Right-Wing Media Fall For Dubious Claim Alibaba Will Create 1 Million U.S. Jobs

››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

Right-wing media outlets ran with Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma’s claim that Alibaba would “create 1 million U.S. jobs” in the US by allowing the sale of American goods to China on their platform. While right-wing media outlets cite Alibaba’s dubious statement as a victory for President-elect Donald Trump, the company’s vague plan relies on claims of indirect job growth.

Alibaba Claims It Will “Create 1 Million U.S. Jobs” By Facilitating Sale Of American Goods To China And Asian Consumers

CNBC: “Jack Ma Chats With Trump About How To Create 1 Million US Jobs Over 5 Years.” CNBC reported Donald Trump and Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma met and “discussed 1 million new U.S. jobs,” stating “where those jobs would come from is unclear. While an Alibaba spokesperson told CNBC before the meeting that the Chinese online retail giant company would create 1 million jobs over five years, Ma’s comments focused on supporting small businesses”:

President-elect Donald Trump said he had a "great meeting" with Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma on Monday, when they discussed 1 million new U.S. jobs.

Ma said that Alibaba's expansion would focus on products like garments, wine and fruits, with a special focus on trade between the American midwest and southeast Asia.

"We're focused on small business," Ma told reporters. "We specifically talked about ... supporting 1 million small businesses, especially in the Midwest of America. Small businesses on the platform selling products — agriculture products and America services — to China and Asia, because we're pretty big in Asia."

Where those jobs would come from is unclear. While an Alibaba spokesperson told CNBC before the meeting that the Chinese online retail giant company would create 1 million jobs over five years, Ma's comments focused on supporting small businesses.

"Alibaba will create 1 million U.S. jobs by enabling 1 million American small businesses and farmers to sell American goods to China and Asian consumers on the Alibaba platform," the company said in a statement. [CNBC, 1/9/17]

Right-Wing Media Figures Run With Alibaba’s Claim

Fox News’ Eric Bolling: “Alibaba Today Announced They Were Going To Keep Or Create About A Million Jobs In America.” On the January 9 edition of Fox News’ The Five, co-host Eric Bolling lauded “Trumponomics,” and declared “Alibaba today announced that they were going to keep or create about a million jobs in America”:

ERIC BOLLING (CO-HOST): Okay, so what do you call -- I think we coined this term here, an area, a time period of low wage growth, subpar GDP, and millions of Americans who left the workforce? We call that Obamanomics. So, maybe we'll coin a new term now, we'll call it Trumponomics. Now, check it out, Alibaba today announced that they were gonna keep or create about a million jobs in America.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (CO-HOST): Look at Juan's face.

BOLLING: Over the weekend, Fiat-Chrysler talked about 2,000 jobs, and a billion dollars of investment. We already talked about Ford, Carrier, IBM. Look at -- tens of thousands of jobs, hundreds of thousands of jobs, multibillion dollars of investments in America. I'm going to go out early and call this one Trumponomics.

GUILFOYLE: Boeing, F-35 --

JUAN WILLIAMS (CO-HOST): Yeah.

GUILFOYLE: You're going to need to get a bigger board. [Fox News, The Five, 1/9/17]

Breitbart.com: “Trump’s Announcement Demonstrates” That He Wants To “Bring Back Jobs From Overseas.” In a January 9 report for Breitbart.com titled “Donald Trump discussing one million new jobs with Amazon competitor Jack Ma,” Breitbart White House Correspondent Charlie Spiering wrote Alibaba “wants to expand in the United States, promising to bring 1 million jobs to the country”:

Alibaba, the massive Chinese online retailer that competes with Amazon, wants to expand in the United States, promising to bring 1 million jobs to the country.

President-elect Donald Trump met with Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma in Trump Tower to discuss his plans, CNBC reports.

After the meeting at Trump Tower, the president-elect appeared with Ma to talk with reporters.

“We had a great meeting. And a great, great entrepreneur, one of the best in the world. And he loves this country and he loves China,” he said.

Trump’s announcement demonstrates that he wants not only to keep American jobs from going overseas, but to bring jobs from overseas into the United States. [Breitbart.com, 1/9/17]

Gateway Pundit: “#MAGA: Alibaba Talking To Trump To Create 1 MILLION New US Jobs!” In a January 9 article for The Gateway Pundit, Ryan Saavedra wrote “The Chinese company plans to meet with Donald Trump to discuss creating 1 million new jobs in the U.S. over the next 5 years”:

1 Million Jobs Coming To The U.S.? Are you sick of all the winning yet? Ford, Carrier, Chrysler, Sprint, etc… Add Alibaba to that list. The Chinese company plans to meet with Donald Trump to discuss creating 1 million new jobs in the U.S. over the next 5 years. [The Gateway Pundit, 1/9/17]

World Net Daily: “Alibaba Plans 1 Million U.S. Jobs In The Next 5 Years.” A January 9 World Net Daily article titled “Alibaba plans 1 million U.S. jobs in next 5 years” claimed that “Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma is meeting with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump on Monday to discuss plans to create one million new U.S. jobs over the next five years”:

Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma is meeting with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump on Monday to discuss plans to create one million new U.S. jobs over the next five years.

The Monday meeting will focus on the Chinese e-commerce company’s U.S. expansion plans, according to spokespeople for both Alibaba and Trump.

The meeting comes amid tensions between China and the incoming Trump administration. Trump has proposed steep tariffs on trade with China, and has incited political controversy over the U.S. relationship with Taiwan. [World Net Daily, 1/9/17]

Allenbwest.com: “Biggest New Job Creation In US Just Announced, Your Jaw Will DROP.” In a January 9 article for allenbwest.com, Matt Palumbo wrote “the latest Trump deal is the biggest yet,” adding “we can only wonder if there’s a populist in China right now complaining that Trump is ripping them off on trade." [Allenbwest.com, 1/9/17]

Alibaba Is Not Creating 1 Million U.S. Jobs, Instead Plans To Indirectly Spur Job Growth

New York Magazine: Alibaba “Is Not Going To Create 1 Million U.S. Jobs Because Of Trump.” New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz explained, “Alibaba is not actually proposing an exponential increase in its own payroll -- rather, the company claims that it will create 1 million jobs in the United States by enabling American small businesses to sell their wares to the Chinese middle class.” Furthermore, the article noted that “Alibaba is not directly creating 1 million U.S. jobs, and its ‘plan’ to indirectly spur such job growth seems to have been formed long before Trump’s election.”:

On Monday, Donald Trump met with Alibaba founder Jack Ma to discuss the company’s plan to create 1 million U.S. jobs over the next five years.

Or, at least, that’s how the company’s spokespeople — and incoming press secretary Sean Spicer — characterized the meeting.

And it truly would represent a “job boom” if the Chinese e-commerce company added 1 million full-time American workers to its current (global) labor force of 36,450. Especially since Amazon — Alibaba’s American competitor — employs less than 300,000 people.

But Alibaba is not actually proposing an exponential increase in its own payroll — rather, the company claims that it will create 1 million jobs in the United States by enabling American small businesses to sell their wares to the Chinese middle class. Which is to say: It is promising to spur the U.S. economy by increasing trade with China.

“Alibaba will create 1 million US jobs by enabling 1 million American small businesses and farmers to sell American goods to China and Asian consumers on the Alibaba platform,” the company said in a statement.

[...]

On Monday, Ma helped Trump’s press secretary spread the (fake) news that the president-elect had just inspired Alibaba to create 1 million new jobs in the United States. In actuality, Ma declared his intention to facilitate American job growth by helping exporters market to the Chinese consumer class in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in June 2015.

In other words: Alibaba is not directly creating 1 million U.S. jobs, and its “plan” to indirectly spur such job growth seems to have been formed long before Trump’s election. (It is difficult to fathom how the election of an anti-trade demagogue would have inspired Alibaba to drastically increase its focus on facilitating trade between China and the U.S.) [New York Magazine, 1/9/17]

CNN: “The Jobs Announcement May Also Help Improve Alibaba’s Relationship With U.S. Regulators.” In a January 9 post for CNNMoney, CNN writer Seth Fiegerman wrote, “details of the Alibaba plan remain vague,” and “the jobs announcement may also help Alibaba’s relationship with U.S. regulators” after “The U.S. trade Representative criticized one of the company's shopping sites last month for having an ‘unacceptably high’ level of fake goods”:

However, details of the Alibaba plan remain vague. Ma has previously talked about his goal of getting American businesses to embrace the Chinese online shopping service.

[...]

The jobs announcement may also help improve Alibaba's relationship with U.S. regulators. The U.S. Trade Representative criticized one of the company's shopping sites last month for having an "unacceptably high" level of fake goods.

"Unfortunately, the USTR's decision leads us to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate," the company said in a statement about the trade report. [CNNMoney, 1/9/17]

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