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):
RACHEL MADDOW: The federal government is quietly investing in renewable energy and making energy more affordable and more renewable. Happens in ways you don`t hear about much unless you read local business pages where federal money coming to town makes a big deal, makes a big difference. To the extent that Washington is talking about alternative energy right now at all, the talk has to do with a failed government loan to a company called Solyndra, a maker of solar panels.
In 2009, Solyndra got a loan for more than half a billion dollars from the U.S. government. This month the company closed its plant, laid off more than 1,000 people and went bankrupt. Congress called its top executives to testify last week on Capitol Hill. The executives took the fifth. You can argue the Solyndra case any number of ways, whether President Bush was responsible for it since the loan started under him or whether you want to blame President Obama. Whether any administration should have known better to lend the Solyndra or whether this is just a bad bet in one of those public-private partnership that are never a sure thing but nevertheless elected officials are always saying, we need more of.
Solyndra made headlines in the latest round of funding for electrification. Of course the dirty word of clean energy anymore. And this week, the conservative weekly, "The Weekly Standard" put President Obama on its cover as President Solyndra, that what they want to call him trying to reduce his own presidency to one loan to one failed maker of solar panels.
But even as national conservatives want to make you feel bad about public investment in electricity, in energy, even some conservatives are pouring on the dollars for it in the states. The solar thing in particular makes sense to a lot of conservatives back home. Investing in infrastructure back home remains a core value. The same way it was a core value when the nation first started wiring our far flung farms. Just this month the Mississippi state legislature approved a $75 million loan to bring one maker of solar equipment to the state of Mississippi. Another solar company opened its doors in Mississippi this month with another 75 million bucks in loans and tax breaks from the state. The Republicans of Mississippi are very proud of this, very, very proud. Republican Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant reported from the ribbon cutting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GOV. PHIL BRYANT ( R), MISSISSIPPI: Going to see new high-tech energy moving ahead. The green type energy that we all believe will be part of the future. But don`t worry, we`re still going to drill for oil, we`re still going to use CO2. We`re still going to use coal in our clean coal plant. Our energy policy is all of the above and more jobs for Mississippi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Lieutenant governor of Mississippi so excited about solar that he reassures Mississippians they will still use CO2, which is actually just the pollution part of energy. It`s not the fuel. He is excited about solar. He`s excited about jobs. He is excited, dare I say, about the greener, brighter future of Mississippi. Made possible if comes to pass by the collective will of the taxpayers to invest in it facilitated by Republican politicians like him.
There has not yet been a major Obama administration scandal, at least one that the Republicans like to harp on too much. They really want Solyndra to be a big Obama administration scandal. For that to work however, the country sort has to believe that investing in better electricity ideas is always a scam and that it feels like one to the American people. With our history, I think that is a tough sell.
"They really want Solyndra to be a big Obama administration scandal."
This from a so-called journalist who's always supposed to love White House scandals as they typically drive ratings. I guess viewership isn't important when protecting a president you love takes precedence.
On the other hand, at least Maddow mentioned something about this. After four weeks, her colleagues Matthews, O'Donnell, Schultz, and Sharpton still haven't said one word about this scandal.
This despite the newest revelations about Solyndra having violated the terms of its loan last year. As the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday:
Solyndra LLC had such steep financial problems in late 2010 that the company violated terms of its loan-guarantee agreement with the Department of Energy and technically defaulted on its $535 million loan, according to people familiar with the matter.
The failed solar-panel maker, which is under numerous criminal and congressional investigations, ran so short of cash in December 2010 that it was unable to satisfy certain terms of its U.S. loan agreement, these people said. The agreement required Solyndra to provide $5 million in equity to a subsidiary building its factory but cash-flow problems prevented those payments.
The Energy Department ultimately restructured the loan agreement to help keep the company afloat and Solyndra continued to draw money from its loan.
Will this entice the other MSNBC hosts to mention Solyndra? Will anything short of someone blaming it on George W. Bush?