Breitbart Becomes a Major Player in H-1B Coverage

I must say that I had never even heard of the Breitbart news site until a few months ago. And my first impression was amusement more than anything else, especially when they referred to me as a “top Democrat.” (They did get the Democrat part right, but…) Yet, I’m coming to respect them more and more, as they are doing a great job of covering a topic the mainstream media (MSM) is reluctant to investigate properly — the H-1B work visa and related topics such as OPT. (Of course, Computerworld does an excellent job, but as a trade paper it is not MSM.)

Just in the last few days alone, Breitbart has run interesting articles on Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, plus an analysis by Professor Ron Hira of Marco Rubio’s views on H-1B, and one on Rubio’s deep pockets tech funders. We all know the huge role that money plays in politics, but that last article is pretty scary.

Many of my readers think the MSM is horribly biased on H-1B issues. I’ve generally defended the MSM, saying they are merely ignorant, victims of the tech industry’s relentless PR campaigns to implant in the American consciousness the ideas that we have a STEM labor shortage, that the foreign STEM students are all geniuses, etc. But I must say that even I was taken aback by something a reporter from a top MSM outlet recently said to me in an e-mail exchange. I had corrected her terming H-1B visa holders as “immigrants” (many hope to immigrate, but H-1B is simply a temporary work visa), she replied,

I am aware that the term of law for foreign workers on temporary visas is “non-immigrant.” But it is legal jargon that we avoid [at this MSM outlet], in no small part because its tone is insulting to the foreigners. (From non-immigrant to non-person is not a long way.)

I had written here before on the manipulation of language by the industry PR people, but “insulting”? “Non-person”? Really? The above statements by a journalist at a major newspaper are really laughable — and pathetic. It is this sense of things spinning out of control in the country that are making the “outsiders” so attractive to many voters these days.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek recently ran a piece on Breitbart, fascinating background.

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34 thoughts on “Breitbart Becomes a Major Player in H-1B Coverage

  1. Breitbart News was a lot sharper while Breitbart was still running it, but sometime we all just have to carry on.

    They are still, at least, not part of the MSM.

    The story you tell of your reporterette is indeed pathetic, but “journalists” are not paid to know anything about anything, they are paid to report anything about anything, and that is a different matter. What that has come to today is they are often the most over-sensitive and trendy about things, no matter how senseless this may be. They are not paid to be sensible, but to file stories. Never mistake one for the other.

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    • Your comments are the role of journalists is fine in general, but those really top-flight MSM outlets pride themselves on being knowledgeable and impartial. People at that unnamed newspaper would not take pride in the quote I published today.

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      • That is the problem with “top-flight MSM” today, their biases have completely overwhelmed what you and I think of as “knowledgeable” or “impartial”. The MSM has collapsed over the past twenty years, there is no “top-flight MSM” unless you think Breitbart might qualify. Your reporterette knows her environment.

        The explanation generally given is that the industry leaders like the Columbia School of Journalism say that bias is inevitable, so have a good one! They deny there is such a thing as impartiality. And if you look at the history of journalism in the US over the last 250 years, they may have a point. It was an anomaly for anyone to think that a real impartiality was a goal or even a possibility, in the years when you and I were growing up. That period apparently ended circa 1990. It’s the new millennium. Enjoy.

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      • The MSM or Main Stream Media has become the (LSM) Lame Stream Media in my observation pattern, Only the New York Times has stepped up. The progressive site Alternet finally did a H-1B piece on SunTrust layoffs, but when I got over my the list of so called liberal mainstream media, I find little to nothing about H-1B abuse and the crashing and burning of US IT Workers lives. Here is my list of media that has neglected the H-1B and G1 OPT situation that haunts workers all over the county, and not just IT.

        Huffington Post
        Washington Post
        Wall Street Journal
        The Nation
        Mother Jones
        Allantic
        Politco
        The New Yorker
        Vox
        Vanity Fair
        Wired
        Bloomberg

        All off the Cable and Network News; except local news in affected ares like Florida and California.

        Why do I care, I run a Facebook community page called ‘Save American Information Technology’ Jobs that have been tracking the issue for over the past years and Brietbart is sincerely the only media outlet that empathy on this issue.

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        • I agree that the NYT has not done a good job on H1B F1 OPT in the past, what I have read was lame and inaccurate and biased, at least now they have published something, it was a big something, hey, my standards are low on MSM, I will take what I can get, New York Times readers posted nearly 2,800 comments in response to Disney Magic Kingdom of H1-B Hell article last June, many readers expressing deep suspicion of the H-1B visa program, which aims to place immigrants in high-skill jobs that cannot be filled by Americans. The article was also the number one e-mailed article for over 20 hours. People who read the NYT finally heard about IT workers training their replacements. Ir was a breakthrough article in my mind. A month or so later another H1B article was on NYT about Toys R US, they got Julia Preston, prize winner reporter on the case, A subsequent NYT article about the comments itself on the Disney article generated over 450 comments. If you want to talk about the number of comments about H1B, the Breitbart news empire conquers all, over 4500 comments on various H1B Disney and debate posts. There was a YaHoo article that went viral in June 2014 that generated over 5000 comments, after that the well runs dry. Huffington Post is my BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT. No Disney H1B on their site, that Breitbart right wing nut case land, can’t go there or maybe their is another reason? I Wonder ? Who owns the HUFF POST?

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          • During 1998-2000, the NYT, WP, etc. all had good coverage of H-1B. It would be interesting to investigate why they stopped. For WP, Bill Gates’ wife was on the board for some time.

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          • Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Of the Top 100 Companies Issuing H1B Visas in 2015: Number 18 is Amazon, if you are a Washington Post reporter do you want to bite the hand that feeds you? NO. Amazon is a big H1B shop, Bezos is a hot head, get my drift, no H1B and F-1 OPT elaborate stories Wash Post articles, no human interest stories on IT Workers losing their homes on this subject baby, Jeff Bezos is the Wash Post life line.

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  2. Tourist visas are also considered nonimmigrant visas. Using the logic of the above reporter, I guess we should refer to foreign tourists as immigrants.

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  3. The jig was up (pun intended) 30 years ago “human relations” & “personnel” became “human resources.” Resources like wood, coal, iron ore, food . . . something to be consumed and the slag then discarded.

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  4. The legal term and in almost all paper work involved with H1-B the term used is – Non-immigrant alien (belonging to a foreign country or nation)
    But as you said the PR machine is so strong they have managed to make the term unacceptable (non-human?)

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  5. Norm, the MSM gets more and more irrelevant everyday. Ignorance is no excuse. Try using that in court. The ratings for the news cable networks show it. I don’t use them anymore and rely almost totally on alt media. Can’t wait for CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, etc to go bankrupt. Its all generally puff journalism anyways 0 Kardashians and other nonsense.

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  6. The mainstream media has universally agreed not to use the terms “illegals” or “illegal aliens”. They only use “undocumented” and “undocumented immigrants”. After Trump made his controversial comments about illegal aliens from Mexico, I believe it was much more common to see it referred to as his comments about “immigrants” or “immigrants from Mexico” than comments about “undocumented immigrants” or “undocumented immigrants from Mexico”.

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  7. I think the reporter makes a reasonable point. Lawyers and economists often use terms in specialised ways and then pretend their interpretation is the correct one, when it’s not.

    In this case, though, the reporter has made a mistake in using the term immigrant, which completely negates the important distinction. She would have have been better referring to temporary skilled workers or temporary skilled visa holders, in my view.

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    • The reporter was reasonably about staying away from legalisms, but for her to say the term non-immigrant is insulting is way off the mark, and indicates strong bias on the part of her and her newspaper.

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    • H-1 visa (like few others) is an interesting category – It’s a non-immigrant visa with a ‘dual-intent’. Hence the confusion of the usage of the term ‘immigrant’. H-1 holder would be on the path to becoming an ‘immigrant’ once (s)he starts his/her immigrant paperwork (“Approved I-140” in technical jargon). As the author of this post points out, most of these H-1 folks intend to immigrate by applying for an immigrant visa.

      For folks from non-backlogged countries applying for greencard, the term “immigrant” will/can be used synonymously with H-1 since the whole process of obtaining an LPR (greencard) for such folks is matter of months.

      The same term (“immigrant”) gets poisoned when it’s used in reference to folks from LPR backlogged countries who have wait periods that span multiple decades. Since they have shown the ‘intent’ of immigrating and applied for an immigrant visa (greencard) but are on infinite H-1 extensions.

      This is where the media outlets (or anyone) get to interpret it the way they deem fit.

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      • Sorry, one is not an immigrant until one gets the green card, just like a student is not a graduate until he/she graduates, and a fiance is not a spouse until the marriage occurs. As I said, until an H-1B obtains the green card, he/she is just an immigrant wannabe.

        But my point about the reporter was not about the legalism, but rather about the claim of her and her newspaper that the term non-immigrant is insulting.

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        • Hope you would watch this from a recent hearing on immigration reform –

          This video represents the collective anguish of the skilled immigrants stuck in green card backlog who have very few rights and are victims of a corrupt system protected by a syndicate of employers, immigration lawyers and government officials. This syndicate functions as a mafia whose purpose is to ensure the status quo so the system continues to bring in immigrant workers with fewer rights into US and ensures that those workers continue to have fewer rights so companies can have more control over immigrant workers to displace Americans.

          The system feeds off of the fact that skilled immigrants have little or no job mobility. The way the real system works, immigrants with fewer rights are more attractive to the employers over equivalent American workers, resulting in the displacement of American workers. This is the underlying reason for instances of Americans losing jobs to temporary visa holders in companies like Disney, Southern California Edison and hundreds of others across the country. So the system ensures that immigrants are exploited and Americans are discriminated against. This is not an exception, this is the norm and this is how the real system works.

          DHS Ombudsman’s Annual report shows a graph for L1B RFE rate. Immigration Voice wants to know, why the Ombudsman/DHS/USCIS has never EVER published any report showing number of Americans displaced by H1 & L1 visa programs – Americans who lost their jobs because their replacement had fewer rights, or, immigrants who were exploited by employers.

          I just sat through a day’s worth of nonsensical commentary about how to bring in more Immigrants into the country and to ensure that they have fewer rights.

          It got to a point that I was feeling suffocated sitting in that room to see the company representatives and government bureaucrats on the panel and immigration lawyers in the audience dictating what rights they will decide to give immigrant employees, and everyone sitting around them nodding in agreement. The rights to live free don’t come from some immigration lawyer, HR Department or any bureaucrat. These rights come from our creator, including the right to live free (read that as right to change employer at free will). That is the core value of our society. But somehow handful of these touts throughout the event talked as if they decide which right and when they will grant that right to immigrants. And throughout the event, they would not even care to mention “displacement of Americans”, “rights of immigrants”, “exploitation of immigrants”, “discrimination against Americans in the job market” etc. All they were interested to discuss was – how to get immigrants with fewer rights from outside so that would be fresh meat for companies and immigration lawyers to prey on.

          There was not a peep about the rights of immigrant workers. No one asked obvious questions about the many elephants in the room. Why DHS/Ombudsman Annual event has only immigration lawyers or company representatives as the only “stakeholders”. Why common immigrants or Americans are not considered “stakeholders”? Are common people not allowed to participate in public debate? And when I tried to speak up that throughout the event, no one in the room brought up “displacement of American worker”, “exploitation and abuses of immigrants” or that “immigrants have fewer rights”, DHS officials tried to shut me down even though they would let some immigration lawyer break the rule set by moderator and ask 3-4 questions.

          The upcoming AC21 rule will give some ability for immigrants with approved immigrant petition to change jobs. But we see that immigration lawyers and companies are trying to kill or water down this fix. What are the authorities going to do to help the One Million plus people stuck in Green Card backlogs – people with fewer rights – hanging in there – in great emotional and financial stress – costing American jobs? What has USCIS been doing for the last 10 plus years while this human tragedy has been unfolding? Don’t they read the letters we send them? Why are Immigration Lawyers asking questions designed to get USCIS/DHS to say that an Immigration Petition does not belong to the Immigrant? Why is the AC21 rule taking so long?

          After sitting through a day of immigration lawyers, employers and the government pat each other on the back for their success in exploiting the system – these were my thoughts and questions to the Panel and the Audience.

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          • Actually, the SCE and Disney H-1Bs have much more in rights than do the ones hired by Google, Cisco, Oracle and so on, because the SCE and Disney workers almost certainly are not sponsored for green cards. What entraps the workers is green card sponsorship. And the employers love this entrapment, as I’ve said. It’s for this reason that I’ve argued that Google etc. abuse the system more than Infosys et al do.

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  8. Why leave it as an “unnamed newspaper”?
    Did you somehow promise or imply confidentiality in the exchange?
    Even if you feel the need to cloak your emails in implied confidentiality (which I perhaps understand the desire to get frank personal exchange – but still, it should only be confidential when that is made explicit), I might guess that maybe this reporter is so brazen in their views, they might give permission to publish if you asked. At least it might force them to acknowledge there is a problem with their viewpoint if they had to answer NO to your notifying them that you will publish their remark as on the record unless they object.

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    • My understanding is that if one talks to a journalists, one’s statements may be freely quoted by the journalist unless one proactively asks that the statements be kept private. This reporter knows that I write a blog, pen op-eds and so on — so I’m a journalist too, and could identify her and her newspaper if I chose to. But I don’t choose to do so.

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  9. Professor Matloff,

    The mainstream media – especially that on the left, has been a horrible gong show on this issue. Regardless of the issue at hand, they start labeling people as xenophobic, hateful, racist etc.

    While it may not seem connected, I think that Ann Coulter’s book on immigration this year started a much wider movement. The media refused to even interview her much less debate the topics.

    L1 / H1-B is not the same as illegal immigration – it’s worse. The mechanics of moving all of the levers in this system is done with the blessing and sanctioning of the government. Everything thus, that follows is swept under the rug: degree mills in india, stuffing of the H1-B application box by the likes of Infosys and Tata, H4 EADs, and the work permits handed to students.

    The base of the Republican party may manhandle a few senators into appearing sympathetic to their cause and thus some of the abuses of the letter soup of work visas will be addressed.
    The Democrats will fight every one of the reforms screeching their nails and kicking and screaming all the way just like they did with Kate’s law and defunding of sanctuary cities.

    Every time I travel to the US or Canada, I have to declare the value of goods I am bringing with me. The biggest hypocrisy of the corporate world is that they want me to purchase goods locally at the higher, inflated price yet be allowed to hack off my hands, in essence by bringing my competition in the tens of thousands.

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  10. Some surprising aspects of the Rubio article:
    1- Contrary to his fresh-faced, fair-haired boy image, Rubio is apparently just another bought elected hypocrite sleaze-ball.
    2 – Trump doesn’t sound quite so crazy when noting Rubio’s dubious support.
    3 – Some of the MSMs do do fairly well exposing Rubio’s dark underside. It is ironic that the MSMs use “oligarch” like a dirty word when describing Russian politics, but are silent about our home-grown American oligarchs.

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  11. Two things come to mind when reading all of these comments:

    1. The reporters are going to adopt the philosophy of their corporate owners. If we want an honest debate by the people of America, we must step up to the plate and put together videos showing what is happening and pay for them to be run on the top 2 or 3 tv channels. Case in point is this article:

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/sessions-said-he-believes-that-immigration-and-trade-have-not-been-thoroughly-discussed-in-the-debates-because-the-owners-of-the-media-networks-are-themselves-globalists-who-want-more-open-borders-and/

    2. It is NOT just the IT industry that is being hit hard.
    It is Americans in every job that pays above $50,000.00 per year, and if we lose this war, it will be every job from top to bottom as they grow even more brazen.

    Study the areas shaded in green.
    If you don’t understand it, email me at vbiersch@gmail.com and I will answer your questions.

    We must come together as one, put aside our differences, and pony up the money if we want to play in this poker game that is being played with our lives and ante up.

    The people of America will not wake up if we do not educate them in their local papers and on their local tv stations.

    1 million of us putting up $100.00 each is a lot of money and will buy a lot of advertising space.

    To blame the corporations that own the msm who actively endorse globalization is nothing but whining.

    United We Stand
    Divided We Fall

    It really is that simple.

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  12. I consider my self a progressive and a liberal and subscribe to the MSM, for the past year and a half I started a FB page Save American Information Technology Jobs to track and follow the H1-B, F-1 OPT and Outsourcing issues since the summer of 2014. The site is an academic repository and a rant. Now suddenly I am posting Brietbart.

    I CANNOT BELIEVE IT THAT I AM SO POSTING SO MANY BRIETBART T_PARTY ARTICLES!.

    I am not a happy camper about the MSM and suspect corporate America behind the scenes blocking these supposedly FREE PRESS MEDIA, keeping the lid on H-1B coverage. Ignorance is not an issue now, this thing has been in the debate and on the front burner. No more excuses MSM.

    Your readers please take a look look at the community page Save American Information Technology Jobs and its timeline regarding H1-B, F-1 OPT and Outsourcing @: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-American-Information-Technology-Jobs/256809727849073

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