It is commonly said that the TED attendees are every bit as remarkable as the speakers appearing on stage. It happens to be true. That's why at every conference we invite attendees to consider whether they have something to contribute to the program -- as a short talk, a demo or a performance. After selecting among the many submissions, we bring a number of them to the stage.
His talk was about the popular claim in U.S. politics that the wealthy are "Job creators," arguing,
Anyone who's ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a capitalist's 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.
Hanauer was told that TED officials were looking forward to publishing his talk, then that his talk's publication was going to be delayed because of its overtly political nature, then that it wasn't going to be published at all. NationalJournal and the Atlantic appear to feel that this constitutes a cover-up.
In the NationalJournal article, an addendum that was posted an hour after the initial publication reveals excerpts from an email that Chris Anderson, TED's curator, sent Hanauer.
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....
Nick, I personally share your disgust at the growth in inequality in the US, and would love to have found a way to give people a clearer mindset on the issue, without stoking a tedious partisan rehash of all the arguments we hear every day in the mainstream media.
Alas, my judgment - and it is just a judgment, and that's why my job title is 'curator' - is that publishing your talk would not meet that goal.
Anderson had previously released a statement, also quoted in the NationalJournal article, which pointed out that TED's one-a-day video schedule means there's a huge backlog of great talks, and they don't publicly discuss their reasons for choosing the talks they choose.
When I first read this story, I was disappointed with TED. But reading it more carefully, it seems obvious tha the story is manufactured sensationalism. I agree with the content of Hanauer's talk, and I'm glad it's out there. But TED obviously isn't hiding anything by not publishing this talk. Its clearly partisan nature was an element in their decision not to include it, but that doesn't mean, as the Atlantic and NationalJournal claim in their headlines, that it was "Too hot" for TED.