Thanks, Beryl Lieff Benderly, for her article on the erroneous notion that the US suffers a shortage of STEM workers (“It doesn’t add up,” CJR, May/June). I have worked in IT for nearly 40 years, and although I’m nearing retirement, I keep fighting the guest-worker program (H1-B) with my senator and congressman. Our government is allowing corporations to fill challenging jobs with cheap labor. The guest-worker program was designed to bring over from other countries their “best and brightest”; instead, we are bringing over sub-par workers at a discount. There is no shortage of qualified college grads, and we should put them to work before resorting to hiring guest workers. Unfortunately, my argument keeps falling on deaf ears.
Comment posted on CJR.org
Congratulations again to Beryl Benderly on another terrific piece that exposes the obvious truth, when most of the press is mesmerized by PR nonsense from the tech giants.
New York, NY
I’m not in the STEM field, so I really appreciate Beryl Benderly’s careful marshaling of the facts and avoidance of inflammatory remarks or exaggeration. Her article is a valuable contribution toward understanding an issue of major importance for stem professionals and for our country.
George A. Goldberg
Santa Monica, CA
The majority of our engineers beyond their mid-40s are now either unemployed or underemployed. Half of our nation’s graduates with STEM degrees are unable to find work in STEM fields. Yet 30 to 50 percent of all new IT jobs go to foreigners on temporary US work visas.
These facts are well known in corporate boardrooms. But cheap labor has been a boon to their profits (at a six-decade high and massively profitable to foreign interests—the top 10 users are off-source, outsourcing companies with six headquartered in India).
Tens of thousands have written their representatives; many have testified; and every unbiased study has proven that corporate claims of “skilled labor shortage” are a lie; and that there is indeed an abundance of Americans with every bit of smarts, skills, and education to fill any and all job openings.
Over-50, unemployed engineer
In “The back page” by Jeffrey Robinson (CJR, May/June), we had it wrong: Murray Weiss didn’t begin his career at the International Herald Tribune, but at the New York Herald Tribune. And in “Streams of consciousness” by Ben Adler (CJR, May/June), ABC News is a client of Storyful, not NBC News.
Notes from our online readers
In early June, CJR science news reporter Curtis Brainard wrote a piece that praised Discover Magazine blogger Keith Kloor for forging a beat out of noting when media publish work that misleadingly calls genetically modified food dangerous. Some GMOs, Brainard said, have been deemed safe by the likes of the World Health Organization. “The media have stoked irrational distrust of science in many fields over the years, from vaccines to climate change,” Brainard wrote. “But today, such fear-mongering is most evident in the coverage of genetically modified foods, with many journalists turning people against them.” He lauded Kloor for pieces about The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and The Guardian. Readers responded:
I’m glad to have someone taking a harder look at this topic. But I wish there were more people doing it regularly. Plant-science facts are as important as climate-science facts as far as I’m concerned, but get a lot less ink (or electrons, I suppose). —Mary
Kloor is not interested in the science or journalism on the issue of GMOs. He consistently pollutes the Internet with false, misleading, and biased information from biased sources. In the past year, he hasn’t published a single article representing the public-health community and public-health concerns of this technology. Instead, he consistently gives the microphone to industrial PR reps of agricultural interests and other junk scientists advocating for industrial GMOs. If Kloor is your idea of good science journalism, you are supportive of blatantly biased journalism, corruption of the media with marketing propaganda, and censorship. —dogctor
Your assessment of Kloor is right on. He plays a vital role in calling other journalists to task when they focus their coverage on a tiny fraction of fringe scientists, rather than the scientific mainstream and vast majority of scientific research which finds currently approved GMOs safe. We should all hope for better journalism that captures the state of scientific debates (including the weight of evidence on each side) rather than amplifying scary yet discredited findings. —Ramez Naam