Level-Headedness 101: How to Be Heard on the H-1B Question

Don Tennant

One of the things I've found as I write about the controversy surrounding the H-1B visa program is that there appears to be something of an urban legend that the CEOs of technology companies, many of whom are among the strongest advocates of the program, argue that American engineers tend to be less qualified than foreign engineers.


To be clear, the legend isn't that American engineers are less qualified; the legend is that tech CEOs claim that they are to justify the need for H-1B visa holders.


I have no idea how this particular legend gained any traction, because I've talked to a lot of tech CEOs about this, and I can't remember any of them contending any such thing. They argue that the H-1B program is needed to ensure that we have a deep pool of technology talent, but they don't argue that U.S. workers are inferior in some way.


It's interesting that Dr. Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis and one of the most vocal H-1B opponents around, hasn't seen any such contention, either. "As far as I know," he wrote in an e-mail several days ago, "no tech CEO has claimed that the technical quality of American engineers is lower than that of foreign ones." What's even more interesting is a survey Matloff cited, which, he noted, "said the opposite." That survey was prepared by none other than Vivek Wadhwa.


Now, I had never even heard of Wadhwa before I began writing on this topic here about a month ago, but I soon learned that he's seen as an arch-villain by the more reckless element within the anti-H-1B crowd (the fact that he was born in India doesn't help). I've also learned that he's a senior research associate at Harvard Law School and Executive in Residence at Duke University, and that he's written extensively on the topics of what he calls "skilled immigration" and the global technology workforce.


The research that Matloff cited was a 2006 study that Wadhwa authored with two other Duke University scholars, "Industry Trends in Engineering Offshoring." Matloff excerpted two paragraphs from the study in his e-mail to me:

"On the question what capabilities do your U.S. engineers have that make it advantageous to keep their jobs in the U.S.,' the response was that U.S. engineers have a very good understanding of U.S. consumer needs, culture, business, and better communication and interpersonal skills. Respondents also stated that U.S. engineers were more creative, excelled in problem solving, risk taking, networking and had strong analytical skills. In addition they could work on high security applications and had the advantage of proximity to resources."


"When asked to compare the productivity of the engineering workforce between their U.S and offshore facilities, 37% of respondents stated that U.S. engineering employees are more productive, while 24% stated that U.S. and offshore engineering teams are equivalent in terms of productivity. We also asked companies to compare the quality of engineering work between their U.S. and offshore facilities. Our pool of respondents was broken down as follows: 38% said their U.S. engineering employees produced higher quality work, 40% reported that work quality was equivalent between U.S. and offshore facilities, and 1% reported that their company's offshore engineering employees produce higher quality work."

While Matloff's e-mail was informative, what was really significant about it was the example he set by his willingness to cite the research of someone whose views on offshoring and the H-1B visa program are almost diametrically opposed to his own. Wadhwa's "survey was well designed and is a good contribution to the discussion," Matloff wrote in the e-mail.


This is why Matloff is such a highly-respected voice on the anti-H-1B side of the debate. This is why his voice is heard by policymakers. The case against H-1B fraud and abuse needs to be heard, and it will be if it's made by people who choose reason, decency and facts over mean-spiritedness, personal attacks and reckless accusations. The noble effort to fix the H-1B problem will be dismissed as the ranting of a lunatic fringe for as long as the rants muffle the voice of reason. Matloff is to be admired for his leadership in the effort, but as capable as he is, he can't do it alone.

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Jan 6, 2010 2:54 AM POed Lib POed Lib  says:

The problem with this "level-headedness" thing is that, when people try to be level-headed and reasonable, the other side (the pro-H-1B) side always demands more and more H-1B visas.  I would be level-headed (I am in a position in which I might have the opportunity to hire H-1Bs), but am unwilling to be so, since the pro-H-1B side is simply not level-headed.  That is, the "level-headedness" arguement is basically asking for a concession from the anti-H-1B side which will lead to more H-1B visas.

In negotiation, you must start off in a more extreme position.  When have the pro-H-1B folks EVER argued level-headedly, in which the result might be a reduction or elimination of the program?  Answer: Never.

This produces a more and more extreme response from my side, the anti-H-1B side. 

So, Don, find a pro-H-1B who is willing to argue "level-headedly".  Get Larry Ellison to concede that, yes, H-1Bs have led to the reduction in jobs for Americans.  Get the pro-H-1Bs to argue fairly, and you will find more fair arguments from my side.  Until then, your request is basically asking for unilateral disarmament.  Why should we anti-H-1Bs go that route?

Jan 6, 2010 3:19 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to POed Lib

One question: So how's that non-level-headed route working out for you so far?

Jan 6, 2010 3:29 AM POed Lib POed Lib  says: in response to Don Tennant

Ask Durbin, Sanders and Grassley.  We have swung 3 Senators to our side from all 3 parties in the Senate.  We have some House members. 

We also are beginning to get the message out.  And more and more people are beginning to realize what a bad situation there is out there in the IT world. 

So, while it is not 100% effective, some progress is being made.  If the Dems try immigration reform this year (which looks pretty unlikely), you can expect a LOT of screaming from my side.  Because this is about peoples' lives, careers, and livelihoods.  Imagine if YOU did not have a job, and your wife had just been laid off (as she had). You and her would be more than a little annoyed, and probably would NOT be "level-headed".

Much as I respect Norm (who I know personally), he has an advantage that many on my side do not have.  He is a tenured professor of IT.  Admittedly, he is at UC-Davis, which is another story.  But he has the luxury of being in a position where he can be dispassionate and measured.  Many cannot. 

Suggestion for you, Don: Do a column about new college grads with IT degrees from US Universities like MIT.  For instance, Kim Berry's daughter.  She has a brand new IT degree from MIT, and has not found a job.  Meanwhile, we have 85,000 H-1Bs in THIS YEAR ALONE. 

Why not do a fair ANTI-H-1B column.  You are just another collaborator with the job thieves as far as I can tell.

Jan 6, 2010 3:48 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to POed Lib

Because I'm not anti-H-1B. I'm anti-H-1B fraud and abuse. I'm anti-hate and anti-recklessness and anti-personal-attack. I write about this topic because I believe strongly that the only way to end H-1B fraud and abuse is to lose the recklessness and personal attacks first. If you disagree, that's fine. But I'm trying to get people to understand that the reckless accusations and personal attacks -- like calling me a "collaborator with job thieves" because I advocate level-headedness -- is hurting your cause, not helping it. It depicts you as uncontrolled and irresponsible, and trust me, nobody in a position to change things for the better is going to be influenced positively by that.

Jan 6, 2010 3:51 AM POed Lib POed Lib  says: in response to Don Tennant

Well, Don, you are a collaborator.  You are paid by this magazine.  If you were a "level-headed contributor", you would write columns from both perspectives.  But you have not. I don't accuse you of being a collaborator because I am reckless, nasty, or unfair.  I accuse you of that because, Don, it is the truth.  If you were even-handed, you would write columns from both perspectives.  You don't do that, Don.  So, by your own work-product, it is clear what side you are on.

Jan 6, 2010 4:01 AM POed Lib POed Lib  says:

A wonderful example of the bias, total H-1b-centric approach that this magazine takes is the piece by Ann All


Here, she discusses "alternatives to H-1B visas"  What a wonderful title! I clicked, thinking "Possibly Ann, a reckless and biased H-1B proponent, might consider fewer H-1B visas".  But SILLY RABBIT! Jobs are for Foreigners.  Her ENTIRE PIECE was about getting MORE VISAS.

Let me spell it out very clearly:  Her "alternative to the H-1B" is MORE FOREIGN IT WORKERS, under DIFFERENT MECHANISMS.  A rational person not ENTIRELY BOUGHT OFF might say "How about hiring some Americans as an alternative to the H-1B?"  Of course, she interviewed an immigration attorney, whose professional job it is to bring in more foreign workers in the light of our 10% unemployment.

So, Don, this is why many of us become extremely irate.  The bias in your writing is simply beyond obvious. 

My challenge to you, Don: Write an anti-H-1B piece.  I doubt you can get it thru your editors, however, since the rule at "IT Business edge" today is "more cheap foreign labor".

Jan 6, 2010 4:04 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to POed Lib

A blog posting is an opinion piece. I am contributing my opinion, and providing a forum for those who disagree with me to contribute their opinions in the hope of generating a healthy discussion that will bring about positive change. Writing an opinion piece from a perspective that is not my own and that does not genuinely, honestly reflect my own opinion would be deceptive and hypocritical, so it's unclear to me why you would suggest it.

Jan 6, 2010 4:08 AM AccuracyIT AccuracyIT  says:

There's an now familiar underlying suggestion here by Mr. Tennant that those opposing H-1B visas are misleading themselves, this time with legends.  A couple of weeks back we were subject to a "hang up" over those visas.  And today its a matter of "Level-Headedness".  There's a constant pattern, a drip, drip, drip, of needless controversy that opponents to H-1B visas are lacking in good sense.

Its as if he's saying that since the phrase "hang up" didn't work well, as seen in the 100% negative responses he received, he'll just try another door.

Sadly, Mr. Tennant stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that Americans have been and continue to be replaced by cheap/docile foreign labor on H-1B visas, and that is their purpose.  The sad part is that Mr. Tennant, while claiming to be a "journalist", has done no research at all on the topic of H-1Bs.  And today's entry is not the first time he offers this journalistic error.  Quite the contrary, its a now established pattern.

Real journalists take pride in their work and have the professional integrity to understand there's 2 sides to every story and show those 2 sides.  In this one he talks about his experience discussing H-1Bs with CEOs, yet he offers nothing from workers and doesn't seek a response from either WashTech or the Programmers Guild.   And while bringing Norman Matloff helps he doesn't represent established organizations such as WashTech.  What you have is yet another one-sided article by Mr. Tennant offering nothing more than his opinion.  That is acceptable for a pundit but certainly not so for a true journalist.

Even more sad is he will choose to view this posting NOT as being critical of his work, but rather, a personal flame and then we get to read how postings like this are not constructive.   But it is.  It should be shaming Mr. Tennant into dropping his "journalist" cover and putting on his "pundit" hat for everyone to see.

Mr. Tennant is turning into the Rush Limbaugh of the IT world:  needless controversy just to keep people tuned in.

Jan 6, 2010 4:24 AM Tom Tom  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don, you have it backwards

you say that citizen tech workers are not hear becasue they're angry, but the truth is they're angry becasue they will not be heard

many citizens started out this cause with endless patience (and I'm still polite when approaching officials), but it's worn thin after more than a decade of raw corruption

Look at the youtube of this senate hearing in 2007.  a hearing on h-1bs, with ONE witness, Bill Gates, the 2nd largest user of h-1b visas this year, and the richest man in the world at the time (if not now)


you see Norm Matloff (a great guy)anywhere in this hearing?  Is he absent becasue he lost his manners that day?

anger has always been the result of this level of arrogance - i hope that never changes

let go of the sock, little chihuahua

Jan 6, 2010 7:26 AM AccuracyIT AccuracyIT  says: in response to Don Tennant

There is a website that is searchable allowing you to view the LCA (Labor Condition Application) data for H-1B requests.  Remember you can search the database, and the meaning of that is for any company of your choice you can see WHEN they imported H-1Bs, for what price they claim they will pay, and the frequency within the year selected.  And it goes back several years.

For example: did you know that Microsoft (Tom talked about them) has 4,188 requests just for 2008?

And get this:  one LCA (H-1B requesting document) can request more than one H-1B worker, which means just because they have 4,188 requests that doesn't mean its limited to that number, it could be more, and its not uncommon for one LCA to request as much as 10 H-1Bs. 

Getting curious?  Use this link and see the data:


Check out Tata Consulting and Wipro Consulting.

Its a great way to shut up the propagandists who claim companies are not importing cheap/docile labor.

Jan 6, 2010 7:32 AM Blue Blue  says:

Don, why are deleting thought out, accurate posts? Perhaps you only want to keep posts you believe  'prove' your point of how evil unemployed, borderline homeless, programmers are?  You have sunk to a new low.   Don, you are in no position to lecture anyone on civility.

Jan 6, 2010 7:42 AM Blue Blue  says: in response to Blue

But I will agree with you on one point, blaming Indians or H1bs themselves is very wrong.  They are not to blame and are good people.    It is the politicians that intentionally set loop holes in the laws  and the companies that abuse which are to blame.  But constantly hammering some of these down and out individuals whom have been victims of this corrupt system is a low blow.  I think you know what you are doing, and you are trying to bring out these posts.

Jan 6, 2010 9:03 AM EngiNERD EngiNERD  says:

In  reality he  who  shouts   loudest gets  heard!

It just  now engineers   -   tech  professionals have  found out to make a  fuss gets  one  heard.  Sadly  much of this is  now  going over the  top  and percieved as xenophobic,  racist,   Maybe too  extreme. But after following the  skilled worker   shortage crapolla and the H-1b  issue for upwards of twenty year yes - 20 years it is just now that it seems to be on the radar of some  journalists.

For some reading  you should check

How Engineers Can Fight Back

As outsourcing turns a once-secure career option into a roll of the dice, it's time for engineers to lose their political inhibitions.


Jan 6, 2010 9:50 AM Blue Blue  says: in response to Don Tennant

Actually, the level headed approach basically got us 200,000 + h1bs per year the past decade; a decade in which we had negative job growth.  Politicians seem to respond more to angry shouts than quiet, yet thoughtful, dissent.  Even though I do not agree with some of the rhetoric, it seems to be working.  Most politicians are currently weary, if not down right worried about losing elections, over offshoring / outsourcing visas.   I don't see any 200,000 + h1b legislation getting anywhere now.

Jan 6, 2010 9:55 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Blue

I don't know why you're accusing me of deleting a post, but I did no such thing. I am unaware of any post that has ever been deleted since I began blogging on this site.

Jan 6, 2010 10:33 AM numen numen  says: in response to Don Tennant

It's easy to be against H1B "fraud and abuse" when that's a barely perceptible problem.  Like telling a condemned guy you are very much against the straps chafing his arms...  You are smart enough to realize those you shill for are large enough corporations that they can hire lawyers to use the visas to replace any number of older, experienced Americans with young, cheap foreing labor without ever violating any laws. 

And you are smart enough to know the only folks green enough to commit fraud are those who companies who are small and inexperienced in using all the loopholes deliberately designed into the guestworker visa system.  So you get to pretend to be on the side of goodness, when you are just trying to help your owners get rid of their smaller, more agile competitors.  Rather like a corrupt, drug-dealing police officer going after drug dealers, but only those who are competing against him for the same turf.

As Accuracy said, you could be a journalist with ethical standards, and actually look at the viewpoint of both sides.  But instead you only show the views of those who support your employer. To be expected, surely, but please don't expect to get any applause for moral courage.

Jan 7, 2010 1:34 AM Tunnel Rat Tunnel Rat  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don, your days of shilling for India, Inc. are soon to be over.  The Apex Technology Group case is blowing up all over the internet, and your silence is deafening. 

So is your silence about Vision Systems, another bodyshop...

And Infosys gloating about American layoffs and abusing an American citizen Indian worker, now going to trail...

American techies are standing up to you and your pro-H-1B sponsors, and you, Ann Al, and the rest of the cheerleaders for a corrupt and fraud-ridden program will soon be writing copy for the PennySaver, if you are lucky.

Good riddance,  and I hope your wife never works another day in her life and your children are blackmailed into training their Indian replacement, like so many American STEM pros have been.

You people are just lucky we won't treat you folks like they did the collaborators after WWII and cut your hair off in public, although you never know.

But we are too busy tracking down the shady Desi bodyshops and reporting all phony H-1Bs to the DOL to worry about your kind.

In fact, I had the pleasure of decimating an HCL (one of your sponsors, no doubt) refugee in a interview recently, a typical 25-yr old fraud, probably out of status, who was lingering here in America, trying to pass himself off as a certified Oracle developer, with supposed experience at AIG, a company that got TARP money.  I almost made the marble-mouthed retard cry when I exposed him as a fake who couldn't even write a query to get the current date.

There are literally millions like him in the job market, depressing our wages and destroying our economy.  Indians are now make up the second largest group of illegal aliens.


Jan 7, 2010 2:48 AM Don Don  says: in response to Don Tennant

Don, in your bazzarre obcession with comments on message boards from the fringe, you're putting forth the notion that journalists have no obligation to print the truth unless it is presented to them in a manner they approve of.

I thought they were just supposed to go out and find the truth, period?

In an obcessive fishing expedition series of articles, you've managed to smoke out a few un-PC comments from people who've had their career unjustly destroyed.

What does that prove, other than you being incredibly biased and intelectually lazy?

Jan 7, 2010 4:21 AM Concerned Citizen Concerned Citizen  says: in response to Tunnel Rat

I dont like you Don, you have no morals, no respect for your fellow Americans, and no self esteem.

It must really suck to be you. Grow some balls and get a real job, FLAMER

Jan 7, 2010 5:11 AM Tom Tom  says: in response to Don

(typo, my post that I'm responding to was supposed to be Tom, not Don)

Don, while you've  been writing this series of about 5 articles in the last month, on the same topic over an over, articles have come out in other media that there's

- a new immigration bill with a huge H-1b increase, in record unemployement

- another article about a judge shutting down 3 anti-h-1b web sites (outside of the judges jurisiction)

-an article showing that most h-1bs are below the age of 35

yet, you write article after article about people's anti-h-1b comments on messageboards

you are a BOZO

Jan 7, 2010 5:17 AM GetReal GetReal  says:


American CEOs (e.g. Gates) lobby intensively via un-think tanks, trade groups, in person to Congress etc. to increase H1B visas.  They claim that there are not enough qualified Americans to fill IT, Software Engineering or EE jobs.  You don't have to be a genius to see that THERE IS NO SHORTAGE of qualified Americans in these fields.  Yet H1Bs are mostly used in these fields.  See http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9139095/Software_engineering_jobs_decline_slightly for unemployment numbers from last Oct.  Analysts and Computer scientists had an unemployment rate of 7.3% that month.  Any level headed person can see that with that kind of unemployment there is not shortage of qualified Americans.

Support the Programmersguild call to end the H1B program for high-tech jobs while so many of your fellow citizens are out of work.  The H1B program is so broken that it should be abandoned and a more rational one put in its place that truly allows immigration of those around the world that fill a nitch where there are no qualified Americans.

What ever happened to investigative journalism where these kinds of frauds are exposed and reported to the American people?  Its shameful for anyone, especially in this time of high unemployment, to support guest workers taking jobs away from Americans.  It is morally reprehensible.

Jan 7, 2010 10:11 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Tunnel Rat

As much as I wish nobody had to be exposed to this kind of hate-speak, it's important that it be read so that everyone understands the problem.

Jan 8, 2010 11:17 AM Kim Berry - Programmers Guild Kim Berry - Programmers Guild  says:

Hi Don,

You wrote: "I'm not anti-H-1B. I'm anti-H-1B fraud and abuse."

Generally "fraud," such as using H-1b to bring in unskilled workers, doesn't harm U.S. IT workers since the "fraud" visa holders don't displace us. It is the "legitimate" H-1b holders that are displacing Americans. (There is some "fraud" of benching and paying below market wage. But "fraud" implies "illegal." And "illegal" use is a miniscule part of the problem.)

That leaves "ABUSE." What do you consider "abuse" of the H-1b program?

a) Is Indian-run bodyshops that hire amost exclusively fellow Indians on H-1b "abuse"?

b) Is paying H-1b programmers in silicon valley $55k "abuse" when average skilled American programs in the same region earn $75k?

c) Is hiring a lower skilled H-1b consultant over higher skilled American consultants "abuse" - when the H-1b's bill rate is below market?

d) Is flooding in another 65,000 H-1b workers even when unemployment is 12% in silicon valley "abuse"?

e) Is sponsoring thousands of H-1b workers in the same year as you lay off several thousand highly skilled American workers - such as Microsoft did last year - "abuse"

f) Is a visa that allows foreigners to sponsor their fellow foreigners for U.S. citizenship "abuse"? (Did you know that under U.S. law citizens of foreign countries can sponsor each other for green cards - which is effectively U.S. citizenship?)

THE ABOVE IS WHAT H-1B IS ALL ABOUT! Anyone who says "I'm not opposed to the H-1b program" supports the above. If none of the above were allowed it would be the "H-1b program." Industry would go bizerk if Congress tried to prohibit the above "abuses."

Jan 8, 2010 11:33 AM Kim Berry - Programmers Guild Kim Berry - Programmers Guild  says:

Hi Don,

IMHO the Programmers Guild, which is perhaps THE key organization opposing H-1b, has been taking a level-headed approach for reforms for the past decade.

You can see the reforms we call for in our FACT SHEETS that were posted a year ago:


We followed with a press release. NO media covered our call for reforms.

On December 5, 2009 Vivek Wadhwa posted "The Startup Visa And Why The Xenophobes Need To Go Back Into Their Caves."  We followed with set of rational reasons why Vivek's "startup visa" was flawed:


Yet NO MEDIA that reports on the startup visa reports both sides.

You mention that Vivek "senior research associate at Harvard Law School and Executive in Residence at Duke University, and that he's written extensively on the topics of what he calls 'skilled immigration' and the global technology workforce."

Do titles impress you?

I suspect I know more about H-1b laws, uses, and abuses, than Bill Gates does. But when Congress wants to hear about H-1b, they only call in Bill Gates.

In H-1b articles the media gives more weight to the statements of corporate PR personnel and paid lobbyists than to activists such as myself. WHY? At the core I'm doing this for no pay on my own time, whereas PR persons and lobbyists are "paid professional liars." If the cigarette industry hired these people the would be arguing tomorrow that "there is no proven link between cancer and our natural products."

A key proponent of H-1b is AILA. Why? Programmers earn $30/hour while attorneys earn $200/hour. If supply/demand is setting wages, one would think we have a shortage of attorneys - yet AILA attorneys NEVER call for more "best and brightest" attorney immigrants.

Jan 8, 2010 11:48 AM Kim Berry - Programmers Guild Kim Berry - Programmers Guild  says:

Hi Don,

Industry does argue that H-1b are more qualified and essential than their U.S. tech workers. You never hear industry claim that "every American tech worker causes another five jobs to be created." Industry claims that H-1b workers have skills that Americans do not - they argue that H-1b "complements" rather than competes with skilled Americans:


'We are going to need to continue to bring in that kind of extraordinary talent,' Microsoft's Smith said. 'We're not talking quantitatively about a large number, but we are talking qualitatively about people who boost economic competitiveness.'

Most experts dispute the idea that a gain in H-1Bs is a loss for American workers. These are visas that work to complement the U.S. workforce. In fact, a study by the National Foundation for American Policy shows that for every H-1B position another five jobs are created.

Jan 8, 2010 12:28 PM Shawn Gibson Shawn Gibson  says: in response to Don Tennant

Indian Bodyshop Apex Suing US Government...

...and our tax dollar are paying for their lawyers.

This is why Janet Napolitano can't defend our country -- SHE IS TOO BUSY DEFENDING HERSELF FROM LAWSUITS BY APEX TECHNOLOGY GROUP.

Read the absurd lawsuit here:



Jan 9, 2010 2:39 AM Common Sense Common Sense  says: in response to Kim Berry - Programmers Guild

The argument is not who is superior.  The real argument is who is cheaper.  You cannot expect people to not be upset when they are paying taxes to support a system that destroys their livelihood by flooding the market with cheap labor.

Jan 10, 2010 7:51 AM Peter Peter  says: in response to Common Sense

There is absolutely no shortage of engineers in the USA.  Have any of these people supporting the shortage theory tried looking for a job? If you do you will very quickly realize that there is a huge surplus of engineers caused by the Indian influx that began in large scale in the mid 1990's.

In England they have realized what is happening with influx from India. They have just decided that except for chemical end civil engineers there is no shortage and that visas for Indian migrant IT engineers should be limited.  Also they are planning  to remove any eligibility for permanent settlement of people who come as students or migrant labor.

Indian have been going to Australia in large numbers in recent years and then staying.  The resentment in Australia is so high that over the last year there has been violence against Indians. Some have even been killed.  The Indian government has a travel advisory against Indians going to Australia.

India needs to create its own jobs so that people do not have to go to other countries and usurp jobs using schemes such as H-1b.

Jan 12, 2010 6:51 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

re: "A blog posting is an opinion piece"

Just curious, many journalists (like Tom Brokaw for example) would never allow their personal belief to be known - in any format.  His views are more open now that he is retired, but as we all know once guarded.

Is the decision to blog or not by journalists an ethical decision, career decision, or simply a personal decision?  Wondering what journalists think of the subject.  Are there rules or guidelines for journalists to follow when venturing outside of true journalism?  Should you put disclaimer on your blog saying "these are my opinions"?  Or should the reader just be aware of the context?

Personally, I don't think it is safe to assume the reader knows the context of what you say (opinion, or reporting).  Also, there is the issue of you being used as a source. 

Jan 12, 2010 7:13 AM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to R. Lawson

The debate over whether journalists should express their opinions in general, and blog in particular, was fairly active a few years ago, but I think now it's pretty much a given that it's a mainstay of journalism (Google 'should journalists blog' and you'll see what I mean). I'm sort of old-school, and it took me a while to come around, but it's just another fact of life. Journalism, like everything else, is changing and evolving in an online world, and journalists doing opinion pieces is a generally accepted practice. What's essential, of course, is that it's always clear what's opinion and what's not. I'm comfortable that there is a general understanding that blogs, by their very nature, are commentary.

Jan 12, 2010 10:06 AM R. Lawson R. Lawson  says: in response to Don Tennant

The more I think about it, journalists who blog are actually more honest than journalists who don't.  The reason I say this is because everyone has biases.  Tom Brokaw didn't reveal his - so although he spoke with "authority" people were also not aware of what part of the story was influenced by his bias, if any.

When you blog on the H-1b visa, or any other topic, readers know your personal beliefs.  So we can detect impartiality more easily in your journalism.  This fact is why journalists who blog should have even greater pressure to be impartial.

I think, if you have that pressure, it will make you an even better journalist.  Nobody is perfect, but maybe it's an exercise that will make you better.  I found alot of journalist bloggers after I read your post - and even a site that agregates them.

Jan 14, 2010 6:33 AM Jared Jared  says:

Get ready. I have seen in just a matter of few years (actually almost 10 years, starting in 2001) how the H1-B visas have made very difficult for HW engineers to enter or remain in the field not to mention lower wages. I fled this field and moved to IT couple of years ago. Take it or leave it kind of attitude from corporations "too big to fail" when it comes to hiring domestic talent. This I predict will soon be the same in the IT field. It is not that foreign labor is more talented, is that they are locked in with the sponsor company and lets face it, it is cheap. Another very subtle development that I have notice is that fortunately for them (unfortunately for domestic talent) is that foreign workers seem to be more united and therefore bias when it comes to hiring. Many of them already hold higher titles and are hiring managers. Not surprising Bill Gates has requested more visas, it all comes down to money and cost savings. However, it is ironic and hard to believe that corporations don't seem to realize that all good things must come to an end. Low wages here (the biggest market in the world) and extremely low wages everywhere else (except Protected labor in W Europe and Japan)  in turn will bring down prices and demand for new products. We have already seen what this can bring in economic terms and sadly it may just get worse. Hopefully I am wrong. In my opinion, I think a solution like Germany's (worlds first importer/exporter) may work. I believe they require that everything into Germany is a least 30 percent German made. When was the last time you bought something made in the US?  .

Jan 16, 2010 5:54 AM James James  says:

Hey Don,

FYI it's not American CEOs running around saying Americans don't have the talent - it's Indian CEOs. You must have missed NASSCOM's Karin Karnik saying "India's engineers are better than the best Amercian engineers", or HCL's CEO saying "American grads are unemployable", or Azim Premji head of Wipro saying "America does not have the talent". Lies, every last one. And they buy PR "news" stories through people like you to push these lies as "news". Why don't you do a story on India's manipulation of American public opinion through the use of paif-for PR. Oh, I forgot, you can't can you - that might expose that people like you are really just media whores who print what they are paid to write. Do I have it right, Don? No?

In the face of all these paid-for lies that India has to pump in order to justify brining its worthless workers into the U.S., let's examine a few FACTS:

1) Nearly every company Indian workers touch dies. Every one of the following companies hired huge numbers of H-1B workers from India or offshored the jobs just before going into decline or bankrupt: Enron, GM, Sun, IBM, Microsoft, Quark, Adobe, Lehman, Bear Stearns, Vodaphone, not to mention the 12/25/05 nationwide airport shutdown which was caused by ComAir's 100% Indian IT staff.

Did you read that Don: 100% INDIAN IT STAFF. No xenophobia going on there, right? Have you even looked into any of the above to find the facts Don? It appears not.

2) In 1998 before the visa caps were raised, the U.S. economy was BOOMING out of control. A decade of importing H-1Bs has left our economy devastated. You can't dodge those facts Don.

3) Apple, which hires mostly American developers is BOOMING out of control. ALL design work and 100% of Apple's software is written in America. Apple hires maybe 10% H-1B developers tops. Did I mention Apple is booming?

Sorry Don, facts don't lie. H-1B is a disaster for America. Any "level-headed" person doesn't keep paying people who don't perform, Don. Only media loonies such as yourself continue to push for failed government programs that have proven to harm our economy.

Give up the money Don, and start to do the right thing for America.

Jan 16, 2010 5:59 AM James James  says: in response to James

Azim Premji: "America does not have the talent":


HCL CEO: "American grads are unemployable":


Go do some research Don, before you blather.

Jan 16, 2010 6:06 AM James James  says: in response to James

Facts? Reason? How about the simple fact that when Americans were running SIlicon Valley the U.S. economy was booming and now that Indian H-1Bs are running it, the place and the CA economy is a disaster? How's that for facts? Reason? Try this one on: you don't continue to pay people who don't perform. For a decade now since importing millions of H-1Bs from the THIRD WORLD, we've seen nothing but economic decline. Biggest immigration wave since 1900 and the biggest recession in 70 years. Logic would dictate then that we go back to what WAS working: Americans in IT, Indians in India, trying to be like us but failing. That's reason Don. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result. H-1B has led to decline in America for a decade, but the decade before they got here (powered by American workers) was the biggest boom in U.S. history. Hence the clear logic that we need to stop brining H-1Bs here, end the program, deport those who are still here back, and give the jobs back to American workers.

Simply reason and logic Don. If you can't follow that, you shouldn't be in a position of power in America.


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