TED Conversations

Brian Adam

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed.

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.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    May 17 2012: 1. TED can not censor anything. they either put up some material or not. it is their own website, they can arbitrarily select videos to put up, and it is not censorship. using such loaded words does not help understanding.
    2. none of your examples are political.
    3. you have the right to disagree to their policy, and question how they shepherd their own public image. you also can suggest.

    for example here is my suggestion. why TED does not create a dedicated site for talks that did not make it to the main website. it could be called TED backyard or TED basement. subtitle: stuff that did not fit in the exhibition room. proceed with care.
    • thumb
      May 17 2012: The posted question (in bold text) does not mention censoring. It simply asks why the talk has not been posted. Apparently the subject of the talk is relevant. It seems appropriate, necessary even, that TED would offer further explanation why they exercised their absolute right to not post the talk. If TED claims the talk is "too political" then other questions become important. Thanks for your wise observations Krisztian.
    • May 17 2012: By censoring (unfortunately, yes, I did use the term) I guess I mean selectively screening an issue of importance and great interest. Perhaps censoring was the wrong word. But I think all of those examples are inherently political: hot button issues like contraception, climate change, and religion are all sensitive political issues that are starkly divided along party lines at least here in the U.S. And the fact that they've had a talk on the exact same subject before makes it strange that they refuse to post this talk. I don't mean to sound conspiratorial, but it almost makes TED seem to have a political motive themselves to not post this talk.
      • thumb
        May 17 2012: i would say TED does not want to take sides, nor they want to participate in debates they find not "high" enough. TED wants to be above such every days politics. you don't have to like it. personally i don't like many practices of them, like advertisements barely disguised as conversations (and throughly shepherded by admins). i think it is lame, and it is okay to bash them for it.

        but hey, it is their stuff, so they can screw it up as they please. don't make it look like your rights where violated or something.
        • May 17 2012: I understand that the video is their property, and you're right: it really is their decision not to post it. However I do disagree with the notion that the topic is not important enough to post. Income inequality, as Wilkinson demonstrated, harms societies. Why not allow further discussion? For now I can only voice my disapproval. I would've thought TED to be a little more open to this issue; I've always perceived TED as a haven or beacon for the presentation and discussion of ideas regarding important scientific, political, moral, and social issues. This most recent action though is contrary to that view and tears down what I thought the company stood for. I suppose I'm a bit of a naive idealist when it comes to this.
    • thumb
      May 19 2012: 'TED can not censor anything. they either put up some material or not. it is their own website, they can arbitrarily select videos to put up'...ah they have specifically said the reason for not posting the talk was because it was politically 'too partisan'. That means (see dictionary definition above) the talk was not used as part of a process of political censorship. If they had said instead they pulled it due to timing constraints or because the material was not 'high' enough, then you would have a point. As it stands, you do not.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.