Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 23, 2010

Analysis: State Democratic Party TV ad gets a foul

By the Center for Michigan

---- — n Who: Michigan Democratic Party

n Featured Campaign Material: Snyder Outsources Jobs Then Lies About It TV Ad

n Truth Squad Call: Foul


"I'm getting results in my city. The Lansing region has the second lowest unemployment in the state." (On screen: Virg Bernero and Rick Snyder in a split screen).

This clip is taken from Bernero's opening statement in the only gubernatorial debate Oct. 10 on Detroit Public Television. The Lansing metropolitan statistical area had the second-lowest jobless rate of the state's 17 MSAs in August, the last month for which statistics were available. As mayor, Bernero deserves some credit for this, but there are many factors that determine a region's economy.

The ad uses an unflattering freeze frame of Snyder paired in a split screen with Bernero talking earnestly. The official debate rules barred split screen shots and the campaigns from using the footage. However, the loophole is that political parties and independent groups can use it.

"My opponent has shipped thousands of jobs overseas to China."

This clip comes right after Bernero talking about Lansing's jobless rate in the ad. But in the debate, he talked more extensively about economic development in his city before launching the outsourcing attack. This sentence is also clipped. The full sentence is: "But while I'm busy creating thousands of jobs here, unfortunately, my opponent has shipped thousands of jobs overseas to China in his role as 'chief executive outsourcer' at Gateway."

The Truth Squad has taken on this allegation repeatedly and has found no evidence that Snyder was personally responsible for outsourcing jobs to China while he served in executive management and on the board of directors for Gateway.

"Mr. Snyder is the founder and board director of a company called Discera. That company just finished a new state-of-the-art job creating facility in Shenzhen, China. Mr. Snyder, how could you?" (On screen: A Chinese flag).

Picking up where we left off after the last clip, here's Bernero's complete statement: "But it doesn't stop there. I have to share with you some disturbing news. We've also learned that another of Mr. Snyder's companies has created jobs in China, as recently as a couple months ago. Mr. Snyder is the founder and board director of a company called Discera. That company just finished a new state-of-the-art job creating facility. But unfortunately, that company wasn't built in Michigan. It wasn't even built in America. That plant and those jobs landed in Shenzhen, China. Here's what Mr. Snyder's chief technology officer told the press: 'Discera is helping Chinese businesses compete and win in the global marketplace.' Helping Chinese companies to compete and win and yet you want to be our governor? What about Michigan workers? What about the 630,000 Michiganders looking for work? Mr. Snyder, how could you?"

This was the first time Bernero raised the Discera issue. Founded in 2001, the high-tech electronics company Discera is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. and has an office in Ann Arbor. Snyder co-founded Discera and is on the board of directors. Ardesta, his Ann Arbor-based venture capital firm, invests in Discera. President and CEO Bruce Diamond said Discera has 41 employees, including 14 in Asia, six in Ann Arbor and the rest in California.

Bernero's statement in the ad about the company's China office is backed up by Discera's official announcement. This is from Discera's press release issued on July 19, 2010, on the company's website:

"China — Discera, Inc., the premier provider of CMOS semiconductor-based oscillator technology, announced the official opening of its China Applications Center in the Shenzhen International Chamber of Commerce Tower on Fuhua 3rd Road, Futian District. As the heart of the company's permanent investment plan in China, the new office features engineers, equipment, and researchers to support sophisticated chip and module integration, high definition and 3D video technology, and radio frequency and smart grid design."

"Diamond said in a press release issued by the Snyder campaign that the 300-square-foot China office is used by three sales and one field applications engineer and an administrative assistant. "We also have an 'applications lab' which consists of a card-table sized bench with three pieces of measurement equipment," he said. After the debate, GOP National Chairman Saul Anuzis told reporters that the office was a "300-square-foot office with a card table," a description repeated in the Detroit Free Press, but that's a stretch based on the photo released by the Snyder campaign."


As soon as Bernero brought up Discera at the debate, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before this worked its way into a TV ad — even though campaigns were prohibited from using clips from the forum. Voters only had to wait two days, thanks to the Michigan Democratic Party.

Bernero was correct in his statements about Lansing's unemployment rate and that Discera has an operation in China. Snyder was not truthful that Discera lacks a Chinese office, as his campaign admitted with documents about the facility. However, there's no evidence that Discera outsourced any jobs. And the Truth Squad has never found evidence that Snyder was the one who made the call on outsourcing thousands of Gateway jobs. The outsourcing issue also has nothing to do with the next governor's responsibility, which primarily consists of balancing the fiscal 2011 and 2012 budgets.


Foul for implying that Discera outsourced jobs and continuing to claim that Snyder was personally responsible for outsourcing jobs at Gateway.

The Center for Michigan is a centerist think-and-do tank founded by former newspaper publisher and University of Michigan Regent Phil Power.