Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Named Solyndra “Top Clean Tech Company” in 2010, Now Mocks 2009 DOE Loan

Shauna Theel, in a Media Matters repost


In a recent editorial titled, “The Solar Orphan: Solyndra suddenly has no political parents,” the Wall Street Journal quipped, “Watching the denials of paternity yesterday in Congress, you’d think that failed solar company Solyndra was a political orphan instead of a former Administration darling.” But the Journal might want to avoid leveling paternity charges.

In March 2010, the Journal ranked Solyndra #5 of the Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies in a survey designed to gauge “the odds of success for U.S.-based companies valued at less than $1 billion.” In a separate survey seeking “to identify those green companies that have the capital, executive experience and investor know-how to succeed in an increasingly crowded field,” the Journal ranked Solyndra the Top Clean-Tech company in the country.

A year and a half later, Solyndra has gone bankrupt due to changing market conditions and stiff competition, and the GOP is using that fact to attack clean energy investments. Now the Journal is suggesting that the Department of Energy, by betting on a company that the Journal itself called the #1 clean tech company in the U.S., gave Solyndra a loan guarantee because it did “not understand” the solar industry and engaged in “political favoritism

The problem with politically directed investment isn’t merely that bureaucrats are betting with someone else’s money on industries they may not understand. Such investment also invites political favoritism for the powerful few at the expense of millions of middle-class taxpayers. Americans need to know the full story of who made or influenced the decision to give Solyndra its loan guarantee, and if political pressure was brought to bear.

Where’s Maury when you need him?

Shauna Theel, in a Media Matters repost

JR:  It’s worth noting how the WSJ came to give Solyndra its top clean tech ranking in 2010:

A team from research firm VentureSource (owned by NewsCorp., which also owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Journal) calculated the rankings, applying a set of financial criteria to some 350 U.S.-based venture-backed businesses in clean technology.

Seems like a lot of people didn’t “understand” the solar industry.

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8 Responses to Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Named Solyndra “Top Clean Tech Company” in 2010, Now Mocks 2009 DOE Loan

  1. Joan Savage says:

    In the mop up after another green tech bashing, SolTech’s Nancy Hartsock pointed out that SolTech’s scale up has been at a more moderate pace than Solyndra’s (CP’s post Sept 7, 2011, “Key Source Disputes..”).

    When the WSJ makes a prognostication about a company’s future, one would expect they’d do the basics of investment analysis, including cash flow and growth of market share. There are credible financial analysis services that can see past press releases to the implications of a corporate balance sheet. Was Solyndra’s vulnerability so obscure that WSJ missed it? Or was WSJ shooting from the hip?

  2. A classic example of “post-reality” politics.

    The dirty energy corporatists and their wholly owned subsidiary, the GOP, just make stuff up now. I just doesn’t matter to them whether something is true or what their previous statements might have been. No shame. No responsibility. Cheating and lying are considered acceptable weaponry.

    The media have abandoned the role of referee while the American public has become enthralled by the spectacle of blood-sport.

  3. When I read the Journal’s quote of: “politically directed investment…invites political favoritism for the powerful few at the expense of millions of middle-class taxpayers” I thought they were talking about the billions in tax breaks directed explicitly towards fossil fuel companies.

  4. Jeff Huggins says:

    Although I appreciate this post and information, it also brings to mind a problem, I think, in how we treat and then drop certain themes.

    For example, by far the biggest inconsistency and hypocrisy on Murdoch’s part is related to the fact that he has said in the past that he understands that climate change is real and concerning, and the fact that News Corp itself has a carbon neutral policy, and yet that Fox News and etc. give their audiences the cr_p that they do: e.g., climate change is fake, many scientists disagree with it, it’s not concerning, we shouldn’t do anything about it, and so forth.

    But we — the mainstream media, the liberal media, the blogs, and so forth — don’t emphasize and re-emphasize and point that out enough. Instead, we’re content to move on to Murdoch’s six biggest inconsistency, or tenth biggest one, or whatever. Doing so leaves the impression, to many audiences, that the largest and glaring inconsistency never existed, or went away, or isn’t important after all, or is acceptable.

    In my view, the movement doesn’t REALLY understand the processes of human/cultural change, the ideas of reach and FREQUENCY, the fact that actions speak much louder than words, and other such things. Although we talk a lot about messaging, the very mixed messages that our actions (and inaction) convey are enormous and deeply debilitating. And (I’m afraid) we seem to want to avoid recognizing these facts, and altering our approaches, even more so than Rick Perry wants to avoid understanding or admitting to climate change. There is more than one type of denial. And I’m beginning to think that the largest, most debilitating, and yet least obvious type is NOT the simple denial of the existence of climate change.

    I’ll be going to Moving Planet — looking forward to it — and continuing to comment on ClimateProgress — I always enjoy it (or at least usually) — but we need to greatly improve our understanding, and change our ways, soon. Our present approaches amount to whistling in the wind to try to stop a powerful locomotive that keeps going faster and faster. If we don’t see this and get our acts together, I can’t imagine that I’ll be attending the 2012 edition of the worldwide day, whatever its theme may be, or that I’ll still be visiting ClimateProgress, as helpful as CP has been. Is there anyone else who’s feeling the same way?



  5. Joan Savage says:

    I’m wondering why my comment has been awaiting moderation since early afternoon and did I omit the terms of use.

  6. Joe Romm says:

    Sorry. Been traveling. Missed it.

  7. Joan Savage says:

    Thanks for the follow up!

  8. Bob goodof says:

    Didn’t these guys plan for sub $1/watt production costs when they were raising money in 2008-9? If they had achieved anything like that, they wouldn’t be blaming the Chinese or, more rationally, more normalized silicon prices (which are still high relative to history)