps it's the rigid attachment to said bad policy that is both unnecessary, and partisan?
TED, it was controversial and perhaps could have been delivered more effectively but the content of what he had to say was not particularly patrician. Nick Hanauer holds a controversial viewpoints that is contradictory to viewpoints of the people who fund your organization. This id why you decided not to pick this one in particular. There is no need to apply your own spin to defend your judgement on the quality of his presentation TED. You have only made things worse by responding this way.

TED, if you would like to blame PR firms for what has happened today with this topic you can't effectively defend you position by behaving like one yourselves.

Well...For everything else there is YouTube ...This is TED baby you can not spoil it like you do in youtube quality come first then Equality!

Borrowed from MasterCard
One of the best comments I wrote in my whole life!

Sounded like a campaign speech to me but it wasn't as offensive as I was expecting (unlike the guy touting republicans are the problem somewhere up there)... it was just sort of amateurishly delivered and not the quality of some other TED's I've seen...
when something becomes big, people are greedy pointing at it and discovering weaknesses. no matter wether they exist or not.
The central concept of his talk is accepted as truth by most rational adults, it was delivered flawlessly, and it bored the crap out of me to hear it again. There is no story here- save your outrage and indignation.
To me the mediocre one was the Wilkinson one: lot of absurd statistics (absurd as they think it's possible to convert every human aspect into a number), bored extended time, very bad ironed shirt and the obvious conclusion about it's better to be an equalitary country than a rich country. And the statistics on poor equalitarian countries? Oh, they didn't count cause very few robots are collecting absurd data there.
The Hanauer one made a couple of points (rich people are not job creators the main one) and ended up with a standing ovation. And a couple of laughs, just in 5 minutes. TED: you are just being political correct with your rich clients, and you won't change that.
I'm glad you wrote this article.
TED supports terrorists like Rebecca McKinnon, who endorses shooting missiles at school buses. And when people tried to speak up against TED supporting Rebecca McKinnon, TED deleted their comments, even though her talk was about "censorship."
Something very very interesting happened at the last TEDSalon I attended last week and that was the standing ovation for a woman who is not a biophysicist-neuro-heartsurgeon-recovering Buddhist monk but just a regular citizen of a small town who made a difference. It was called Incredible Edible Todmorden and she is called Pam Warhurst.
What people at TED found refreshing about her was that she was authentic and normal and just like most of the folks we know. She and her fellow citizens in her village had changed and improved their everyday lives and made things better for their children as well.
She was showing us that ANY of us could make a difference and she did so by speaking with much enthusiasm.
THAT is a good TED talk.
better than the PhDs and the towers in the air scientists and elitist anything.
The reality is we in the West are living through difficult times and people are pretty "over" the elitism (unless they have decided to take sides and join the handful of folks who somehow forgot they are going to die like the rest of us one day no matter how much money they have made or cool stuff they have invented...RIP Steve Jobs?!)
Of all the speakers I have heard at various TED events, this woman seemed to be the happiest most sincere, and most...well...normal.
TED IS an elite event as it is expensive by most standards, but the knowledge shared there, and which can be shared to a wider public via the internet, IS important.
It is the sharing of this knowledge which has made TED a better event than when it was a smaller inaccessible group of mostly techie guys hanging out in Northern California for a few days.
The international flavor is fantastic, from Engineering schools in Tunisia holding TEDx events to the Pirate Party founder speaking...THAT is pretty revolutionary stuff.
Keep leading the way with no fear and TED will be what it was meant to be even before Chris Andersen bought it. It was founded to be on the leading edge, but also to stir up our minds...but we also have hearts and empathy (I hope) and perhaps even souls.
TED could do not better than to remember this.
I would also say that as TED also invites corporate sponsors to their events, they should inform the sponsors about what TED is, and have the sponsors accept they way TED should work, a free exchange of information...NOT vice versa.
If TED ever truly censors itself because of sponsors, then it has indeed lost its way.
But I don't think that is where we are yet.
The smart folks who attend TED want it to work.
The people behind TED have a lot of good will and should just make sure they do not lose that.
But it is precisely when there is a crises in an organization, or a change in someone's personal life, a loss, an upheaval, that things can become REALLY interesting.
attempting to blur the lines I see. an old trick. it's not Republican/Democrat anymore people... probably has never been. it's proletariat vs the party. the party comes in all shapes and sizes. same with the proletariat. it's especially disenfranchising to see some of my fellow proles fighting for the party.
I think this year's TEDGlobal should have an open mike panel to discuss this issue...now THAT would be interesting!
Way to go stupid white people!
I don't think people didn't like the talk because it was partisan, and I don't think that should be your excuse. TED hosts talks from very different political backings all the time, that's one of the great things about it. However, it is a very poorly delivered talk and although the subject matter is necessary and there SHOULD be talks posted about it, this guy was just incredibly boring and he was trying to follow a TED talk formula rather than being inventive.
Let's say, hypothetically, there was a country with two main political parties. One of the parties tried to largely stay fact-based, reasonable, responsible, and largely worked around the center of the political spectrum, particularly on economic issues. But the other party in this hypothetical situation was irresponsible, and intentionally ran off to the fringe - it positioned itself so far away from the center, that a "mid-way" compromise between the two would put you pretty far from the center. Let's also say that the irresponsible political party represented the interests of a tiny minority of wealthy citizens and trans-national corporations - a sadly all-too-common situation we see around the world.

Wouldn't this hypothetical country find itself in a situation where even a fairly centrist critique of the fringe party's policies appear to be "harshly partisan" simply because the party's policies were so off kilter? Wouldn't simply pointing out that this party was "irresponsible" or "extremist" or "avoiding commonly held facts" end up sounding "harshly partisan" even when they were true statements?

How could political discourse happen in this hypothetical country, unless some honest "partisan" statements were permitted?

Good thing we in the US aren't in such a situation!

Inequality issues are INHERENTLY partisan!!! Isn't that the definition of the issue??!!? He gave a very good, succinct, cogent presentation. Shame on TED for creating this controversy, then capitalizing on it by playing the "Who me? I'm innocent." card.


Chris, I specially like the ability to foresee that this will be called a set up by conspiracy theorists!! The video has received a stupendous response alright, but we stand by the values you have devoted yourself to. Please do what you have always done, TED keeps moving towards even greater possibilities!
I have seen enough poorly vetted, unqualified speakers in the last few years from TED to see a decline in credibility. So as someone already said.. I ain't buyin' it.

However, this is a great talk. Truthful, straight to the point and correct in the figures TED calls into question. What exactly is partisan about this? Nothing!Truth is not partisan! That TED sees truth as partisan calls into question their diminishing credibility.

this sounds like a lot of CYA blah blah. audience gave him standing ovation. to go by survey only sounds like classic selection bias. and quite simpleton sampling mistake. i think the authors have a novel economic framework that explains otherwise difficult to understand and mathematically provable macroeconomic principles.

it sounds like TED needs a better way to archive and show all videos. Because it's existing system of judging is obviously too plutocratic and does not accurately reflect what most people unable to pay many thousands to attend TED care about. And dare I say at this point, this whole blog post sounds elitist and small-minded.

I watched the 1st 10 seconds & switched it off. Why? Because the 'if you tax the rich there will be no jobs' line is clearly partisan.
Just post the "inequality" talk already. It is such an important and timely issue for you not to do it proves that you do indeed have an agenda. You should have MANY talks about income inequality, it's causes, effects, etc. Jackass.
Definitely a conspiracy set up. We never went to the moon.

I think the role of PR firm is interesting in this. Was he planning a media campaign on the back of the TED talk?

You were right to not include it, what was presented was an argument without solid research or presentation structure. It's not that this was undeserving of a spot, its just that there is so many more than deserved the spot on TED.

Please continue delivering the world really great ideas :)

Hey Chris could you get a talk up about The Barbara Streisand Effect ?


I hope this post gets picked up by more reporters. Thanks for clearing things up. Please try not to be discouraged by those eager to see conspiracies everywhere. Thanks for all the great work you do. TED talks have been very educational for me.
I would like to present my apologies for falling into this PR trap. And thank you for your unshaking stance.
Clearly a Reaganomics heretic. How dare he question trickle down Reaganomics now that we've had the better part of 30 years from which to witness and judge?

What was the effect of cutting taxes twice and invading Iraq and Afghanistan? What was the effect of de-regulating banks and allowing those banks to gamble by bundling and selling off rotting loans?

Let's give trickle down Reaganomics another try!

I love TED so this makes me sad. Its a total suck up to the perversity and corruption of American Culture. Shame on you TED.
TED's defense of not publishing this is disingenuous. You do not need to agree with this (though I do) but in a world facing economic armageddon, not publishing views on jobs creations is like burying your head in the sand and if you want to be neutral publish one from the other side, debate is good especially if it informs action, the problem is not about being a member of the Republican party (that is your choice should you chose to) but about not being engaged with the central concern of today
And the rest of the stuff, comparing with NYT or having a PR machine, it is all nonsense
Although, Ruchard's talk is indeed very insightful, there are several problems with conclusions, to be very honest. It seems to be an oversimplification to say that income equality is the most important thing for social well-being.
For example, take several countries that were omitted from the charts and look at Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

You will see that Singapore is not at all equal in terms of income. But they are still very high in most rankings, such as life expectancy. Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Greece and Czech Republic on the other hand are very equal in terms of income. But are they really doing so well on all the measures that are mentioned in the talk? Why are not they compared to the US?

Maybe income equality is not the only factor affecting our well-being after all?

It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one.

If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down.

This idea is an article of faith for republicans and seldom challenged by democrats and has shaped much of today's economic landscape.

But sometimes the ideas that we know to be true are dead wrong. For thousands of years people were sure that earth was at the center of the universe. It's not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some lousy astronomy.

In the same way, a policy maker who believed that the rich and businesses are "job creators" and therefore should not be taxed, would make equally bad policy.

I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

That's why I can say with confidence that rich people don't create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is a "circle of life" like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.

So when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it's a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it's the other way around.

Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalists course of last resort, something we do only when increasing customer demand requires it. In this sense, calling ourselves job creators isn't just inaccurate, it's disingenuous.

That's why our current policies are so upside down. When you have a tax system in which most of the exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.

Since 1980 the share of income for the richest Americans has more than tripled while effective tax rates have declined by close to 50%.

If it were true that lower tax rates and more wealth for the wealthy would lead to more job creation, then today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet unemployment and under-employment is at record highs.

Another reason this idea is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the median American, but we don't buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, we go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

I can't buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can't buy any new clothes or cars or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the vast majority of American families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.
Here's an incredible fact. If the typical American family still got today the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would earn about 25% more and have an astounding $13,000 more a year. Where would the economy be if that were the case?

Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as "job creators" at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from "job creator" to "The Creator". We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a "job creator" is both an assertion about how economics works and the a claim on status and privileges.

The extraordinary differential between a 15% tax rate on capital gains, dividends, and carried interest for capitalists, and the 35% top marginal rate on work for ordinary Americans is a privilege that is hard to justify without just a touch of deification

We've had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an eco-systemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.

So here's an idea worth spreading.

In a capitalist economy, the true job creators are consumers, the middle class. And taxing the rich to make investments that grow the middle class, is the single smartest thing we can do for the middle class, the poor and the rich.

Thank You.

The reason why this talked was discussed as being censored is because of the partisan explanation. It sounds like the speaker put both GOP and Democrats in the same category of being responsible, either due to acts of omission, of this policies. So in this sense, the talk fails to be partisan.

Or is it partisan because of its content? Not in terms of US political parties, but in ideological terms? Is the challenge to the idea of low taxes for rich people increases the economy considered partisan?

Have we truly come to the point where any challenge to the status quo on tax policy is considered partisan discourse? Even when it is the rich themselves talking about it? Has low taxes on the rich become so ingrained that talking about the unfairness and failure of the idea is considered taboo? Bad taste? Not appropriate for TED?

This refusal to share this idea is stranger when its basic logic is rooted on the most basic of economic ideas: supply and demand. Or is talking about supply and demand also partisan now?

A better explanation would be that people didn't like it. An explanation that becomes bizarre when you see people standing up and clapping at the end of his speech.

Let me say that overall, I love TED's work, and I will still watch your videos. You do a good service to our society. We don't have to agree all the time to acknowledge that.
1. it's a short talk
2. he is right with what he is saying (the money of the rich has to be spend / invested in order to create jobs ... taxing the rich and investing that money therefore can create jobs). The only way for the rich not to be taxed is by spending that money and investing it. Currently the opposite is the case, less taxes, less jobs. Very simple and straight to he point
3. fits the categories for TED perfectly
4. Mrs. Huffington held a TED talk about the importance of taking a regular nap. Is that an idea worth spreading?

I think this one is.

And yet by accusing what Mr. Hanauer said as being overly partisan you and the others who censored it, Mr. Anderson, were the ones engaging in partisanship behavior. You refused to challenge the status quo argument of the GOP..you refused to allow someone to challenge this nonsense argument that lowering taxes on the rich leads to job creation.

So the real question is why? Because it isn't the reasons you claimed. That much is obvious.

For whatever it's worth, I agree that it's a nothing talk. I think the thesis is important and clearly correct and needs to be shouted from every rooftop, but the conclusion (people need to be encouraged to buy more garbage in order to save the world) is absurd.

I probably wouldn't post it to the public, either, especially with an enormous library to choose from. A few posted talks are, I think, worse (for a non-exclusive example, the artists who narrate their work instead of talking about it--"I wanted to show X, so I made this work where you can clearly see X"), but not many.

That said, I really like the idea of posting the full archive. There can be gems even in the material nobody seems to care about. (Also, I've been watching one or two a day in reverse-chronological order while I get ready for work, and I'm just a couple of months away from the first talk, so such a large influx of material would be great.)

@ John:

He is not talking about buying garbage.

He is talking about increasing taxes of the rich -> more jobs by the government (if they spend the taxes) which could be teachers or more private jobs (if the government is lowering the taxes for the middle class) which could be any kind of jobs -> therefore: higher taxes for the rich = more jobs.

It's an idea worth spreading.

He is not a very charismatic speaker ...

I am disappointed in Chris Anderson's response to Nick Hanauer's Talk. Nick's talk was an important "idea WORTH sharing" and comes at a crucial time to share it. In Europe the austerity programs have caused unemployment to reach 25% in some countries with 50% unemployment among the youth. Rhetoric is everywhere. Where does truth get a platform if not by Ted Talks? Nick did not engage in sassy "back biting squawk” as we see every day on Fox. What is wrong with a voice of sanity from a billionaire more than qualified to present a truth what could help our economy?
Well - it seems there really is no such thing as bad press. The talk is basic economics and brings nothing new to the issue of inequality. And - on that point - is it really about inequality? He concludes by advocating for an economic model that is good for the rich, the middle class and the poor - so his vision is of an unequal society then of haves and haves not?
I remember the first talk I heard from TED - and how amazing and powerful that experience was. Since then I continue to stumble up and have the privilege of listening to others. Thank you for NOT initially posting this video. The last thing TED needs to become is some blatant political mechanism where assertions without substance can win the day. I do agree politically with what this guy is saying - but I personally would have liked to have a substantive Ahah moment, rather than just an emotional one. Thank you for maintaining your integrity Ted. All the best!
God save us from the timid pearl-clutchers.
This is not an overly partisan talk. It is basic economics , but it is economics most Americans have forgot or choose to ignore. I think the audience loved it, I loved , it is important and TED should have picked it up. I have seen many talks on TED, some were better, many were worse than this. This is a speech that is simple straight-forward and very important for our society. It is hard for me to believe that some kind of censorship was not involved, whether it was from advertisers or you own personal beliefs is not really relevant. What disappoints me still is that TED choose to ignore something so important for our society. I have grown to respect TED immensely over the years, but this episode has undercut that respect. That it was so out of character from what I and most people expected from TED is what made the reaction so strong. Not some conspiracy or the speaker's egoism. The above blog post perpetuates the loss of faith in TED. It makes the valid reaction of millions of TED viewers seem petty and unfounded, and fosters the toxic climate TED supposedly wants to avoid. I hope that TED will learn from this mistake and redouble its efforts to live up to the values of openness, honesty, and love of knowledge, that I have come to expect from TED.
partisan? if the parties are: Rich and NotRich.
Um, this is not a case of censorship. There is no obligation on TED to disseminate this talk and there is no limitation on the speaker to express himself. The speaker is free to go elsewhere to make his argument. If TED were the only place where the speaker's views could be heard and distributed, TED would have a moral obligation to do it regardless of the topic.

HOWEVER, TED has a mighty enormous megaphone. To have TED disseminate your talk is a tacit acknowledgment of legitimacy and worthiness. Perhaps this is not a good thing. Perhaps there should be a place where smart people who are not well connected or professors should have a place to get this kind of attention because TED is making editorial decisions not unlike the kind that David Gregory or Rupert Murdock might make.

"With great power comes great responsibility" In this case, TED has failed a moral test, not a constitutional one. To the people screaming "censorship", maybe it's time we created a CAROL, BOB and ALICE.

(Don't feel bad if you didn't get it. It was slightly before my time too)

Just to let you know, as many did, "partisan" does not mean anything. Partisan is a weasel word that means one does not agree with something. Reject the talk based on quality, but don't use empty words like that.
Maybe if we all start tweeting about what a PITA these comment notification emails are... I already sent emails. #PosterousNeedsToChillTheFuckOut
According to the National Journal article, "TED organizers invited [...] Nick Hanauer".

IF that is true (I don't know and TED's reaction doesn't address this point) then it was at the very least incredibly impolite not to post his talk - regardless of its contents.

I would expect nothing less than this CYA move by a closed group of uber-privileged like TED. I read the talk. There was nothing too partisan about it, but I bet it left that group pretty shaken by the concept that they should share the power and the wealth, and they were not, after all, masters of the universe. The truth hurts, and the evidence is all over the handling of this story.
Dear TED

I'm an enormous fan, who at this point can barely stand any aspect of the media's talking-head, partisan nonsense. I am not a fan of Oprah, but I once heard her say something that applies here. When she was young, she used to bring people she didn't like, such as neo-Nazis, onto her show. Her reasoning was journalistic objectivity. Those shows were always a disaster. Eventually she realized that those folks just shouldn't be on the air and if she put them on her show, her show would become awful.

I would strongly encourage you to stick to your initial instincts and keep your site a place for the BEST talks, not an archive of ALL talks. The peanut gallery will always find a place online and in the media to shout its case. Right now TED means the best talks, not 'the place where everybody gets a say.' I am a fan of TED because its the best. It has been said that all evil needs to triumph is for good to do nothing. I put it this way, all stupidity and cynicism need to triumph is for smart people to give them air time.

I didn't accuse TED or it's staff of being tools of the Republicans, but posted over at the TED site that the way it was handled gave the appearance that the talk was censored due to touching a political third rail. The problem of income equality is sourced in a series of political assumptions that are widely accepted within both major parties in the US. Just like Michael Moore said, the US Eagle has two right wings (the Democratic and Republican parties) and no left wing.

Corporate America through the US Chamber of Commerce, some of which sponsor TED online, are in a continuous political and idealogical warfare over social policies, public investment, taxation and the commonwealth and have been since before R S Wurman started TED. They have mounted a direct frontal assault on Public Broadcasting which continues to this very day and will not be happy until PBS is a 24 hour wrestling channel with 20 minutes of advertising every hour.

The simple fact is that income inequality is the result of political decisions and ideologies that have changed the pattern of taxation, public investment and budget priorities in the US and elsewhere. It is a human sourced problem and can be fixed by humans- exactly what the TED talks point toward. The fact that it is controversial should not cause it to be silenced. In some cultures not wearing a head covering is controversial and in much of the US teaching evolution is approaching that.

If the talk is an honest presentation and bites presumptions- then so be it. I am tired of censorship in the name of bipartisanship in all things. Some things are self evident in their being wrong and the top 1% having more than the bottom 50% is certainly one prime example. It is indefensible regardless of faith, politics or whatever. It's just unquenched greed.

what he said should be heard. tedtalks = deadtalks imo, you're losing our interest.

specifically yesterday'sn Nick Hanauer / TED debacle.

Since a lot of people take issue with TED's use of the word "partisan" in defense of their actions, we should take a second to review its definition. "Partisan", when used as an adjective, implies prejudice in favor of a particular cause. In the U.S. we generally equate this word with prejudice in favor of a particular political party because that's how we use it 99% of the time.

So, let's say for the sake of argument, that TED is employing the former definition rather than the latter; is the talk partisan? Yes, the speaker fervently supports an increase in taxes on the wealthy; there is no question about his opinion. The question is then, does this even matter? Unfortunately, unless we strip away all doubt about the veracity of the data referenced and the causal link he implies taxes have on income distribution, it does.

What this talk needs is 15 minutes, not 5; and an economist, not a buisness man or political pundit. The health of a given financial economy is determined by far more than the distrubition of wealth. And though I agree with the speaker at first blush, the intellectual in me demands a better argument: more data, more comparitive analysis with other economies, more supporting research for his argument about a "feedback loop between consumers and businesses".

This guy gives a strong, short and sweet and simple message, using simple language to the audience. We need more simplicity, to break it down to people who don't embrace complexity, and thus provide simple messages once in a while. Flawed? peace out!
"We only care about one thing: finding the best speakers and the best ideas we can, and sharing them with the world. For free. I've devoted the rest of my life to doing this, and honestly, it's pretty disheartening to have motives and intentions taken to task so viciously by people who simply don't know the facts."

Aw, poor public figure.

Mr. Anderson, you seem to think you're the second coming of Stewart Brand.

You're not.

Forget the topic for a second. This article admits that TED decides what ideas are worth spreading.

I don't care about headbutting... I've grown used to living in an environment like that because I understand it won't change.

James Harrington and Montesquieu have shown us that diverse debate is a good thing, and I would much rather have perpetual arguments than have a small group cherry-pick what is worth sharing. Non-diverse ideologies give actual political power to bias, which is one of the few things I would dare to call objectively evil.

If TED is in the business of filtering content, I can't say I have much faith in the organization's value in the long term. There is no "magnificent debate" when someone controls what arguments are heard.

I used to love TED. Now I don't.

mr anderson you have nancy brinker(ceo komen for the cure) yourself...must you insist on digging a deeper hole like she did...you have become a NON PROFIT corporatised marketing/branding machine who obviously found threatening this man's very accessible lecture that spoke truth to all the bs being fed to the masses... too much of a threat to your sponsors and your self satisfied elite who pay 6000 a year to join your club ...it is beyond obvious had he not been so credible ,accessible and spoke obvious truths... to many who may not have understood a more complex explanation ... i bet this would have been posted...
it wasn't that it was so 'bad' it was that it was too true and too understandable
Excellent talk. The standing ovation seemed to indicate that the TED audience also thought it was excellent. Mr. Anderson, a little humility is in order. You made a wrong decision, fess up to it, apologize, and put more talks like this on TED.
I admire the mission of TED. They have some of the smartest people giving some of the smartest talks on the internet. When there is so little 'bad' to choose from, choosing from the good is ten fold more difficult. But in the end, it's their website, they're their conferences, it's their stage and it is their decision. If you want to hear every TEDtalk, go to the conferences. When did people become so arrogant as to apply the idea of 'democracy' to a person or organization? That's what ratings are for.

Chris, keep on spreading what you like. I, for one, will be watching.

The reason this is so important is that public discussion MUST embrace controversial material as long as it is presented in a way that is verifiable and in a respectful manner. If we are not willing to listen to opposing ideas, difficult truths and uncomfortable challenges to the status quo we as a species are in deep trouble.

The fact that human created problems can usually be solved by humans is a chord that resonates deeply within many TED presentations. The very hyper-partisan nature of our national politics is something that needs to be addressed and soon. How do you reach a reasonable solution with someone who will not compromise is a nasty problem, but that is exactly what has derailed our political system these days.

At this point I no longer expect the profit-chasing mainstream media to handle controversial affairs honestly and openly. When hundreds of thousands peacefully protested Bush's elective invasion of Iraq in NYC and got little coverage I knew there was no fairness or balance to any of the commercial media channels in the USA. However, I hoped and hope that some forum can exist where presumptions and preconceived notions be damned and the truth and those that seek it rule.

Maybe TED is not the place for such things to be presented per RSWs original purpose, but if they are not addressed nothing discussed at TED will ever come to fruition.

He presented a talk based on opinion. The data seems correlated so he claims causality. He chooses an alternative solution that is supported by non sequiturs about astronomy, pants and squirrels. Everyone already has an opinion about what he is talking about, but rather than trying to convince them, he just repeats the idea, trying to slant it in a good light.

He is not stating a new idea.

I like TED talks that make me think, or make me excited about the ideas I've heard. This felt like a boring preachy 5 minute sales pitch of what he thinks the government should do.

This is quality control, not ideological censorship. Chris was very clear that they only post one talk a day despite having over 10000 every year. TED has posted the video so you can see what you missed.

Thank you TED for maintaining high standards. Don't let yourself be bullied.

What exactly is "partisan" about this talk?
I didn't perceive his talk to be overly partisan and he did make some good points - many that I, and many others, have already made for months.

BUT: Like spiderdave already said, the ideas were not new and the entire talk lacked the dynamic I have come to expect from TED. It didn't inspire me to want to learn nor did it make me want to rush out and do something about it.

Again, like dave said, "This is quality control, not ideological censorship."

i have taken this position in the past on my website where the idea may have originated.

And it's true beyond dispute- both as a point of logic and as per the data.

Warren Mosler

@dave & lila: In this context, "quality control" is a euphemism.

There's a difference between showing only original content and selecting what original content makes the cut. I thought TED did only the former. The latter would not bother me much if the topic was not political. Since it was, I consider filtering arguments an attack on an ideology. The quality of the arguments is not on trail here, since unreliable information is just a fact of life.

Selecting political arguments to present is an attack on quality discourse. If you can decide what arguments are appropriate (stupid or not), you pave the way for ideological bias to gain political power. Its a very simple concept.

Conservatives' idea of 'profoundly partisan' ANYTHING that uses the word 'republican' in any negative way, even if it is merely stating that 'x' is an article of faith for republicans (when it is) and that 'x' is problematic or wrong (when it is). there is NOTHING partisan in this it is merely factual.

i guess also saying that with lower taxes 'the rich get richer' is your idea of really bad ideas.

i guess also the applause interruptions are your ideas of a tepid responce.

thanks TED, for your manipulated, sound good words that when compared to the reality of this actual talk, actually serve to further support this speakers' points about you.

Regardless of why you didn't post the talk, you should have more openly communicated about why you didn't post it. This would have prevented the chaos. Blame Reddit and Internet vigilantism all you want, but one thing: Internet folks these days, as I'm sure you've learned, LOVE transparency in any way they can find it.
@Sage: Sadly, the content is not original and the delivery was weak. If I had to choose from 10,000 plus talks a year and post the best 365, this would not make my cut either, and I agree whole-heartedly with Mr. Hanauer.

I have viewed many TED talks and find the idea of political censorship to be laughable. If that were the case, many talks I have seen would never have been posted.

@Lila: My point is that you should not get to decide what gets posted. I'm big on the whole "free speech" thing. Read John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty".

From: Posterous <
Thank you for explaining your and TED position. I happened to disagree with your judgement of talk, but I fully support your right to do editorial judgement.
However, there IS a significant BS factor on the TED side here. The issue of income inequality is being characterized as "too partisan"- well, guess the f*** what, fool- it IS partisan because you have a TINY segment of the population spending STAGGERING sums of money to essentially control the entire political process to their benefit. OF COURSE it's going to be "partisan". The French Revolution was "partisan", too- ignore the issue and you're apt to get a VERY partisan haircut. TED is yet another silly pointless sop to self-appointed, self-righteous "innovators" whose vast array of technological garbage does little to mitigate their fundamental greed and self serving b*llsh*t.
@Austin: So what you are expecting is for TED to list all talks and explain why all the rejects were rejected for posting? Seriously? Will you also expect the Washington Post of the New York Times to explain why every rejected Letter to the Editor was rejected?

Honestly, if TED were going to censor the guy, TED would have prevented him from going on stage in the first place. Mr. Hanauer wasn't censored - he gave his talk to a live audience and was taped. It just so happens his talk didn't make the cut.

The problem I see here is that Mr. Hanauer expected to be posted and in anticipation he prematurely hired a PR firm to promote it. Now he's throwing a temper tantrum. It seems to have worked because now it's in youtube.


From: Posterous [mailto:

I really appreciate TED talks, has become a really important forum for ideas to be dispersed. I would have liked to hear what were considered unconvincing or poorly supported arguments.
@Lila: Censorship is often reactive, not proactive.

If TED chooses to not select a political argument, they have every right to do that. But having the right to do something means being responsible for that choice. TED put itself in a position to be held accountable.

Now, if someone submits something to TED and they are refused, they are effectively being told their idea is not worth spreading. That can be incredibly insulting to anything remotely partisan, even if TED was not partisan itself. You would throw a tantrum too if you were denied the opportunity to spread ideas you found valuable.

Chris, we have the power of X...and we are a big fire, very very difficult to extinguish. No worries. orver and out, let´s keep up our good work.
A "mediocre" talk that received a standing ovation. Who you gonna believe?
This has nothing to do with partisanship or the issues Hanauer brings up in the talk. And it certainly has NOTHING to do with censorship. TED didn't prevent Hanauer from giving his (I agree, mediocre) talk. TED just didn't choose to promote it the way it has promoted some, but by no means all, other talks. Mr. Hanauer is a self-aggrandizing crybaby, not a victim of "censorship" in any way, shape or form. TED can pick and choose who it promotes on the homepage and they have done so in the past. Other people besides Mr. Hanuaer have not had their talks promoted to the front page. Mr. Hanauer's ego got damaged when TED refused to do the same for him, and instead of taking it as a learning experience, he got butthurt and started crying about censorship to cope with his disappointment. Sad and childish. But there you have it. Hang in there, TED folks!
First: TED can't possibly post every talk given.
Second: TED most certainly gets to choose what gets posted on their site.

Don't even begin to lecture me on free speech. I've been exercising my right to free speech for many decades now, and I hope to for a few more. That doesn't mean I have a right to have my opinions posted on any website I want. If that were the case, Rush Limbaugh's site would be full of my invective.

Mr. Hanauer also has that right to free speech and he exercised it. Had TED wanted to censor him, they wouldn't have given him the opportunity to present in the first place. Unfortunately, as much as I agree with the man, his talk was uninspiring and unoriginal. There have been and will be far better.

Well, I have read response to some journals who were arguing that you cannot handle inequality because "it is too hot" for you. It was a fair response but frankly, I think this video did not have lower quality than the other ones that you publish everyday!
So either those journals were right or you have to be more picky about others videos which are going to publish as well

"First: TED can't possibly post every talk given."

No, but it can have more ethical criteria.

"Don't even begin to lecture me on free speech. I've been exercising my right to free speech for many decades now, and I hope to for a few more. That doesn't mean I have a right to have my opinions posted on any website I want."

That is one of the funniest things I have ever read. "I have free speech, so don't say that!"

Seriously, telling others to not say something based on your own criteria of quality? I can see why you sympathize with TED.

I think you need a lecture. Read this: http://www.usconstitution.net/onliberty.html

It's a partisan issue to the core. Though a blurry line, but ultimately you've got the party of equality and science versus the party of religion and big business.

This is what Chris Anderson has said:

"But even if the talk was rated a home run, we couldn't release it, because it would be unquestionably regarded as out and out political. We're in the middle of an election year in the US. Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party. And you even reference that at the start of the talk. TED is nonpartisan and is fighting a constant battle with TEDx organizers to respect that principle...."

@Chris --- what percentage of good ratings did Nick H. receive? How many other speakers have been withheld from being posted online? What precisely did Nick H. say that was too partisan or divisive? I believe TED provides the viewing public with a number of excellent viewpoints that differ from one another... so what happened here? The talk is not partisan, the crowd applauded him (I can see in the video, it was a standing ovation.)

I'm just trying to understand.

Reading the comments to the talk, which I have watched, is that evidence of a lot of filtering is going on. The ghettoization of media and political thought in America has a lot to do with the inability of our nation to move forward- everybody retreats to comfortable websites and media and puts up a hand when anyone challenges their notions.
I didn't think the talk was partisan, either, because it was mostly data-driven.

If the numbers he used are accurate then they can't be partisan - they are just numbers.

I found the numbers in TED's response a little vague - what percentage of the conference talks are NOT posted? Presumably at 365 a year you have space to post all the conference talks and some of the TEDx talks. What's the failure rate of conference talks?

TED's "explanation" is condescending and wildly irrelevant. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Shame on you. All you did was reveal a very ideological and just plain wrong perspective. Hanauer's talk was right at the top of the most special epiphanies of our time. It is so clear in it's simplicity that it explodes a long unquestioned paradigm that has been impeding societal progress in the modern "liberal economics" world ruled by the idiocy of Milton Friedman and others for years. It is as if suddenly we realize the world is really not flat. You people are full of crap.
I like to think I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I think it *was* a set-up. To be clear, not by TED. TED was just one of the tools. I have to say, the PR firm this guy hired is genius. Although, mayhaps a bit slimy for how willing and eager they were to throw TED under the publicity bus.
So you didn't to put the talk up because it made the Republicans angry? Do all the talks you post have to go through some kind of filter to make sure they conform to some kind of neutral political tone? What about talks on other subjects that have become increasingly political? Are those going to be censored or watered down to make sure they don't step on anyone's toes?
Speakers at TED are not guaranteed a video on their website. It is interesting to note though that while he may buy no more pants than the average American, the wealthy do stimulate job creation in ways us lowly plebs do not; I, for example, have never hired a PR department to complain to and threaten a company for not publishing a video that they did not say they were going to publish.

I can see how my phrasing was incongruous, but I suspect you got my meaning. Your condescending comment, "I'm big on the whole "free speech" thing. Read John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty".", says to me that you don't think I know or care about it and that I need a lesson on free speech. You know nothing about me and your presumption is insulting.

Are you always so obtuse or do you pretend to not understand in order to continue an argument?

1. TED did not censor the man. He spoke on stage in front of a live audience during a TED conference.

2. TED did not select his talk to be highlighted on their website because it lacked inspiration and originality.

3. I did not say he couldn't speak because he lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Just like anyone else, Mr. Hanauer can say whatever he wants; however, just like everyone else, he is not guaranteed a prime spot on the TED website. Neither are the 9635+ others who were not selected, or do you plan to complain that they were censored as well?

As an uninvolved observer new to this site:
It seems like you did editorialize irrespective of the truth, effectiveness, or popularity of the content. Your explanation is not credible, or enlightened to the subject matter or its implications.

I find what the others did here, that the work is not partisan in any sense except your site's support of useless "fairness as usual", which is not really very fair at all. Each day the media recycles concepts that are not only toxic, they are based on the degenerate notion that no one can read the same thing one year or era to the next and remember what is being done to them. The media has beaten the middle class and poor into a coma with irrelevant talking points and false premises.

I have an article from a fairly conservative local paper that is from the Clinton era... its title (with good research and data) "The Poor are Getting Poorer"... the gap is nothing new, it has been happening for a long time.

It is maybe the measure of your ineffectiveness at arguing this and otherwise keeping this cycle of amnesiac sameness in play. You should be ashamed of yourself for not being 'more' partisan...

Well, time to get rid of the old guard, even on the internet....


What was partisan about this talk?
TED has plenty to wrestle with as far as what to publish. This is definitely not a piece that should be part of the struggle. There are better talks on income inequality and creating equitable and sustainable societies.

It's a silly scandal really, we're all on the same side of the inequality issue. Hope this blows over quickly.

@TED there may come an idea some day that is massively controversial. That TED would be scorned if they published. That idea, as controversial as it may be, will need a hero. Please don't ever publish or not publish out of fear of retaliation or worry of how a talk will be received.

@Karina hahaha! Big hearts, much love.

Can you please take me off this list? I had no idea that my mailbox would continually fill up with emails about this. I have tried to block you but somehow the mail keep coming in.<o:p></o:p>

Frank Totino<o:p></o:p>

From: Posterous [mailto:

This is a nightmare. People are fighting about politics in my inbox and nothing I send to Posterous makes it stop.
I am curious about PR firm that contacted the media on behalf of Mr. Hanauer - because I work for a business that had a similar experience with a PR firm, representing a different client (not Mr. Hanauer), this winter. They threatened us with media exposure if we did not give their client a certain kind of treatment, treatment that we were not obligated to provide. If anyone has that info, please share it! Thanks!


FOR F**KS SAKE, give us a way out of this Madness.

While I've already expressed my thoughts on the TED issue, and the continuing discussion is somewhat fascinating.

It IS still EATING my Inbox. I work for a frakkin' living.

I briefly considered using Posterous SPACES as a platform for online discussions, but not giving casual participants ANY way to control notifications is just inviting the ire and searing flames of any online community I would ever want to interact with.

I even went so far as to SIGN UP for a Posterous account in an effort to somehow to get some F***king control over this... but no joy.

You'll see my business... NEVER.

(From Google)
A strong supporter of a party, cause, or person.
Prejudiced in favor of a particular cause.

Job creator? More like THE Creator! Know what I mean folks?

He sounds more like he's trying to get people to vote for him than trying to spread worthwhile ideas. It's not the content that is partisan, but the presentation. Chris said that in his post above.

Again, what's partisan about that? The claim that an economy with a high Gini coefficient exhibits slower growth than a similar economy with a lower GIni coefficient isn't a partisan claim. Making a joke about the widely expressed belief that inequality grows an economy through job creation, without evidence--and with plenty of evidence to the contrary--that refers to religious belief, to faith, is something that is objectively false isn't particularly partisan.
That's true. However, comparing his proposed solution to the current model of the solar system is a partisan statement. Claiming that the opponents of his idea are likening themselves to gods is a partisan statement.
Okay, so low taxes for the wealthy is bad for the economy. That's all fine and good. He has spun that fact to make it seem like the middle class are job creators, and that idea is not supported by anything he says except for squirrel analogies.

Even if his idea does make sense, he has presented it in a biased way, as if it is the null hypothesis.

What about this speech was partisan? While I certainly believe there is no conspiracy behind this whole debacle, I have to wonder why this particular speech had such a negative impression on you. It seems no more opinionated than any other TED speech I've watched in the past.
Mediocre talk? He got a standing ovation! And where was the partisanship? As already mentioned, republicans and democrats were mentioned... Once. How is that partisan? Granted the slides were awful, but how is this not an idea worth spreading? Lame dude, totally lame...
While I know TEDs intent is not debate, it is intended to provoke thought. Accordingly, I think TED should consider bringing in a quality speaker to discuss the opposite point of view -- for the edification of TEDs own followers that were so quick to condemn TED for failing to post this incredibly mediocre and sophomoric video. There are plenty of very rational people concerned with reducing income disparity that believe increased taxes will do more harm than good. There also plenty of significantly more intelligent arguments than Hanauer's against that point. TED needs a Keynes and Hayek level of thinker on these topics; that would be more in the spirit of TED and help to make followers think, instead of quarrel over one bad video.
You're not convincing anyone Chris. Pointing out facts isn't partisan. And anyway, is allowing people who can afford the $7,500 price of entry to decide whether a talk promoting taxing the rich and questioning their actual economic contribution a good way to decide the quality of a talk?





Perhaps the point is...if cutting taxes for the rich leads to more jobs for others, then where are the Jobs? Bush cut taxes for the rich in his first term and all his spending was paid for with borrowed money. Shouldn't those taxes have led to a surge in employment and govt spending balance rather than deep recession?

If cutting taxes for the rich is not good for the broader economy, or if it is, then shouldn't that be getting discussed more than it is given the significance of the issue to policy?

I suspect that the US Govt & State debt is so dire and so threatening that the US people and body politic should assert the overriding need to resolve the problem over 10 by raising taxes and _rational and efficient_ investment in infrastructure and education to raise employment and standards and pay off the debt. During those 10 years there should be a national debate about how the Govt and State should be administered thereafter.

The rich are not immune from the troubles of a wounded society.

Chris, I do believe that your initial decision not to publish Nick Hanauer’s talk on job creation was at least subconsciously ideologically driven. I am glad that the talk was finally posted. As a business owner of three companies for more than 20 years, I agree completely with the ideas presented succinctly by Nick Hanauer in his talk.

The argument that you made in your emails to Hanauer that this talk was too political is just wrong. That you perceive it that way is the best example of the problem. One side pays for talking heads to repeat lies over and over again misrepresenting basic economic principals. A concerted effort has been carried out to take advantage of the social psychological tendency of humans to believe something if it is repeated often by leaders or perceived experts. This slick phrase that "if taxes on the rich go up, 'job creation' will go down", has been repeated so often (beginning about a year ago) that its very repetition tricks the human mind into believing its truthfulness.

Like Hanauer, I am suspicious that the phrase 'job creators' was most likely carefully chosen after psychological testing by information 'messaging consultants' (propagandists) like Frank Luntz. The 'job creators' campaign was a concerted coordinated effort to re-package trickle-down economic arguments that history shows clearly do not work.

The other (factually truthful) argument that job creation results directly from increased demand that Hanauer makes in his talk, does not get heard very often or clearly coming from credible experts. Hanauer presents his factual information and then his conclusions (as an opinion) in a clear and concise way from the perspective of a credible expert. As a company owner, I have seen the same things. His background as a capitalist is what makes his message so dangerous to the vested interests that have funded the ‘special tax treatment for the investor class’ propaganda for so long.

Income is income, whether made through wage work or by managing investments. I would argue that it is just as risky to invest ones intellectual capital and prime labor years at a company that can layoff at will as it is for a capitalist to put his financial capital at risk. There should be no tax preference for risking one type of resource over the other.

Contrary to the assertion in your emails to Hanauer, this information is not widely seen in the mainstream media. Most of the people who fall for the 'job creator misinformation are not college educated in economics and the fundamental idea of the positive economic cycle that Hanauer attempts to explain. Certainly the talk was brief, but people have short attention spans.

Yes, there are gaps in making the argument fully refuting the capitalist apologist arguments ('productivity gains were largely technologically enabled”, “access to investment capital is required to start up new ventures", etc.) but the basic argument that lower taxes spur job creation (and implicitly job creation benefiting America's vast pool of under-educated and wrongly-trained workers) is patently false for a number of reasons.

Capitalists’ investments won’t create the kind of jobs that typical Americans are likely to fill. They’ll invest with people like me who have advanced education/training or experience or ‘mad computer development skills’. They will invest in the idea creators who don’t already have access to capital. New businesses may need additional employees, but again, most Americans currently looking for work will not be able to fill those positions. As a real job creator, I manage the operations of two companies and hire all key personnel myself. For twenty years, my companies’ biggest constraints have been access to intellectual capital - in other words - people with critical thinking abilities and sufficient academic training in math and science to do the work required. The US ranks 25th in math and science educational attainment. There are 24 countries where capitalists can find better workers for the technology driven economic activities of today!

Second tier jobs in successful start-up ventures funded by capitalists are unlikely to be filled by the many Americans currently unemployed. Production jobs will be similarly filled overseas. Jobs growth for them will likely only occur when demand for basic goods and services increases. That increased demand will be met mostly by established producing companies. New jobs will appear only after the economic opportunity provided by the increased demand increases enough so that those companies will be forced to hire additional workers.

Part of the problem involves exactly what Hanauer says, as a nation we don’t invest our capital wisely. We need to invest in ‘infrastructure’ which broadly includes education and the means to effectively deliver it, among other publicly funded improvements to our national efficiency (transportation, energy, etc.). These investments serve the dual purposes of putting resources in the hands of those who will spend on real goods and services while improving the conditions for future productivity at a national level. The current taxation system does neither by keeping resources concentrated in the hands of the super rich and corporations who, lacking real tangible productive investments, have to resort to what are essentially gambling activities such as the trading bets made by the financial services industry, or putting capital into cyclic speculative bubbles such as real estate, credit instruments, oil and gas drilling, etc.

A robust discussion of these ideas is essential and the TED platform is entirely appropriate.

Not good enough, Chris. But thanks for causing a national discussion by mistake. Good job.

The discussion is not really about inequity; it's about the simple economic reality that consumerism fuels industry and if people can't buy things then an industry based economy will fall apart. I think that's been well demonstrated here in the US.

I've now tried emailing Posterous and Rackspace, Posterous' hosts, about this and there's been nothing.

I suggest forwarding this stuff to abuse@rackspace.com and abuse@posterous.com to see if anything happens.

Thank you for sharing the back story. It is clear now that this guy's behaving like an attention clamoring dbag.
I didn't find the talk at all partisan. But it certainly wasn't the usual inspiring and enlightening talks we are used to from you. I found it completely boring and unengaging.

I've heard Nick and others say similar things before so the information isn't new. In addition, I've never heard another TED speaker say "I" or "me" as many times as Nick did - even in talks that were four times as long. In fact, I could not watch to the end.

So thank you for censoring us from the boring and self-indulgent. Keep up the good work.

I guess we should stop with TED altogether... it turns out that even "science" itself has become increasingly partisan with "climate change skeptics" and "creationists". In a country where "partisan" means applying reasoning, critical thinking and lopgic I guess we should just throw it all away... it's all just too controversial. Maybe TED can focus on cute cats and ladies fashion instead.
What a f'ing joke. I used to be a huge TED admirer, but this blows and Chris Anderson is just another blowhard.
Given what I know about TED, this seems like a reasonable reply from Anderson. Either way, just like American Idol, everybody wins at this stage. Anderson has a few more bruises, but the site's getting more hits and millionaire partisan guy, is waaaaaay more well known than he was before. Everybody gets a record contract in the end. It's up to them how they'll manage their 15 minutes from this point onward.

I think it behooves us, "the masses," as it were, to remember that there are people making the best decisions they know how. Can you imagine what life would be like if some or a lot of our choices, both public and private, were scrutinized and commented on by millions? Presidents and presidential candidates are flawed humans just like millionaires, leaders of non-profs, corporations and more. It doesn't mean that we don't say something when we see something important to respond to. But it might mean that an apple is really just an apple. Sometimes subtext is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

I can totally understand the desire, no matter what my politics, to avoid plunging into an horrific, endless, pointless partisan debate on TED. The partisan "dialogue," if you can even call it that, is lousy in this country. There are no bridges, only walls and accusations fanned by both sides of the issue using the media to split Americans even farther apart. I'm deeply concerned by the divide in this country and think we should all be very careful how we each contribute it.

TED is a fantastic site and service and I think it's making the world a more educated, informed, aware and interesting place.

This explanation is transparent nonsense. The talk was not partisan, it was not contentious, and it sure as heck wasn't mediocre or boring. It was challenging, which is something the comfortable don't really like all that much. Perhaps this explains the sniffing dismals I've seen above. Like it or not, Nick Hanauer is right. Whether he's arrogant or self-promoting is external to the argument.
@spiderdave, The middle class are job creators. Their aggregate demand is far more determinant of job growth than investment because most of what they purchase is fungible, so there is usually no one corporation which can limit their consumption of all but a few goods and services. Revenue from sales represents far more investment than what the rich put into stocks and corporate bonds.

But the top bracket tax rate has far more of an influence on job creation than consumer spending, because it controls consumer spending for the reasons illustrated in http://j.mp/taxplain -- People in this thread are still not getting that at all.

So, imagine you are a CEO with profits of $10 million. You can bank your profits at low risk, and when the effective top bracket tax rate is low with abundant tax shelters like it has been for the past decade, your CFO will probably tell you that makes the most sense. So most corporations decide bank the profits, and skyrocketing corporate profits -- http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CP -- lead to skyrocketing commercial deposits -- http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/DEMDEPSL -- but terrible employment numbers: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNU02300000

But what if the top bracket tax rate is, say, 50% with relatively limited tax shelters as under Ronald Reagan? Now the risk of re-investing those profits on additional labor, materials and production is far less than the guaranteed loss to the tax man before banking it. So you decide to hire and buy your wholesale goods. Now, what happens when every corporation in the country is facing that same decision?

Does anyone doubt that the effective top marginal corporate tax rate is has more control over the economy than any other factor? The failure to understand this is what made Ron Paul go on television and claim that tax rates declined during the American postwar prosperity period, when in fact they were the highest they have ever been in the late 1940s through early 1960s.

Weak sauce. It is clear that TED doesnt want to offend all their rich benefactors etc.
Makes me question what other talks were suppressed like this. Epic fail TED
This talk has its limitations, but is as good as many that TED has posted. When someone points out that "the King has no clothes" he should not be silenced because "it is porn".
People need to recognize that there are issues which have been politicized. When anyone speaks on these issues without imprimatur, they are marginalized as speaking too politically.
The bottom line is that entrepreneurs need a bit of humility - that no one can claim to be the engine of economic success, it is an ecological system that brings wealth.
@Mick Guinn

It's really important to realize that this is decidedly not a partisan issue, and the reason it is not is contained in this sentence:

"I think it behooves us, "the masses," as it were, to remember that there are people making the best decisions they know how."

If you mean they are making the best decisions they know how for everyone--for (in this case) all Americans, it is clear they are not doing so. There is a broad consensus among our oligarchical leaders that it is necessary to reduce the wages of working Americans, and to reduce the social insurance benefits they've paid for through payroll deductions,. The difference between the two major political parties on this issue is whether or not they express regret about this necessary adjustment to the new globalized economy, or whether they celebrate the triumph of capital.

We already know how to attain higher growth in the economy, in the wealth of the nation, in standard of living--and that involves a flatter income distribution, not a steep, and steepening, distribution. Look at the post-war era of economic growth--when it stopped booming.

But a return to pro-growth policies is not on offer from the leaders of either partisan organization running this country. Rather we are watching as government leaders work with profit making entities, with individuals switching sectors over time, to systematically move wage earnings and taxes upward to a very small coterie of oligarchs and their minions.

A bipartisan coterie.

Thanks for the 3 minute economics refresher Captain Obvious.... Is that supposed to be Nick's grand epiphany for 2012?
"Today TED was subject to a story so misleading it would be funny... except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us" (!)

"An attendee pitched a 3-minute audience talk on inequality <that> framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan <to>. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing <to>."

Okay Chris, that's EXACTLY the "misleading" plotline that was reported on. The only "misleading" thing I suppose is that they accurately reported the view that his arguments were not convincing and were too partisan as your opinion rather than universally acknowledged (TED) truth.

You can cry crocodile tears about "rising inequality" while they simultaneously work to obscure its rather straightforward causes and solutions. It says so much about our current state that the very common sense affirmation that large amounts of people being able to buy things leads to more employment (while tons more money for the rich leads mostly to them buying up ever-greater shares of economic control) is now "too political." Henry Ford is now "to the left" of the pop intellectual establishment.

The fact that his speech is passing around the internet like wildfire is proof to me that the talk is a lot more "special" than nearly all posted TED talks I've seen, for example a recent "blockbuster" one about how to dry your hands with one square of paper towel.

I agree with those who (essentially) said this explanation is what is false and unfounded. I am hoping for the "Streisand effect" to get this talk out.
You are either a fool and a liar or just a fool. On listening to the youtube video I was struck by it's obviousness. Yes companies try to have as few people as possible. Yes it is an eco-systemic feedback loop. Yes Henry Ford realized that he had to pay his workers enough to buy his/their cars. The Democrats haven't even got there yet, so the idea the speech is partisan, except the definition, "partisan is what the rich don't like" is ludicrous.
Your explanation for why it wasn't posted is an utter joke and contains several obvious lies (the interest in the talk, his "needlessly partisan" bias, TED's avoidance of political angles), yet you expect us to believe your underlying explanation?

Congratulations Chris, on decimating TED's credibility.

Apologies for the multiple emails after you comment! (And for adding to it with this note.) This seems to be a (new?) system-wide feature that can't be disabled individually. We've sent an urgent request for help to Posterous, but so far no reply.

Alas, the only way to stop the emails is to entirely delete your comment/s. I don't want to do that without your OK (and certainly don't wish to start a meme that we're deleting comments that are negative!)

So, if you wish to be deleted from this comment thread, in order to stop the influx of emails to your inbox, please email jane@ted.com with 'Delete Posterous' in the Subject line, also specifying your comment and user name.

We'll keep trying to get this setting fixed (and if anyone knows how, please also email that to jane@ted.com).

Jane (on behalf of Chris)

This was a good excuse for a blog post. http://wp.me/pca2S-5y2
After all the verbiage was read, (or as much as I could take) I am on Chris's side.
It really is a shame that an organization such as TED would bow to the pressures of bad PR, losing what credibility it had as a non-partisan entity.

Now, more than even, Keynesian economics are highly questionable, and allowing a speaker to use flawed data, circuitous arguments, and leaps of faith to support ANY speech should not be allowed...no matter how many billions they have.

In the end, this guy gets what he wants (marketing for his new book on this very topic) and TED loses a bit of credibility. I can't possibly see what you have to gain by cow tailing on this matter.

For shame, Chris & TED.

I love TED talks, but your claim of mediocrity just doesn't hold up in light of the standing ovation shown in the video. This is an underrepresented point of view and, whether or not the speaker undertook a lobbying campaign, deserves greater attention. The speaker is using well documented facts to poke holes in a specious rhetorical argument passed off as truth by this country's power brokers. The rising tide has not floated all boats in this country and a healthy middle class is vital to a healthy nation.
"The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings."

If he's referring to the Nick Hanauer talk, at the end of the video the audience gave a standing ovation. Hardly 'mediocre'. A whitewash methinks.






Of course we should lay down our critical thinking and do obeisance to the voting of the TED audience? I find that almost always TED audiences, like most audiences, are themselves of highly questionable use as a guide to quality. You should just dutifully follow like a lemming the predilections of the public - a very useful bit of advice.
Actually, TED is still off base and tries hard to conflate a few hysterical letters with an all out and unjust attack. There will always be hysterical letters, but there will also be the truth.

Fact is that the talk is not partisan -- indeed, the talk opens with Nich Hanauer mentioning that BOTH the Republicans and Democrats have accepted as true the false notion that the rich are job creators. This is the only mention of political parties in the talk and he points out that both of them have got it wrong.

Other than that, partisan politics are not mentioned. The rationale is dishonest.


Richard McDonough 34 Pinewood  Irvine CA  92604 (949) 378-9052 cellular (949)654-5468 home rpmcestmoi@cox.net rpmcestmoi@me.com

I have seen worst talks than the Nick Hanauer talk. That is not reason to not spread the idea around. People are allow to judge themselves if it's good or bad. Then again, it's an organization that wants people to think a certain way. Controlling information is the best way to control minds.
So. 'The scales dropped from my eyes.' Links to TED removed from my website. Thank you, this has been very, very helpful. Wonderful stuff. Thanks, and Bye!
This talk would have made the rounds and drawn a million eyeballs regardless, not because it's partisan, but because it's ever so topical. TED has done damage to TED for the sake of what? Fairness? Balance? I've got a hunch this whole thing was about picking up a few FOX viewers. Well played.
Where there's smoke there's fire. Although this is an election year. Ironically, if you just did the post, it would probably be forgotten by now. You also could of asked the author to refine his argument if it needed improving.
I had to comment on the commenter who says Jon Haidt says vile things....Mr. Haidt in my opinion, is one of the most daring and honest writers alive. His observations are astute, and his conclusions backed by mounds of primary research. Nick Hanauer, on the other hand, comes off clueless in comparison.

Unlike the commenter who says hI would stop watching TED episodes if you included Mr. Hanauer's talk on your website, I welcome all ideas, even very ill-thought out ones. In advertising, we have a saying: "great advertising makes bad products fail faster."

Who knew that TED actually stands for "Tools Egregiously Dissembling"?
I can't really take issue with TED not posting this talk. I'm sure there were many others that were better candidates, and TED doesn't really have an obligation to its speakers.

The idea that the talk was "stoking a tedious partisan rehash of all the arguments we hear every day in the mainstream media," however, is kind of insulting. This should not be a partisan issue, true, but it absolutely has been made a partisan issue (and not by the speaker). Pretending that it can be discussed effectively without acknowledging the concerted efforts of the republican party to push this economic model and control any related dialogue is utterly disingenuous.

Maybe I missed memo, though, and TED is expressly a medium for irrelevant hypotheticals, such as an economic situation similar to our own but absent the people who have an interest in perpetuating it.

Your explanation is actually worse than not having posted the video originally. Of course TED can post whatever it wants based on whatever criteria it wants. But having read his talk, I don't see anything partisan about it at all. He states mostly facts.

It's seems like you don't like what he has to say and wanna pretend you have a good excuse (policy) to prevent the video from getting posted.

It's your arguments that are "unconvincing", and looking at this thread, you're getting "on average, mediocre ratings - some enthusiastic, others critical"

Time to shape up.

Dear Chirs,

You're full of baloney. You're nothing more than a gatekeeper and a head censor for the elites. You're only pushing idiotic/mediocre ideas that won't change anything for the people.

You should quit.

You guys made the right decision. Please continue keeping TED educational, not political.

I am a spaniard living in Finland and a big TED fan.
I have seen the video of Nick Hanauer and I have to say that it does not look partisan to me, maybe because I don't live in the US.

More importantly, he does have a point. Wealth is driven by consumers. If you take Spain as an example, the wealthy are wealthier than ever, while unemployment has risen due to less demand (and corruption and many other things). In the meanwhile here in Finland the economy is still ok due to the large middle class.

Thank you for doing TED.

You state that you did not post the presentation on the TED site because Nick Hanauer's arguments were partisan and unconvincing. In my opinion, those reasons given for excluding the talk on TED are themselves unconvincing.

Which other presentations have you not posted on TED based on the same reasoning that you stated for barring this presentation?
There have been many other great TED talks with partisan opinions (not to imply that I believe that ths talk was partisan), and there have also been TED presentations of performing artists. What convincing did they do? Let me decide for myself whether or not I am convinced by the arguments given.

I have found that the TED presentations encourage thinking "Out of the Box" but then in this instance, by not posting the presentation, TED has determined apriori that I would not be convinced by the presenter's argument.

Why in your comments would you refer the readers to the presentation on YouTube rather than directly on your own site? There are few if any constraints on TED storage space for posting presentations. If a viewer does not agree or care for a particular presentation, it is easy enough for the viewer to stop the presentation and view another. It the people at TED deemed the presenter adept enough to invite them to give a talk, to subsequently take on the role of a censor and expurgate the presentation from the TED website is an unthinkable action.

Furthermore, TED blocked commenting on this matter, citing technical problems. I do not believe that the people who run the TED site are so technically inept that they would require several days to resolve resolve a notification related issue.
It appears to me as though they were waiting for the controversy to subside before allowing more comments to be posted.

I still think that TED has wonderful presentations, but I am quite disappointed with the manner in which they handled this presentation.

why don't you make it technically possible so that viewers can access all TED talks? Is it that hard with today's technology? I mean, look at youtube.You can access millions of videos that have no fu***ng importance but you can't access Ted talks "cause not all of them are brilliant". well, that's a shitty argument and actually this whole scandal; brings some issues that you'll have to deal with.
TED, you're the best. Keep up the great work!
After watching the video I suspected Chris' argument would be based on political avoidance of controversy. And, I totally understand Chris' argument. However, some of the reasons laid out do sound elitist. I also understand that it was a judgment call to not post it.

What I found worthy of the "banned" talk (of course, it wasn't banned - just not posted) is that it boldly addressed a very current and controversial issue directly. As for arguments against it's accuracy, it is always very difficult to ascertain absolute accuracy in nearly any context. So, my argument is that the talk WAS worthy of posting because it WAS controversial, and if you listen to the content of the talk carefully, and notice and take into account any knee jerk reactions that occur, you may well find that the talk was actually a lot less inaccurate and partisan than some may first assume.

As an independent who finds both the Democrats' and Republicans' approach to be relatively equally inaccurate, dishonest, disingenuous, and detrimental to the well being of all life on this planet, I found the talk to be fairly common sense and level headed. I know it is very challenging to maintain common sense and level headedness when attempting to relate to US politics, and so, it is very likely that level headedness and common sense in this arena will be perceived and reacted to as anything but.

PLEASE let us clarify this (replies will be appreciated):

The economy consists of creation of goods and delivery of services in companies by PEOPLE. The setting up of companies requires resources (capital). The people who have the capital set up companies, which REQUIRE PEOPLE to work. This is how (most) people have JOBS.

The goods and services (GS) are created FOR PEOPLE, they are ALWAYS the FINAL USERS (consumers). Even though some GS benefit other companies and not PEOPLE directly, they finally benefit INDIRECLTY people.

So we have a loop: PEOPLE need GS; companies must be set up to create GS; capital is needed to set up companies; PEOPLE have to work (have JOBS) to make companies create GS.

And as the NEEDS for GS evolve so do the companies (and JOBS) which cannot survive without the demand for their GS.

The owners of capital are just some of the players and even though they risk their capital (but there are many many ways to diminish this risk) they are the big power players and commanders.

The employees are the direct creators of GS as well as most of the CONSUMERS. They don`t have control over companies (they used to have some before the suppresion of labor unions...) and they can be fired by capital owners.

Emphasizing the role of only one group (capital owners versus employees) is definitely extremist and therefore biased and narrow-minded. But definitely what is heard is the bias FOR capital owners and NOT for 'direct workers'.

A holistic paradigm MUST consider the economic loop, the global economic context and the balance between the 2 categories of people and aim at the best possible outcome for everybody, not just for some.

This means overcoming both under-productivity by complacency and lack of competitiveness on the world economic stage (these are the threats for the workers) AND mad power greed exacerbated by growth and illusions of insane entitlements by the much fewer capital holders.

Unfortunately the political arena and the play of ideas can be and is very easily MANIPULATED by the power holders (interest groups, multi-national corporations and to a less extent governments, which are on the payroll of the former).

Therefore no equilibrated constructive discussion and action can happen.

"Au bon entendeur salut!"

Think about it.

@ Chris Anderson

The following site provides details on how to fix inequality without taxing the rich.

If you don't feel like visiting the site, oh well. I actually tried posting about this on the TED forums last year and determined the conversations I was getting were not constructive. Too many people trying to be "creative" and not enough people interested in actual change.

"Fixing inequality without taxing the rich"...

This is so very biased and full of wrong assumptions!
Taxing is assumed to mean over-taxing. What would be the ideal policy that the rich would enjoy? No taxation whatsoever? The tax they pay now is already too much?
Think about sustainability and think a little bit more long-term. Where would society go to? Elois and morlocks (see H.G.Wells) ? Castes like in old India?

Who and what is to say which is the proper taxation ?
Examples from our times (e.g. Scandinavian countries) and from the very history of the US! How does the current situation in US compare to these?

'nuf said.

Sorry Chris but that article is bs, dicombobulated gobbledygook. Thanks anyway.
No, you're not engaging in censorship, but NO the talk was not unnecessarily partisan. It was an underrepresented point of view about tax policy and job creation. I do understand your reasons for not posting it. I just think you were wrong and frankly, timid. As an entrepreneur who has paid people to do jobs so I could keep pace with the demands of my customers I can honestly tell you the only job I created was my own. Everything else was necessitated by customer demand. If I could have delivered my product myself without employing the services of others and put more money in my pocket, that is what I would have done. I did not deserve a tax break because I was forced by the market to hire people. It is clear that tax incentives to employers do not lead to more employees.
If you want to talk about weak arguments, this article is as unconvincing as they come. It may put forth a point of view which is unpopular with a certain segment of society, but it is a point of view which needs a bigger voice. TED has done themselves a disservice by not posting this talk. TED could have let the public decide if it were an idea worth spreading. Perhaps TED should consider including another label (like funny, inspiring, etc.), 'CONTROVERSIAL' with a standard disclaimer.
Noam Chomsky has talked about how NPR is among the most restrictive of what he is allowed to say on air. It is the same story here. censorship of ideas because you don't want to appear partisan. Censorship is censorship. There is ALWAYS a reason given for censorship, and it is ALWAYS believed to be good...but it never is.

censoring because you don't want to appear partisan is still censorship. and you are not a space for the free flow of ideas as TED likes to think itself, if you are censoring.

rather than censoring, why doesn't TED provide space for a rebuttal - space for debate. Where is the counter argument? is there one? if there is none - then it is not partisan. Its simple logic. But we will never know, because TED is something less than it claims to be.

How can one be unpartisan when one of the parties is clearly ONLY concerned with making the rich richer and the rest of us poorer?
I don't agree with his talk 100%, but I thing he pointed a few things which are very important and original. His talk is above the average of what I have heard so far.
Those claiming that a sort of new spin - delivery by a self-professed "rich guy" (who, by the way, apparently hasn't cared much about others by making a legacy of seeding new jobs with his wealth) - on the hackneyed, leftist class-warfare meme is somehow "non-partisan" or "new" or "engaging" reveal a sad sort indoctrination. If you're unable to see the obvious anger-fed ties in this presentation and its presenter to Move On's standard talking points, then you don't get contemporary politics.
Thanks Chris, not for the banning decision, but for posting it all here. It helped me understand it better.

Here is my thought on this. First, I picked this up on the Real Economics blog and I'll post my comment from there below. My take on this is maybe more economic, less political...regardless, I hope it helps. Best wishes--Mike

- -
This is a debate that needs to occur in the world, certainly not just America, not just TED, and not just the Republican party.

Reason is this underlying economic idea that getting more money into the hands of the rich has poisoned our entire world economy for the exact reasons Nick pointed out--that the 1% can NEVER make up for the spending of the other 99%.

Nick's speech's perceived flaw that caused TED to ban it, that it was too partisan against the Republican party, is misplaced. It just sadly reflects the marketing stance of each party--
--Republicans only deserved more attention because it was their major plank in their party platform for the past 30 years.
--Democrats only are perceived to be less smeared because they are the opposing party having had to face that plank for 30 years.
--But of course both parties are to blame because both grew to serve the Financial services industry that vastly profited in this 30 year period.

It is THAT last point which needs to change.

The Financial Sector has acquired too much money and it unable/unwilling to spend it (staff up, invest it, donate it) back into the economy fast or effectively enough (especially given country borders in our globalized economy).

Nick's 1% bottleneck applies equally to these few huge master of the universe financial institutions as it does to spending of 99 guys like me compared to 1 Nick.

Thirty years of mergers and consolidations in the vulture capitalist world have created a hyper-oligarchic world that cannot re-invest efficiently enough to keep the world economy running. It is they who have failed the world.

This goes beyond partisan, this goes beyond politics, this goes beyond any of man's institutions...this is life in a world of 7 billion people, it is too large for these G8, G20, BRIC, IMF, et al to wisely manage or control.

It is folly for them to place themselves into this position in the first place. If corporations are now to be people, then the Peter Principle indeed applies.

I think that this idea was very worth sharing. It is needed as a counterweight to the non-stop religious repetition by Fox News of the idea that the super-rich are job creators and that if you tax them it will hurt the economy. If the money is used to really improve infrastructure; it will help business and the economy, including rich people. His talk goes to the heart of the Occupy Movement's ideals and since that movement has much support - his talk is very relevant.
This country is in crisis and TED didn't deliver. Given the crazy resistance in Congress to undoing the George Bush damage, and given the record levels of debt and record levels of income inequality, this election, if it goes republican, will resemble one of those dreaded republican third terms, the first two being the Great Depression and Bush Sr's term, which capped a move in our Debt/GDP from 30% in 1980 to 65% in 1992. Given that Reagan's performance was the strongest Republican performance in history (the only republican to edge out the worst democrat, ignoring the war on drugs and massive debt increases of course), the odds of a republican term being mild like Bush Sr's recession are vanishingly small.

Here are a few other stats
1. Republicans have been running on a platform of low taxes and low regulation for 100 years now.
2. The economy has grown by 118% under Republicans in 48 years and 767% under Democrats in 50 years after inflation (1914-2010).
3. There has never been a Republican President who left office with unemployment under 5%
4. Republican second terms have seen less growth than Republican first terms while Democrat second terms have seen more growth than Democrat first terms.
5. There have only been two Republican third terms - 1929-1932 (The Great Depression) and 1989-1992 (1980-1992 saw the Debt/GDP ratio go from 30% - 65%)
6. 1980-2010 included 20 Republican years and only 10 Democrat year and saw GDP growth of a bit over 40% per capita.
7. The 10 years of Clinton/Obama saw GDP growth of almost 40% per capita.
8. Prison populations have grown from under 500k to almost 2.5 million since 1980
9. We now have 7 people in prison per capita for every 1 in Europe and 2 people in prison for every 1 in South Africa.
10. The top .01 percent of the population now earns over 1000 times as much as the bottom 90%. The last time we saw this big a difference was in 1928 right before the Great Depression started.

If the worst happens, then we will all be able to look back at our parts in all this.

I think both of the above responses to this article prove the reason why TED decided not to publish it along with the few other thousand videos they could have posted that day.

The above comments on the article reflect the idea of partisan politics, and as TED start is their filter process for posted videos, this is what they are trying to avoid:
"we try to steer clear of talks that are bound to descend into the same dismal partisan head-butting people can find every day elsewhere in the media."

My view is the TED decision makes sense to me:
As a communicator he wasn't impressive and the only idea that was not centred around discussing a negative political policy of one party, that he apparently believed was worth spread (i.e. that true job creators are middle class consumers) he barely spent 45secs of a 5:50min talk unpacking that idea and convincing us why so we could spread it.
In the area of communicating we would say that his medium did not fit with his message, i.e. his declaration of the importance of spreading the idea of middle class consumers though was his stated message it did not match up with the simultaneous "message" that he was sending through his medium of communication (the fact that he only spent barely 45 secs of a 5:50min talk). The majority of the time he talked about why we should agree with the idea of taxing the rich (Heard that before), rather than telling us more about the fascinating idea he raised for less than a quarter of his talk, "jobs are a consequence of an eco-systemmic feedback loop between customers and businesses".

Often it is the simultaneous message of the medium with which one speaks which runs along side his/her stated message which is a better indicator of the unique value of the message and whether it is one worth spreading.

I am an independent, neither a democrat nor a republican. This is about economics and the results of economics policy on masses on people. I have heard far more "partisan" talks on TED. Further, I believed, wrongly, that these talks were designed to inform and thus provoke discussion. Naive-gazing is not what is needed now, but rather vigorous discussion and dynamic action. TED is no longer part of my life. That is all.
Are there any ideas in society more worth spreading than the ones that keep us out of Great Depression 2?

America is facing a kind of confirmation bias. We believe that nothing bad can happen to us this year because nothing bad happened last year or the year before that.

Don't know what the fuss was about. Found this talk down to earth, non- partisan & very sensible. If I hadn't slipped down from middle class to lower middle class I would buy a few more things (mostly gifts), which would help my local businesses & hopefully create more local jobs, which are desperately needed. And in the process help make people with money more money which they might consider investing in US & foreign infrastructure. Why is this such a difficult concept? Put $ in peoples' pockets who will spend it for the good of all.
Given the time frame he had to speak, it was a well done speech. To really address the issue more time is needed to dig into it. Everything he said is basically right on the money. That being said, his reaction to TED's decision not to post it was very, very wrong.
Thank you Chris for posting this blog clarification. I was a little worried when I started getting the now *old* news that TED was censoring. I was getting third and forth hand information and when I went to TED.com, I had to search a bit before I found a link to this blog. I haven't actually seen the post but I can agree with your statement about how discussions about inequality sometimes boil down to partisan politics. I have often had the discussion and have boiled down my own understanding/explanation to inequalities to be as non-partisan as possible but ultimately it's based on an ideological model of how one views the inner mechanics of society. This will ultimately lead to some partisan ideas. Unless, of course, that you believe that partisanship itself is the reason why there is an increasing inequality.
So, Chris, the income inequality talk is too overtly political and needlessly partisan, but the "myth of the gay agenda" one is not?

I agree with both, but it does feel like double standards are being applied.

Unfortunately when one side decides to lie without measure the truth can be partisan. Does that mean that we should avoid the truth?

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmond Burke

It seems to me that TED should not fear "partisanism," when the assertions are not opinion but supported by compelling data. It would be the same as keeping a lion in a cage and petting a house cat; it could be said that the house cat is being favored, but the evidence supports that this is a wiser course of action.
I'm guessing the work of Robert Altemeyer on right wing authoritarianism, as useful and profoundly illuminating as it is, would never get air time through TED. This is unfortunate.
I just one person who generally ejoys TED talks. I don't claim to be biased or unbiased. The talk had several, really one, interesting well-presented idea. I feel that this point might have been better a bit substantiated but it was persuasive nonetheless.

Chances are that I would _not_ have viewed this talk if not for the controversy. It was worth the 5 minutes. So thank you Mr. Anderson for not posting the talk in the usual way.

“At TED we post one talk a day on our home page. We're drawing from a pool of 250+ that we record at our own conferences each year and up to 10,000 recorded at the various TEDx events around the world, not to mention our other conference partners. Our policy is to post only talks that are truly special.”

Perhaps therein lies the problem, that you only post one handpicked talk per day based upon what you think is suitable for the hoi polloi. With a standard membership fee of $7,500 per year most of us (dare I say 99%) will not be able to attend a TED Conference, our only access to TED Conference content is what is posted online.

What criteria do you use for determining what is “truly special?” Having watched Ted Talks for quite some time it seems to me that “truly special” is weighed more towards “truly entertaining” rather than “truly thought provoking.” Julia Sweeney’s “The Talk” for example. Don’t get me wrong I’m a great fan of Julia Sweeney and find a great deal of what she has to say thought provoking (e.g. “Letting Go of God” and “God Said, Ha!”), but “The Talk” doesn’t fall into that category, it was simply very entertaining. On the other hand Nick Hanauer’s talk was current, thought provoking, and worthy of being discussed. Someone at TED sorted through the thousands of videos available to be posted, skipped over Hanauer’s and selected Sweeney’s. Maybe you need to either reevaluate your selection criteria or you one talk per day policy.

Personally, I think the 'banning' was a great PR move and the talk received a lot more viewings that it would have gotten had it been just another video on the Ted Talk list. The talk is worth hearing, I think the 'banning' was a good move.
Conspiracy theorists are always the same. They do not change. Don't get bothered at their speeches.
If you can't find anyone to discuss the issue without a "needlessly partisan tone," maybe you should consider the possibility the issue is unavoidably partisan.
That's the most unconvincing piece of drivel I can ever remember reading. Ever heard of logical fallacies and cognitive dissonance? We're not stupid. And you wonder why your motives are questioned? You dishonour and embarrass anyone who has ever used this forum and should be totally ashamed. Sheesh.
I found the Nick Hanauer’s TED talk on taxes while surfing youtube. The youtube title was "Banned TED talk......" The video was placed at the top of my youtube homepage list of "recommended to watch". So the message is getting out.

I found a related you tube video titled "Millionaire Nick Hanauer and Fox News Neil Cavuto". In it Nick claims:

1980 Now
~2% 12% Percent of total income for top .1%
8% 24% Percent of total income for top 1%
18% 12% Percent of total income for bottom 50%

We should be discussing both these claims and the claim (from abve):

The talk is explicitly attacking what he calls an article of faith for Republicans.

Further challenge is this, what was the actual data for the following claim? (from above):

The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings - some enthusiastic, others critical.

And what is the data from the website? oh that's right, the video is not on the TED website......

The talk is worth hearing, I think the 'banning' was a good move.
The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings - some enthusiastic, others critical.
Except it successfully launched an aggressive online campaign against us.

to repeat:
what was the actual data for the following claim? (from above):

The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings - some enthusiastic, others critical.

The camera caught a robust standing ovation at the end....
What was the data??

If the campaign was successful how was TED hurt ? Make that argument and I'll fold my tent.

TED should publish everything on its web site. Why not show also the good but no great ones? Its a form of censorship.
Why not show also the good but no great ones? Its a form of censorship.
I think most of TED's audience is composed of mature people who are able to judge for themselves is a talk is partisan or not. Please let us decide.
Thanks you're not engaging in censorship, but NO the talk was not unnecessarily partisan.
It's about "Ideas worth spreading", and this is an idea worth spreading, so what's the fuss?
The talk makes sense and the message is vital. I can't see why it was not posted on Ted.
Thanks from Rick Falvinge? He started a political party, and this is partisan? Is there something wrong with the numbers? Is he pulling ideas out of the air? I am not sure what offends TED about this--I am sure even some of the billionaires in the audience thought these were ideas worth spreading (and others ideas they did not want spread).
You are a liar. This one TED talk not only spoke the truth but placed it in easy to understand terms. I have lost all respect for you and your genda. This is not a political issue it is a factual one and he brought the facts. Lets say we shut down Mc Donalds , Burger King and Wendys. We loaded their CEO's and management into boats with their money and kicked them out of the country. For some time there will be some hungry consumers but I PROMISE that another franchise would quickly fill the space. Corporations are disposable.
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