In an April 8 blog post, Erick Erickson-- the newest addition to CNN's "best political team" on television -- boldly declared that President Obama has decided to "ban college internships," despite the fact that the Wall Street Journal editorial he cites makes it clear that's not true. Erickson says that Obama is not "naive when it comes to the American free enterprise system," as he had once thought; but rather, Obama "is trying to dismantle it and remake it in his own image -- that of a law school professor who champions 'public interest' work over the business of America, which is to say business itself." Erickson continues: "Since the nation was formed and even before that, apprenticeships and then internships have been a key way for students to acquire valuable jobs skills. ... It is a tried and true method of acquiring skills in this country. But the Obama administration is declaring such an act against the law."
To show that Obama is banning internships, Erickson directs his readers to an April 8 Wall Street Journal editorial, and he helpfully highlights the sentence in the editorial which he thinks shows this. You can literally see the point at which Erickson stopped reading:
Of course, if Erickson had read beyond what he highlighted, he'd see that the issue the Labor Department is attempting to address is unpaid internships that may violate labor laws. No one is trying to ban internships.
As the New York Times reported, "With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor." The Times noted that there are "six federal legal criteria that must be satisfied for internships to be unpaid. Among those criteria are that the internship should be similar to the training given in a vocational school or academic institution, that the intern does not displace regular paid workers and that the employer 'derives no immediate advantage' from the intern's activities. ...To be sure, many internships involve some unskilled work, but when the jobs are mostly drudgery, regulators say, it is clearly illegal not to pay interns."