The National Journal reported that officials at TED, a popular series of Web-based talks, told Hanauer in an April email that they wanted to put his talk out into the world! However, they quickly shifted gear and said the venture capitalist's talk was political and too controversial to be posted.
Hanauer said in his talk that We've had it backward for the last 30 years. Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. 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.
According to the Journal's report, TED curator Chris Anderson had reacted by saying Hanauer's talk probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we've ever run, and we need to be really careful when to post it.
Anderson was urging extra caution especially since another politically sensitive TED talk, by Melinda Gates on contraception, was about to be released, in the midst of a media firestorm over comments by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.
Earlier this year, Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke drew national attention to a long-standing debate as to whether birth control should be covered on students' health insurance plans at Catholic universities.
Limbaugh called her a slut and prostitute. But the debate will continue because in August, health-care reform will require that all health insurance providers cover contraception. Religious colleges and institutions will have the option to file for a one-year extension, according to the Washington Post.
When asked about whether talks on inequality were more a political controversy than those on contraception, Anderson told the Journal that many talks given at TED conferences or its university are not released.
We only release one a day on TED.com and there's a backlog of amazing talks from all over the world, Anderson wrote in an e-mail to the Journal. We do not comment publicly on reasons to release or not release [a] talk. It's unfair on the speakers concerned. But we have a general policy to avoid talks that are overtly partisan, and to avoid talks that have received mediocre audience ratings.