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Truth Squad: no fouls for Land attack ads, but not the "whole truth," either

The Truth Squad at Bridge Magazine reviewed a couple of TV ads put on the air by Republican Terri Lynn Land’s campaign for U.S. Senate. But, there’s a pretty substantial gap between the "truth" and the
"whole truth."

These two TV ads from the Land campaign attack the Democratic candidate, Congressman Gary Peters.

In the first ad we’re looking at, it brings up an accusation that’s been used against Peters before.

“Running the Michigan Lottery, Peters allowed outsourcing of a state contract to China.”

That contract was for six million pencils for the Lottery’s Keno game. David Zeman with the Truth Squad says the ad is true, but it’s only part of the story.

“No Michigan company had submitted a bid. There had been another U.S. company that had submitted a bid, but it was 30% higher. So, the Chinese company actually saved the state of Michigan $90,000,” Zeman explained.

The ad goes on to criticize Gary Peters’ actions in Washington when the Obama Economic Stimulus Plan was passed.

“In Congress, he voted to send billions in tax dollars to foreign companies.”

“Some of the stimulus did go to foreign companies,” Zeman confirmed and added some of that stimulus money was invested in the renewable energy industry.

"Those who researched it found it was because American companies did not build some of the key components that were needed to produce wind and solar energy,” Zeman said.

The ad’s claim is true as far as it goes. So, the Truth Squad ruled "no foul" for the ad.

In a second attack ad the Terri Lynn Land campaign is running, Peters is portrayed as being too cozy with the banking and finance industry.

“Congressman Gary Peters talks about getting tough on Wall Street, but Wall Street isn’t worried. Gary Peters spent 20 years as a Wall Street insider himself.”

Peters did work in investments in Michigan, not on Wall Street, but the Truth Squad felt “Wall Street” is a broader term that includes the financial industry in general. And David Zeman says as far as being a “Wall Street insider,” that's a little fuzzy.

“Anyone who has, you know, deep experience in a business can be classified as an insider,” Zeman said.

So, "no foul" there.

The ad goes on to claim Peters is getting campaign donations from the industry.

“And Peters took more than $2 million from Wall Street bankers and the financial industry, the industry Peters’ Congressional committee is supposed to monitor.”

“He has certainly worked on committees that are supposed to be cleaning up Wall Street. As the ad notes, he has marched on Wall Street in the past and it’s contrasting this with the contributions that he took. It’s based on facts that are absolutely true,” Zeman said.

So again, the Truth Squad rules "no foul."

The Truth Squad notes while the Land ads are factually true, they don’t tell the whole truth. But, political ads don’t really have to tell the whole truth. Most don’t.

That means we as voters have to look into any claim of any ad and do the research to get the whole story. 

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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