Teen Vogue’s misinformed politics

January 19, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue once again is misinforming its readership and promoting policies without backing them up with solid reporting.

The Federal Trade Commission, led by Lina Khan, is proposing that non-compete agreements should be banned. The truth here is a little more complex. Non-competes have, arguably, got out of hand. Hamburger flippers should not be asked to sign them, it is a restraint of trade if it is insisted they do. On the other hand, sometimes they’re necessary – when the guy at Coke finally gets told the secret recipe seems fair enough that he can’t quit and go to work for Pepsi. Same with the KFC special spices, or the investment banker who knows everything the bank owns and invests in.  Or the salesman who knows who all the corporate customers are, the exact amounts they pay, their discounts and all that.  It makes sense that some high-echelon employees should be asked to wait a couple of months before they work for the competition.

There is no exact dividing line here, it’s a complicated subject. The FTC has decided differently and wants to ban them all. So, now there’s a public consultation period. Folk can write in and make the sort of points above if they’d like to.

Teen Vogue claims to “Educate the influencers of tomorrow” and that’s a noble goal. It’s just that they don’t educate on this subject at all. They just insist that the FTC is right. And that it will be Big Bad Business that will object. So they suggest that their readers, who they have not bothered to inform of the complexity, should:

It’s pretty much certain that big corporations and business interests will share their perspective on the FTC proposal, so it’s very important for the agency to hear the voices of hardworking people and the future workforce too. The relevant page on the FTC’s website has a blue rectangle at the bottom marked “submit a comment,” which is where you click to share your input through March 10. Another link allows you to browse the comments submitted so far. Many are just a sentence or two from everyday people detailing how they’ve been adversely affected by noncompetes or simply sharing their views.

In addition to supporting the FTC’s proposal,

Teen Vogue’s readers, who have been misinformed about this, should write in to support the FTC.

Teen Vogue ranks 424 for news and media outlets in the US. It gains some 5.6 million visits a month from that position. The tagline is “Educating the influencers of the future” and while we share that noble goal we do think Teen Vogue has a long way to go on the education part.

For example, insisting the misinformed write-in to help decide government policy isn’t really doing us all a great favor now, is it? Being responsible for the misinformation about the complexity of the subject is even worse.


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