“Remember when made in America used to mean something? Well not everyone does. Chinese firms have already funded and run state-sponsored projects in New York, Texas and South Carolina."
The ad is not exactly subtle. First, it juxtaposes the American and Chinese flags with "America the Beautiful" playing in the background. Then it shows images of what look to be a Chinese woman holding stacks of yuan, followed by a man who looks Chinese in a hard hat. There's a "Made in China" bumper sticker.
It's true that Chinese companies have won contracts to help renovate the subway system, refurbish the Alexander Hamilton Bridge over the Harlem River and build a new Metro-North train platform near Yankee Stadium. But American union labor will carry out most of the work done on United States soil. However, the ad shows pictures of the Statue of Liberty and most of the New York skyline, implying the Chinese have had a hand in building all of that.
Next it shows a picture of the San Antonio Riverwalk and a bridge. However, the Truth Squad could not find a bridge project in Texas involving Chinese firms. There is a Chinese-U.S. consortium that has been building a private wind farm in Texas.
The ad shows the Ravenel Bridge in South Carolina. Design review, construction engineering and field inspection were provided by T.Y. Lin International. This is an outgrowth of T.Y. Lin Associates, which was founded in Los Angeles, not China. The ad implies the company is a Chinese firm, however, because its founder was Tung-Yen Lin, known as “T.Y.,” who was born in Fuzhou, China, in the pre-Communist days in 1912.
“Not only did California hire the Chinese to rebuild the Bay Bridge; they sent their governor over there to thank the Chinese workers.”
The ad shows a picture of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, "I'll be back," followed by a picture of him with what looks to be Chinese people.
Construction of the Bay Bridge's new decks took place in Shanghai with Chinese materials, but the assembly and concrete road surface are being done by Americans. Schwarzenegger did visit China in 2010 on a trade mission, where the Bay Bridge was on his agenda.
"Now Rick Snyder’s going to China, calling his trip long overdue. If made in Michigan still means something to you, call Rick Snyder and tell him he works for the people of Michigan. Not for the People’s Republic of China.” On screen is a newspaper clip: “A partnership established years ago when as CEO of Gateway Computer he chose to outsource manufacturing and jobs to China. Knight Ridder Tribune News 1/30/04.”
Images of the state of Michigan and a "Made in Michigan" sticker are juxtaposed with Snyder in front of the Chinese flag and a picture of President Hu Jintao.
Snyder did take a trade mission to China and Japan in September and October, although the new Detroit-Canada bridge obliquely referenced in the ad was not on the agenda. Snyder is not alone; many governors have visited China, a growing economic power.
The Truth Squad couldn't locate the story referenced in the ad. However, the quote, if it exists, could not be about Rick Snyder, as the story is from 2004. Snyder served on Gateway's board of directors from 2001 to 2005 and did not become interim CEO until 2006.
The ad never says the Chinese government will own the new Detroit-Canada bridge, but that's the implication. The Truth Squad asked Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, who is the Snyder administration's point person on the project, if this is possible. Calley said it is not possible for the Chinese government or any company to have ownership over the bridge. Half of the bridge will be owned by the state of Michigan and half by the Canadian government. It will be operated by a private company, as it will be a public-private partnership.
He said there are only two privately owned international crossings and the Ambassador Bridge, owned by Matty Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co., is one of them. Calley said the DIBC could sell its bridge to the Chinese government "and there's nothing we can do about it."
The Willow Run Tea Party is one of more than 50 independent Tea Party groups in the state. In a Sept. 26 story, Willow Run Chairman Dennis Moore told the subscription-only MIRS newsletter he didn't know who had provided funding for the commercial and he didn't know if it was Matty Moroun or the DIBC. The free-market group Americans for Prosperity of Michigan told MIRS it was not involved.
There have been a lot of ads against the bridge, but the xenophobic angle from the Willow Run Tea Party is something new. The ad is literally all over the place with the ominous implication that the Chinese government is coming to take over Michigan (and the new bridge) at Gov. Snyder's request. The spot also has some big inaccuracies, like about Snyder's work history at Gateway. The ad also wrongly implies that the Statue of Liberty and bridges in San Antonio and South Carolina were the work of Chinese firms. The biggest issue is that the ad implies that when Chinese firms are involved in projects, as they have been in California and New York, that somehow this means the Chinese government is taking over America.
Foul or no foul:
Foul. The ad misstates Snyder's record at Gateway and uses fear-mongering to imply the Chinese government is taking over Michigan and the rest of the United