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.