November 16, 2011

AP ‘GOP Says’ Story on DOE’s Election-Driven Solyndra Layoff Delay Cites No GOP Sources

solyndra_thumb_0You 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 Obama administration wanted the failing solar energy company Solyndra to delay announcing employee layoffs last year until after the 2010 midterm elections, according to newly released emails.

An October 2010 email from a Solyndra investment adviser to a colleague said Energy Department officials were pushing “very hard” to delay making the layoffs public until Nov. 3, 2010 – the day after the midterm elections.

“Oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date,” the email states. The email was released Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, along with dozens of other emails related to the Solyndra investigation.

Last week, the White House said congressional Republicans were using the Solyndra investigation as a partisan “political football.” Spokesman Jay Carney said at the time that GOP lawmakers have “cherry-picked” certain documents trying to create controversy over a decision-making process that the White House insists involved no political influence.

… Solyndra announced dozens of layoffs on Nov. 3, 2010, after the election, but continued to receive federal assistance.

… The Oct. 30, 2010, email was from Steve Mitchell, managing director of Argonaut Private Equity, a major Solyndra investor, to Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Both organizations are controlled by George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire who was a “bundler” for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and a frequent White House visitor in 2009 and 2010. Argonaut invested $400 million in the solar company. Mitchell also served on Solyndra’s board of directors.

Solyndra’s implosion and revelations that administration officials rushed to complete the loan in time for a September 2009 groundbreaking have become an embarrassment for Obama and a rallying cry for GOP critics of his green energy program.

Getting back to the story’s misleading headline (which also could have mentioned Solyndra by name, but avoided doing so): Daly quotes no one from the Republican Party. He quotes no current GOP candidate, officeholder, party official, or even a run-of-them-mill voter. Yet the headline gives readers the impression that GOP criticism is what the story is entirely about.

The Administration’s Press apparently can’t publish a story which puts the Obama administration in a bad light without engaging in some kind of tactic to make it appear as if it’s really about what the opposition has said instead of what the administration has done. In this case, it was a “don’t read this; it’s just the same-old same-old about Republican attacks” headline. Daly also fails the collegial decency test by acting as if it he learned everything in his story on his own.

Somehow, merely calling this “disgraceful” doesn’t suffice.

Cross-posted at


1 Comment

  1. “…“cherry-picked” certain documents trying to create controversy over a decision-making process that the White House insists involved no political influence.”

    More like highlighted the documents where the political influence was most blatantly at display. Because the political influence is all over EVERY document and aspect of the Solyndra fiasco.

    Comment by zff — November 17, 2011 @ 6:14 am

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