On Friday, CBS's Early Show was the only Big Three morning show to cover Energy Secretary Steven Chu's testimony before a congressional hearing on the $528 million loan to the bankrupt solar panel company Solyndra. NBC previewed the hearing on Thursday's Today show, but avoided it the following morning. ABC's GMA completely ignored it both days.
Fill-in news anchor Betty Nguyen gave a 44-second news brief during the 7 am half hour of The Early Show, noting how Secretary Chu "made no apologies for the loan of more than $500 million to Solyndra back in 2009" during the hearing. However, the CBS morning show didn't air a full report on the controversy until the top of the 8 am hour.
You can't spell "accountability" without "A," "C" and "T." But in Washington, government officials routinely get away with "taking personal responsibility" by mouthing empty words devoid of action. Heads nod in collective agreement that mistakes were made. But heads never roll. The Obama administration has raised this accountability charade to an art form.
At a House Energy Committee hearing on the half-billion-dollar bankrupt Solyndra loan-guarantee disaster, Energy Secretary Steven Chu made a grand pretense of falling on his sword. The neon-green solar energy zealot told lawmakers in prepared testimony that the "final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind." But again and again, Chu admitted, those decisions were made with serial cluelessness about the political jockeying, dire financial warnings, legal red flags and conflicts of interest that "everybody (else) and their dog" knew about (as GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas politely pointed out).
You would think that a story headlined "GOP says Energy Dept. tried to delay solar layoffs" would have a quote or two from a Republican Party spokesperson, politician, candidate or even a rank-and-file party member alleging that, well, the Energy Department tried to delay layoffs at now-bankrupt Solyndra. It doesn't. The "trifling" matter clearly didn't concern the headline writer at the Associated Press, which one again is showing that it deserves to be called "The Administration's Press."
Without attribution, Matthew Daly's early afternoon story (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) largely relays and only slightly builds on what Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens reported yesterday at the Washington Post. What follows are selected paragraphs from Daly's report, including two (in bold) which only generically cite GOP criticism:
The Washington Post, no conservative paper it, gave front-page coverage today to the latest development in the Solyndra scandal: E-mail records show that the Obama White House urged the solar energy company to postpone layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections.
"The announcement could have been politically damaging because President Obama and others in the administration had held up Solyndra as a poster child of its clean-energy initiative," Post staffers Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens noted in the November 16 paper. Sure enough Solyndra publicly announced a round of layoffs on November 3, "immediately following the Nov. 2 vote."
While this development broke yesterday afternoon, ABC, CBS, and NBC have ignored the development in their November 15 evening newscasts as well as their November 16 morning programs.
Ever been watching Morning Joe, and wished you could stop the steady stream of liberal blather? Simple. Say the magic word—Solyndra—and watch the gabby guests fall suddenly silent.
Today's show offered a prime example of the phenomenon. For the first ten minutes, the panel had a great old time cackling and crowing on the theme that the Republican presidential field is a mass of morons. They laughed at the mere mention of Herman Cain, likened the GOP field to a vaudeville show, dragged out the shopworn "bar in Star Wars" simile, and called the Republican candidates "jokes," "clowns" and "stupid." But then, 13 minutes in, Mika Brzezinski mentioned a story reporting that the Obama admin had suppressed the announcement of layoffs at Solyndra until after the 2010 elections. Despite Mika looking around the table at her guests as she wondered out loud "why this story hasn't picked up more," there wasn't a peep out of the quickly clammed-up crew and Brezinski breezed on to another topic. Video after the jump.
"The Obama administration urged the now-bankrupt solar-energy firm Solyndra and its top investor to hold off announcing planned layoffs in 2010 until after the Nov. 2 elections, according to e-mails released by House Republicans on Tuesday," Amy Harder of National Journal reported this morning:
In Hawaii today, according to an Associated Press dispatch filed by Ben Feller, President Barack Obama is reported to have told supporters that, in Feller's words, "everything they worked for and that the country stands for is on the line in his 2012 re-election bid."
Well, if what those donors have "worked" for is an inside track to government money, and if what the country stands for is crony capitalism, the President is right. The following excerpt from Peter Schweizer's new book, "Throw The All Out," provides the details in just one commercial arena (via The Daily Beast; HTs to Doug Ross, Conservatives4Palin, Victory Chronicles, and Heritage; bolds are mine; extra paragraph breaks added by me):
It would be funny if it weren't so transparently sad. We've seen "name that party" games for a long time in the press. Today, the Associated Press played "name that company."
In an unbylined report Friday evening which oddly has Dina Cappiello's Twitter address at the bottom , the identity of failed solar manufacturer Solyndra isn't revealed until the third paragraph. The item's headline refers vaguely to "a failed solar firm," while the opening paragraph describes "a failed solar panel manufacturer." Really:
It has now been nine weeks since stimulus-funded solar company Solyndra declared bankruptcy.
Yet despite Thursday's vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel to subpoena internal White House communications concerning the company, MSNBC's prime time hosts Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell, Ed Schultz, and Al Sharpton still haven't said one word about this scandal:
Thursday's World News on ABC skipped the congressional decision to subpoena White House emails related to the Solyndra solar energy company that went into bankruptcy after receiving tax dollars. The CBS Evening News gave the story 22 seconds, while the NBC Nightly News included a 31-second news brief.
On CBS, anchor Scott Pelley related:
Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman testified before a congressional committee yesterday that the department was "ill-equipped to quickly distribute billions of dollars in economic stimulus funding," reported the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe in the November 3 paper.
"Friedman's testimony was meant to summarize more than 100 investigations conducted by his office into Energy's stimulus spending. The probes have recovered $2.3 million in fraudulently obtained money and sparked five criminal prosecutions," O'Keefe noted in his 12-paragraph story, which was buried on page A19 of the Post with the bland headline "Energy Dept. called ill-suited to loan project."
"Friedman also criticized the administration for touting the existence of 'shovel-ready' projects" that did not exist, noted O'Keefe.
Appearing on Saturday's NBC Today, left-wing Washington Post opinion writer and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart dismissed a congressional investigation into the Solyndra debacle as just "the GOP looking to scratch, trying to find a scandal in an administration that is remarkably free of scandal."
After co-host Lester Holt noted that "Republicans have seemed to caught a whiff of scandal" with Solyndra, Capehart argued: "...it's the only program that failed, Solyndra. And also, the other thing to keep in mind is that this is a program that was started – a process that was started under President George W. Bush."