Pay to Play? National Journal has just announced an event, “Pathways to Reform: A Discussion on High-Skilled Immigration Policy.” Underwritten by Qualcomm, which of course has a corporate interest in increasing the supply of high-skilled immigrant labor. That’s a not uncontroversial position, given the unemployment rate among skilled current residents of the U.S.. Yet of the seven “key stakeholders and experts” on the panel, I count seven supporters of more high-skilled immigration, and zero skeptics. Should be a “robust discussion.”

I have several friends who work for the National Journal and Atlantic.  They’re usually sticklers for ethics. So I ‘d ask them: Isn’t it corrupt of National Journal to seemingly rent out to Qualcomm not only the prestige of its name, but its credibility — as if this panel represented the real diversity of national opinion on the issue, in National Journal’s estimation. (If that really is their estimation, Lord help them.)  It’s also amazingly unsavvy of Qualcomm’s D.C. office not to take the risk of including even a token dissenter on the panel. Is their argument that weak?

I always thought the Atlantic/National Journal model was to have a reasonable panel, plus a bonus corporate lobbyist panelist who happens to have contributed to the bottom line. This seems different — an entirely artificial, hermetically curated event, a fake debate. …