Poor Steven Chu. The Nobel Prize-winning scientist and Obama's Energy Secretary stands "at [the] center of [the] Solyndra policy storm," where he's learning "lessons in political science" according to Washington Post staffer Steven Mufson's 45-paragraph front-page article in the October 28 paper.
Although the Post has done a decent job thus far in following the Solyndra scandal and reporting on the unfolding revelations of damning emails from administration officials who questioned the wisdom and legality of the Solyndra loan, Mufson's piece was focused on defending Chu as a well-meaning career scientist and political neophyte who's been caught up in an unfortunate political firestorm (emphases mine):
ABC's Brian Ross on Friday investigated a $500 million government loan to a car company that is now operating in Finland. Ross highlighted how Vice President Joe Biden in 2009 claimed this would create jobs in America. Yet, the Good Morning America reporter left out a key component for the network version of the story: Fisker, the European car company involved, have ties to big Obama campaign bundlers.
Ross began the segment by explaining to viewers: "[Henrik] Fisker got a federal loan two years ago of more than $500 million, with Vice President Joseph Biden saying the company would employ auto workers in his home state, Delaware." Yet, the 500 jobs created are in Finland, not the United States. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
In a front-page story today, Politico's Darren Samuelsohn relayed the ire of liberal think tanks and blogs "bemoaning the 'out of proportion' Solyndra coverage" in the media. We at NewsBusters are not sure what planet these folks are living on.
A search of the Nexis database for Solyndra stories on ABC, CBS and NBC between September 8 -- when the FBI raided the company's headquarters -- and today turned up just 19 stories. Of those, the vast majority are from September.
NBC has had no stories on Solyndra in the month of October. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley briefly noted the resignation of the company's CEO on the October 13 program, but without any reference to emails that had been unearthed that questioned the wisdom and legality of the loan while it was being finalized by the Obama Energy Department:
Walter Cronkite's longtime producer Leslie Midgley once wrote that "News is what an editor decides it is." News today is what TV producers decide can help President Obama. News that hurts isn't news at all.
In the last week, network anchors like Brian Williams repeated endlessly that the "Occupy Wall Street" protests are "increasingly resonating." It’s the story reporters will declare "isn’t going away" -- and they're going to see to it. They are using their microphones like yellow Hi-Liter pens to draw attention to it.
As a service to the 10 people who will somehow manage to find the Bloomberg Television channel on their cable box tonight in order to watch the network's GOP presidential debate, Bloomberg News today published and the Washington Post syndicated a "Viewers' Guide to Economic Jargon."
While most of the article is helpful and unbiased, Bloomberg News seriously downplayed the scandalous nature of the ill-conceived Solyndra loan. Here's how Bloomberg defined the controversy surrounding the firm that was raided by the FBI in early September:
Editor's Note: What follows is a statement NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell released this afternoon reacting to the findings of a Media Research Center study on the media's Solyndra coverage.
ABC, CBS and NBC are aiding and abetting in the cover-up of an outrageous scandal linked directly to Obama and his failed economic policies. Even the uber liberal New York Times could not ignore this outrage, spotlighting it on their front page this weekend. Yet these networks are intentionally minimizing coverage to avoid reporting the failure and scandal that resulted under Obama’s watch for the same stimulus package they hailed in 2009.
What further compounds the hypocrisy of ignoring this scandal is the excessive, glowing coverage these same networks are giving the Occupy Wall Street protests. While they gather to oppose "corporate greed," the media quietly dismiss the most outrageous scandal in years – and financed by their taxpaying dollars.
A study by the Media Research Center finds that the three broadcast networks are providing virtually no coverage of the Solyndra scandal, a solar energy firm that went bankrupt after getting more than $500 million in taxpayer money from the Obama administration. This is not the approach the networks took after the collapse of Enron, an energy company with Republican ties. In just the first two months of 2002, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts cranked out 198 stories on the Enron debacle, compared to just eight so far on Solyndra, a 24-to-1 disparity. Details after the jump.
Yesterday, in a different post about long-term unemployment, I wrote: "Of all the reality-denying aspects of Obama administration press coverage, the usually implicit but occasionally explicit assertion that he and his people are just helpless bystanders in an economic calamiity is easily among the most annoying."
Bloomberg's Mike Dorning triggered the annoyance meter today with an "analysis" contending that President Obama's move from being a "conciliator" (quoting an alleged "expert") to supporting "populist causes" and sympathizing with the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street assemblage "may provide some inoculation" against the continuing bad economy -- as if Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the their party bear no conceivable responsibility for current economic conditions. Here are the first seven paragraphs of Dorning's dreck (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Energy Department bureaucrat Jonathan Silver tendered his resignation on October 6, effective the following day. Silver led the Energy Department office that approved the ill-fated $528 million loan to solar energy firm Solyndra, despite concerns from some in the White House that it was a disaster waiting to happen.
Although the development occurred the same day as President Obama reiterated his support for similar loans for green energy, the New York Times buried staff writer Matthew Wald's story on page A17 of the October 7 paper.
Wald closed his article by quoting President Obama's defense of loans to green energy firms:
For the 33rd consecutive day, ABC's Good Morning America on Tuesday omitted any mention of the Obama administration's Solyndra scandal, even though co-host George Stephanopoulos asked the President about it in an interview on Monday and elicited a newsworthy defense of the more than $500 million loan to the now-bankrupt company.
Tuesday's show instead focused on other questions from the ABCNews / Yahoo! online interview, like the best piece of advice the President has received from his wife and whether or not he would stop Bank of America's new monthly debt card fee.
Barely a week ago, we noted that the Morning Joe crew was blowing off the Solyndra scandal. "There's no there, there," they sniffed. But facts are pesky things. A devastating email, which Mika Brzezinski read on the air today, has turned up, indicating that top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett was warned about Solyndra's possibly impending bankruptcy before PBO made his photo-op visit to the company. That compelled Joe Scarborough & Co. to acknowledge that the Solyndra story has legs.
Perhaps even more significant was a clip Morning Joe played of President Obama defending his administration's decision to fund the soon-to-go-belly-up solar panel maker. In stating his case, Obama revealed his fundamentally socialist mind-set. According to the prez, unless the government funds something, it's not going to happen. Video after the jump.
Despite the growing scandal involving failed solar company Solyndra - now officially four weeks old - MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton have still not reported the matter on their respective prime time programs.
The only regular MSNBC host to mention this subject in prime time is Rachel Maddow who predictably discounted its importance Monday (transcript and commentary follow):
But instead of highlighting the cover-up in the scandal of the $535 million federal loan trumpeted by the Obama administration to the solar panel manufacturer which went bankrupt, neither ABC nor NBC mentioned the development Friday night and CBS allocated a mere 25 seconds.
The lengths MSNBC will go to deflect blame from President Obama for anything bad that can be tied to his administration is simply amazing.
On Friday, a liberal green jobs activist was brought on "MSNBC Live" to falsely accuse former President George W. Bush of making that ill-advised loan to failed solar company Solyndra (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC and CBS on Friday skipped any coverage of a congressional investigation into Solyndra and the appearance of its two top executives to plead the Fifth. Only NBC's Today show provided an in-depth look at the now bankrupt green company and the loans given to it by the Obama administration.
Today reporter Lisa Myers noted that taxpayers stand to lose up to half a billion dollars. She explained, "So, images of its executives taking the Fifth today are not the optics the White House had hoped for." Good Morning America and Early Show kept Americans from seeing those optics by not covering them. They did, however have time for a number of frivolous stories.
What a curiously incurious Morning Joe bunch! Joe Scarborough says Solyndra "is just not a story I have focused on" and John Heilemann similarly admits to not having "drilled down" on the matter. Meanwhile, Harold Ford, Jr. assures us that when it comes to any potential Solyndra scandal, "there's no there, there" and that no one "has done anything illicit here at all."
A blasé Joe Scarborough grudgingly introduced "this Solyndra thing," citing those pesky "conservatives on Twitter" who keep raising it. The show deigned to devote under two minutes to the story, with nary a mention of the facts that the main driver behind Solyndra was a major Obama fundraiser, that the Bush admin blew off funding for Solyndra after concluding their products weren't competitive and that Solyndra execs are now taking the Fifth. View the video after the jump.
Let's note the likely reason why what Julia Seymour observed earlier today is the case -- namely, that network news reports have taken to calling the Solyndra situation an "embarrassment."
The use of that term probably dates back to September 16, which is as far as I can tell the first time the Associated Press filed a beyond-perfunctory report about now-bankrupt Solyndra, the beneficiary of over $500 million in Energy Department loan guarantees. In January, the government also gave Solyndra's principal investors preferential treatment in advance of what was a clearly inevitable bankruptcy. Tuesday evening, the AP's Matthew Daly went to the E-word again in the final paragraph of the excerpt which follows:
Part 1 on the Associated Press's September 16 evening story ("Obama admin reworked Solyndra loan to favor donor"; saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum criticized the reporters and the wire service for making it appear as if all the findings in the story were the result of original work.
Two other paragraphs in the report in my opinion represent a blatant but clumsy attempt to give the impression that the bankruptcy of a major beneficiary of Department of Energy stimulus-driven loans was a bipartisan fiasco:
The public learned on September 3 from William McQuillen at Bloomberg (possibly earlier elsewhere) that now-bankrupt Soyndra's private investors restructured the company's finances in January by lending the company "$75 million." As a condition of doing so, they convinced the government to give the new loan senior status over all other creditors. Now taxpayers face a likely loss of hundreds of millions in Department of Energy loans, perhaps over $500 million.
But if you haven't stayed with or are unfamiliar with the story and read the Associated Press report this evening by Matthew Daly and Jack Gillum, you would think that the wire service did all of the dirty work to learn these things (credit-hogging language in bold):
MSNBC ranter extraordinaire Dylan Ratigan is no fan of "crony capitalism" -- when businessmen get government to help them socialize the risk of their ventures through government subsidies or bailouts, leaving taxpayers on the hook for failure while reaping the benefits of government largesse.
The Obama administration's handling of solar energy firm Solyndra is a perfect example of same.
Yet this week, Ratigan's been strangely silent on the Solyndra congressional investigation this week, even as it's been covered in major newspaper outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post.
As the scandal involving failed solar panel company Solyndra and President Obama grows, the prime time programs at the so-called "news network" known as MSNBC continue to ignore it.
Despite the announcement of the Solyndra bankruptcy on August 31, "Hardball," "PoliticsNation," "The Last Word," "The Rachel Maddow Show," and "The Ed Show" have not done one single report on the subject.
On Tuesday and Wednesday's World News, reporter Brian Ross exposed e-mails indicating that the Obama administration gave a $535 million loan to the green company Solyndra, despite deep misgivings inside the government about its viability. Yet, Good Morning America has declined to follow-up on the ABC scoop.
GMA completely ignored the story, failing to even mention it in a news brief. The morning show did, however, find time to devote over five minutes to the divorce of reality TV star Michaele Salahi. While his own network minimized the new developments, Ross was able to explain the details on Wednesday's O'Reilly Factor.
Two weeks ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly pointed out how establishment press coverage of the bankruptcy of Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar had emphasized its Bay State assistance, and only rarely brought up how it benefitted by being able to sell solar panels it otherwise would probably not have bothered to produce to projects benefitting from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("stimulus") dollars.
On August 17, Larry Dignan of ZDNet, in an item published at CBSnews.com, tried to convince readers that Evergreen's failure was not indicative of an industry meltdown (bolds are mine):