An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Friday, May 18, 2012

TED organizers never heard of the Streisand effect?

[Updated below] Here's the TED talk that the people at TED did not want you to see. According to a story in, TED Even more elitist than we thought, multimillionaire Seattle venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer gave a TED talk on income inequality in which he blasted conventional wisdom (the meme that fabulously rich people "create jobs") in no uncertain terms. He bluntly calls this dishonest. My favorite part is the following:

...when businesspeople take credit for creating jobs, it's a little like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. In fact, it's the other way around.

It's hard to call this censorship - no government agency has ordered TED not to post Hanauer's talk. Commercial censorship maybe. Limiting access to information most librarians consider censorship and we do not care about dictionary definitions. Language evolves. Kind of like Squirrels. The trouble comes mostly from the behavior of the TED organizers, TED curator Chris Anderson in particular. As Lauren Kelley of Alternet has pointed out, "... TED’s stance on the talk went from “The world must see this!” to “We’ll get to it later…” to “Actually it’s too partisan” to “It might upset businessmen.”" Strange.

Stranger still are the insinuations that the talk did not meet some sort of high quality standards that TED supposedly sets to post talks online. Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy posted a howler of an article picking out 10 TED Talks They Should Have Censored. This reminds me of the newspaper that defends its choice of what stories to run with the argument that they have to sort out what's important from what's not but they run Lady Gaga saying something outlandish on the front page.

Well, alls well that ends sort of well, I guess. Despite refusing to post the video on its own web site, Anderson nonetheless (after a barrage of criticism and accusations of censorship) posted Hanauer's talk on YouTube. (You can also read a transcript here).

AROY found this segment of the Lawrence O'Donnell show in which Hanauer expands on some of the ideas in his TED talk.

The segment runs about 7 and a half minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment