November Race: Truth Test on Hochul Attack Ad

6:42 PM, Sep 13, 2012   |    comments
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CLARENCE, N.Y. - Both Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (D) and her challenger, Chris Collins (R), are running new television ads this week, and they're loaded with some tough accusations.

We're putting both of them, piece by piece, to the truth test, beginning by taking a close look at Hochul's latest re-election commercial, which involves trade and China. The ad reads as follows:

HOCHUL: I'm Kathy Hochul and I approve this message.

NARRATOR: Chris Collins and jobs. Here's the real story. Chris Collins recently started a new company. The work is done in China. Chris Collins recently said: "It would not be feasible to make and package that product for seven dollars in the U.S." How does China do it? Chris Collins said: "China cheats by manipulating the currency, which gives them a cost advantage." China Cheats. We lose jobs. And Chris Collins makes more money.

We'll analyze each portion of the ad in order.

1. Chris Collins recently started a new company. The work is done in China.

This claim is partially true. The company, Ingenious Products, is based in Clarence and re-sells products. The ad says the work is done in China, but that's not entirely accurate. Collins's company does have a contract to buy some, but not all, of its products from a Chinese manufacturer, and then re-sells them. Collins does not have any employees or factories in China. His campaign says he has never out-sourced a job.

2. Chris Collins recently said: "It would not be feasible to make and package that product for seven dollars in the U.S." How does China do it? Chris Collins said: "China cheats by manipulating the currency, which gives them a cost advantage."

These statements are true. Collins said both of them to local newspapers this summer.

3. China Cheats. We lose jobs. And Chris Collins makes more money.

This part of the ad, in context, is somewhat misleading. Although it doesn't directly state it, the ad implies Collins makes money from jobs lost here in the U.S. First, Collins, according to his spokesperson, never made a profit on the company. Second, while it's true the U.S. has lost manufacturing jobs, and many agree China cheats on trade, there is no proof Collins earned money from lost jobs.

Hochul Spokesperson Frank Thomas said the campaign stands by the ad.

THOMAS: There is no doubt that that manufacturing work of the product he is selling -- he could get a contract for that work in the United States of America, and probably here in Western New York.

REPORTER: Do you have any proof jobs were lost because of this?

THOMAS: I don't think that's what we're saying in the ad. I think what we're saying in the ad is that he is making his money based on sending work to China, which he knows, and which he has acknowledged goes out and cheats American workers.

4. Overall Ad

Overall, we classify this ad as somewhat misleading. While most of its facts are true, we think some of its implied conclusions are a bit misleading.

While Congresswoman Hochul attacks Collins on his record as a businessman, Collins has an ad of his own, attacking her position on Obamacare. Specifically, Collins accuses her of voting to cut more than $700 billion from Medicare. We're in the process of putting that ad to the truth test.  You'll see our results sometime in the next few days on Channel 2 News.

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