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99 Weeks But "60 Minutes" Still Doesn't Get It
CBS "60 Minutes" aired a news report about unemployment last Sunday. They reported the sad fact that for many Americans the unemployment insurance they have relied upon is reaching its 99 week limit. The story was done in Silicon Valley, although the location turned out to be incidental.
Click this link to see both their written report and the video: "99 Weeks: When Unemployment Benefits Run Out, Scott Pelley Reports On The Growing Number of Americans Who Are Exhausting Their Benefits", Oct. 24, 2010, CBS, "60 Minutes".
The opening statement demonstrates just how out of touch the mainstream media is with reality:
"60 Minutes" and correspondent Scott Pelley went to several communities in search of the 99ers, but we didn't expect to find such a crisis in Silicon Valley, the high tech capital that many people hoped would be creating jobs.
What an astounding admission! "60 Minutes" had no clue people were having economic problems in Silicon Valley. Considering their complete lack of knowledge about what is going on in the United States, it never became obvious why Silicon Valley was chosen.
The show consisted of personal stories about the hardships of professionals in Silicon Valley but it was bereft of any type of analysis that explained what is causing the economic crisis. Sometimes they provided all the evidence they needed to make a strong case to explain things but, like Inspector Clousaeu, they ignored the truth even when it was right in front of their own noses.
One of the most obvious shortcomings of the report is that everyone they interviewed was middle aged -- usually over 50 years old, and yet no connection was made that age discrimination had anything to do with their problems:
The people in the group are the faces of unemployment in Silicon Valley, people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who thought they had done everything right: earned a degree, stayed with their company, saved for retirement.
The following conversation never raised an eyebrow even though Silicon Valley industries as well as CBS are guilty of promoting the myth that the U.S. doesn't produce enough graduates with advanced science and engineering degrees.
"I'm curious. How many PhDs in this room?" Pelley asked. "One, two, three, fourâ€¦ several. Now leave your hands up. How many master's degrees? Oh boy. And how many of you went to college. Everybody keep your hands up if you have a college degree, a master's degree or a PhD."
Many in the room had their hands up.
CBS and "60 Minutes" have been pushing the education button for decades to foster the idea that the U.S. has a shortage of skilled workers. Do any of you remember in 2003 when Leslie Stahl, dressed in a short red leather miniskirt, flirted with graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Stahl claimed those geniuses from India were essential to the future of Silicon Valley because of a shortage of higly-educated Americans with advanced science and engineering degrees. That sickening display of anti-American sentiment hasn't waned at CBS -- the following is an example from just a few months ago:
In the 1980s, the United States was the undisputed leader in having a college-educated work force. Now it is lagging behind other developed nations in the number of adults with college degrees.
U.S. Falls Behind in College Degrees, July 23, 2010, CBS News
So, "60 Minutes" blew it on age discrimination and education but that wasn't all they missed. Outsourcing, offshoring, and H-1B visas were never mentioned. In fact "60 Minutes" never discussed the reasons these people can't find jobs before their unemployment runs out. The reporters seem to want to lead us to the conclusion that the financial breakdown of the economy is caused by an act of God instead of misguided policy decisions made by mankind.
A man named Jim Wild was interviewed who used to be a fiber optics engineering manager. While it was a compelling human interest story that he works at Target for $9.50 an hour, wouldn't it have been routine journalism to ask him if outsourcing or H-1B had anything to do with his employment problems? Using basic web searching techniques it didn't take me long to find out that the last company he worked for was a company called Brocade . The company hires large numbers of H-1Bs [search LCA database], a fact that should have raised a red flag for the seemingly clueless Clouseaus from CBS. What a no-brainer! Of course perhaps "60 Minutes" did ask Wild but they didn't like his answer!
PUBLIC NOTICE: If Jim Wild would care to get his story out to the public he is welcome to contact me. Unlike "60 Minutes" I will ask the right questions.