The kerfuffle—over TED allegedly banning Nick Hanauer's talk on income inequality because it was too political—didn't take long to resolve:
TED head Chris Anderson says, more or less, that the talk wasn't banned—it just wasn't good enough to be chosen—and accuses Hanauer off blowing up the controversy. Here's Anderson on his blog:
Here's what actually happened.
At TED this year, an attendee pitched a 3-minute audience talk on inequality. The talk tapped into a really important and timely issue. But it framed the issue in a way that was explicitly partisan. And it included a number of arguments that were unconvincing, even to those of us who supported his overall stance. The audience at TED who heard it live (and who are often accused of being overly enthusiastic about left-leaning ideas) gave it, on average, mediocre ratings. [...]
We discussed internally and ultimately told the speaker we did not plan to post. He did not react well. He had hired a PR firm to promote the talk to MoveOn and others, and the PR firm warned us that unless we posted he would go to the press and accuse us of censoring him. We again declined and this time I wrote him and tried gently to explain in detail why I thought his talk was flawed.
Anderson also explains that he's posted the talk on YouTube (as you see above), but it's not on the TED website. It's a he-said-she-said for right now. Hard to say who is right, but it seems there's some doubt about Anderson's claim that the talk was received as mediocre. "The audience gave the talk a standing ovation; stop bullshitting," says one of the commenters on Anderson's blog. At the end of the video you can see folks stand up... and Hanauer says, "I got a sensational reaction to the talk at the conference itself, including a big standing ovation." Make of it what you will.