Does Parroting Lobbyists Constitute 'News analysis'?

By John Miano on May 2, 2011

This week provided a wonderful example of why public funding for NPR should be cut off.

In the tech industry it has become routine for Americans to be replaced by lower-paid foreign workers on H-1B visas. The repeating pattern is for the U.S. employer to contract with an H-1B bodyshop to supply labor to replace its American workers. The U.S. employer then requires its American workers train their foreign replacements.

Recent examples of companies following this model include Pfizer and A.C. Nielsen.

I personally managed to dodge being replaced by H-1B workers. However, I did see the process at work firsthand at one company (Dun & Bradstreet) and in the aftermath at another (AIG). My next door neighbor was replaced by H-1B workers at SeaLand. In fact, while at Dun & Bradstreet, I encountered a programmer who was training his foreign replacement for the second time, having endured the same process at AIG a few years earlier.

This week, those of us who have seen the devastation brought on by the H-1B program were treated to an analysis by NPR Senior News Analyst Cokie Roberts. Ms. Roberts states boldly:

More important, the unions and their allies on the left continue to argue that foreign workers displace Americans and drive down wages. But that's simply not true.

Imagine being one of the Americans who has been displaced by H-1B workers and reading that. Either Ms. Roberts statement that foreign workers do not displace Americans is a deliberate lie or Ms. Roberts simply has no clue. It is probably the latter, as Roberts reveals the source for her data:

There are not enough native-born Americans to staff the high-tech sector. A recent report by the TechAmerica Foundation showed that a sizable majority of recent doctorates in math (54 percent), computer science (60 percent) and engineering (65 percent) went to foreign-born grad students.

And another Roberts source:

Bruce Morrison, a former congressman who now lobbies for a high-tech trade association…

Has Roberts talked to any of the American workers who have been replaced by U.S. workers? Has Roberts looked at any of the academic studies on the state of the tech job market? Has Roberts looked at any of the government reports on the H-1B program?

Apparently not.

Washington insider Roberts' news analysis consists entirely of parroting talking points fed by Washington lobbyists.

If that's that the level of work product of a news analyst at NPR, save my tax dollars, please.