Yesterday, the National Journal reported that Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, is refusing to publish a talk by venture capitalist and Patriotic Millionaire Nick Hanauer because it was "too politically controversial."
Hanauer spoke at a March 1st event in Seattle for a TED University conference. The venture capitalist's remarks centered on the widening income gap in the United States and how the middle class, and not wealthy investors like himself, were actually America's "job creators."
As he said in his talk (which you can read here), "we’ve had it backward for the last 30 years." He continued: "Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers..."
TED officials had initially told the Patriotic Millionaire that they were keen to distribute it, with one official writing in late April that "I want to put this talk out into the world!"
TED has posted other "political" speeches before, including philanthropist Melinda Gates' call for more access to contraception in the developing world, as well as NASA scientist James Hansen's outlining of the overwhelming evidence for climate change to combat skeptics.
As the curator of TED, Chris Anderson has an obligation to foster the spread of great ideas, however provocative, and to give a platform to the world’s most inspiring and influential thinkers.
Continuing to censor this important and timely talk fails that responsibility.
- Chris Anderson, curator of TED
As the curator of TED, you have positioned yourself as America’s arbiter of great ideas. With the power of that role comes a profound responsibility.
By refusing to release Nick Hanauer’s presentation on inequality, you abdicated that responsibility. By claiming that the presentation was “too politically controversial,” you insulted your fellow citizens. The United States has the fourth-highest income inequality in the world, and the one of the fastest growing rates of economic inequality among developed nations. Inequality is not a political issue, it is an American issue.
We urge you to release this video on TED as soon as possible, and to continue to stimulate dialogue on one of the most important conversations our country should be having.
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