Too TED For TV?

Here is a talk by Nick Hanauer for the TED series that was never aired. According to some media sources, as well as Hanauer himself, the talk was scrapped due to its controversial nature; namely, wealth inequality in America. Others posit that Hanauer simply has a case of sour grapes since his speech never got the green light.

After watching it, I have to say I agree with the latter camp. While the issue of wealth inequality is a large one for sure, Hanauer’s talk just isn’t that enlightening. He simply repeats facts that have been mentioned in various media reports over the past year. It helps that he is a wealthy venture capitalist himself, which can be more convincing than an everyday Joe like myself complaining about wealth disparity. However, I don’t see why TED would ban this talk, where the facts are nothing you can’t find by perusing news websites on any given week.

Another claim by TED for withholding the talk was that Hanauer’s talk contained an overt amount of partisanship, something that TED doesn’t want to get involved with (and for good reason). I also agree. Comments below the video mention how he only mentioned Republicans once; yet, in this case, once is enough. Hanauer says in the beginning of his talk that the whole idea of the wealthy as being “job creators” is central to conservative thinking. Because he starts out with this statement, it frames all of the subsequent points as being aimed at Republicans, even though not all Republicans would consider themselves “conservatives.” Also, it isn’t mentioned that the Democratic isn’t actually doing much to tackle the wealth inequality in our country. The Democrats talk a big game, of course, but the only member of Congress actually taking action is Bernie Sanders, who is technically an independent.

What do you think? Did TED intentionally block the talk or did it just not pass the TED muster?


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