No, wait, wait! Don’t jump to the conclusion that my posting title above is sarcastic. On the contrary, as I’ve said a number of times in the past, I believe that most journalists do try to be fair. There are other obstacles to accurate reporting — lack of depth, susceptibility to PR fallacies, a self-confessed innumeracy and so on — but they generally do try.
Sadly, a report by the Bay Area NBC station on Trump and the H-1B work visa is a clear exception. Its message is that Trump’s criticism of H-1B is NOT shared by the very people he claims to be protecting, American tech workers.
“Techies disagree with Trump [on H-1B],” the reporter tells us — and then offers as “proof” a techie CEO. Yes, CEOs do like to hire H-1Bs for cheap, immobile labor; we all know that. But this news report doesn’t have any comments at all from actual techies, i.e. engineers or programmers.
Instead, the report includes an interview with Melinda Jackson, a poli sci professor at San Jose State University, in which she “explains” that Trump’s criticism of H-1B is pure nativism, rather than there being genuine problems with the visa. The mere fact that the reporter sought Jackson’s opinion reflects the reporter’s preconceived views of the issue, I believe.
And what about that CEO who was interviewed? He claims that his company just can’t hire in this “hot” job market. Well, his firm, Vectra, lists a couple of open positions, one for a Platform Engineer and the other in Quality Assurance. The latter is quite generic, certainly not needing an H-1B, and while the latter is more specialized, I know of people who would qualify.
As many of you know, I have had my own problems with Trump regarding H-1B (along quite different lines), but this news report is a travesty.