The much hyped ABC World News story about the GlobalFoundries chip fab and Malta aired last night. And it was shockingly bad.
As reported by ABC, the chip fab story is one in which a plucky "tiny American town" got together, put on a show, "beat out of the world," and is now "coming back to life." And (best TV reporter smile voice) look at those crazy white coverall suits people have to wear at a chip fab!
No mention of the fact this "tiny American town" isn't actually in the middle of nowhere, but rather is part of the 59th largest metro area in the country -- and in the middle of the most prosperous county in that metro area. No mention of the $1.4 billion in public incentives used to lure the fab project, including an unprecedented $665 million cash grant. No mention of UAlbany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and its focus on chip fab research, the presence of which was key to attracting the fab. No mention of the billions in public and private investment going into this metro area for chip fab research.
There are so many angles to this story that could have highlighted both that Americans are capable of advanced manufacturing -- and the investment, complications, and side effects of attracting that sort of development.
What makes ABC's story even worse is that the correspondent, David Muir, is from upstate New York. He grew up in the Syracuse area, went to Ithaca College, and was on the local TV news in Syracuse. It's not like this place should be totally foreign to him. We're reasonably sure he's heard of the Albany metro area.
But attention is attention.
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