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Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 18 May 2012

The nonprofit TED Talks is taking a hit to its reputation for intellectual freedom. TED made a decision not to post on its website a controversial speech on job creation by billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer. Hanauer nails as a myth the idea that the rich create jobs, saying that without the middle classes, no jobs can be created.

"That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich," he concluded.

The Skanner News asked TED why the talk was not posted.

"We chose not to post the talk for several reasons," answered 'Becky' in an email.  "As TED curator Chris Anderson said on his just-published blog post on the topic, Our policy is to post only talks that are truly special. And we try to steer clear of talks that are bound to descend into the same dismal partisan head-butting people can find every day elsewhere in the media."

Becky offered a link to a blog written by TED curator Chris Anderson, that claims Hanauer's argument was "partisan" and "unconvincing". Yet, the audience can be seen giving Hanauer an ovation.

TED's Talks motto is "Ideas Worth Spreading." The nonprofit started out in 1984 as a conference on 'Technology, Entertainment, Design,' and branched out to brand itself as a place to find the latest and greatest ideas.

Becky notes that TED has covered income inequality in talks by Richard Wilkinson: "How income inequality harms societies" and in an interview posted on the TED website.

Charts courtesy of Mother Jones magazine

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