This morning a reader called my attention to a startling blog post, “Why Did WNYC Delete Its Podcast on the Male “Expert” on Women in Tech?” The “expert” in question is Vivek Wadhwa, a former tech entrepreneur turned tech industry analyst, familiar to many readers of this blog for his strident support of legislation expanding H-1B and other foreign tech worker programs. Vivek has also been outspoken on the status of women in the tech field, and in so doing has apparently offended some of the very people he aims to defend.
According to the blog post, an NPR affiliate withdrew a podcast featuring Vivek, and in the process made comments that Vivek now considers libelous. I find this richly ironic, as a few years ago I publicly (in my e-newsletter) complained about incorrect and presumably libelous statements Vivek made about me. He basically said that I fabricate my data in studies on H-1B. Of course, this is one of the worst charges one can bring against an academic. Worse, Vivek later made the same charge again, as I also reported in my e-newsletter. The whole thing was absurd, since my research is based on publicly available data, such as the PERM green card data; anyone can verify my analyses.
Having said all that, I must say I sympathize with Vivek here. Apparently Vivek has engaged in the same “Zelig” behavior regarding the women’s issue as on H-1B, showing up everywhere. But that is partly due to the nature of journalism, who like to find one “go to” person and then constantly quote him/her. None of his critics on the women’s issue seem to find fault with any of his statements on the topic. Without having listened to the actual podcast, it does seem wrong to me that the radio station removed it.