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Brian Adam

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Why is the Nick Hanauer talk not posted?

I haven't been a member for long, but I've been watching TED talks for years now consistently checking in for new videos. Frankly, the talks have gotten a little bland in the past few months. Then I hear through the grapevine of Nick Hanauer's lecture and how Mr. Anderson has decided to censor it. I'm extremely disappointed in the decision. This is an issue on the mind of many people in America and those interested in American politics and economics. It's an something that deserves to be heard by many more people than the elite TED audiences, and what better way to spread this worthy idea than posting the lecture online, sooner rather than later. The cited reason for omitting the lecture was that it was "too political." I have to say that is a terrible excuse. When has TED attempted to remain apolitical? Speakers have discussed societal ills like poverty and war; Jonathan Haidt has put forth an explanation of the psychological differences between the Republicans and Democrats; Sam Harris proposed science can substitute religion as a source of morality, and very early on in TED's history Richard Dawkins was allowed to promote militant atheism; other hot button political issues like contraception and climate change have been discussed here (often more than once); and all of these speakers had the video of their quite political talks posted. All of a sudden we can't view here a perspective on the issue of income inequality from Mr. Hanauer? I seem to remember Richard Wilkinson discussing a very similar topic posted back in October 2011. Mr. Anderson, I think a more substantial explanation is in order regarding your decision not to post Mr. Hanauer's talk online other than it being "too political." I can't speak for anyone else, but I see the decision as an act of cowardice reflecting on the organization as a whole. It suggests that we, the public, have lost TED as a forum for intellectual discussion and consideration regarding important issues, political or otherwise.

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  • May 17 2012: There is no excuse for this censorship.

    Everything is political, if a fact is political then so be it, let facts change politics.

    It makes me feel outraged that TED chose to not publish this. Seeming as it is so important and clarifying.

    It makes you think is TED is so cowardly due to its corporate sponsors....
    • May 17 2012: I think Krisztian is right that censorship is the wrong word. We may be able to define the act as censorship loosely, but it carries all the wrong connotations: we don't have a right to view this information since it is property of TED, but as an audience and members of the TED community we can certainly voice disapproval and request TED releases the video.
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        May 19 2012: Censorship is the right word. Perhaps the phrase 'political censorship' is even more appropriate.
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        May 19 2012: Will the free dictionary do? 'the practice of examining documents and removing information which the authorities do not wish to be made public for political reasons.'
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      May 19 2012: Hi Adam,
      You can read Chris Anderson's response on his blog: tedchris.posterous.com

      And if you're interested in TEDTalks on income inequality, check out this playlist:
      http://blog.ted.com/2012/05/17/playlist-the-roots-and-effects-of-income-equality/

      Thank you.

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