From mid-afternoon yesterday to the wee hours of this morning PST, the editors at AOL kept the headline circled below on their home page:
The headline suggests that the Republican Party doesn’t think America can compete with China, as if the entire party had abandoned Ronald Reagan’s optimism and lost faith in this great country and its wonderful people. The text of the linked article tells a different story altogether:
The Obama administration is seizing on remarks by a top Republican who argued that the United States cannot compete with China in the solar energy business, saying it shows “defeatism” about America’s future and workers.
Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee leading probes of the government’s botched investment in solar firm Solyndra, made the comments Monday.
He was arguing that the government never should have guaranteed a $535 million loan to the solar manufacturer that declared bankruptcy last month because China will do better with that and other new energy technologies.
“We can’t compete with China to make solar panels and wind turbines,” Stearns said in an NPR story.
The White House is seizing not on an official policy, but on a statement by a one Republican, to be sure, a prominent House Republican, but just one Republican. And this one Republican wasn’t talking about competition with China in general, but about competition over the production of two items, solar panels and wind turbines.
Seems the White House is eager to charge Republicans with defeatism, distracting Americans from the real Solyndra scandal. They appear ready to seize upon any statement a Republican makes that even hints at a lack of confidence in the U.S. economy. At the same time, they provide the administration’s justification for its program guaranteeing loans for solar companies, without offering any criticism of the program or skepticism about the claim that “solar sources will eventually produce 20 percent of the world’s energy.”
AOL/Huffington Post merely parrots the administration’s talking points; the article could have been written by the White House press office.
We don’t know why Stearns believes we can’t compete with the Chinese (perhaps it has to do with the $30 billion in financing China has offered its solar manufacturers). The article doesn’t inquire. It doesn’t present both sides.* It merely offers the administration’s line of attack. (Just read the article and discover for yourself some of the other little tidbits where the HuffPo journalists repeat administration talking points.)
In short, AOL highlightrf an article which is little more than a press release from the Obama campaign White House.**
ADDENDUM: I clicked through to see if the NPR story which quoted Stearns included the Congressman’s comment in context. Although I didn’t find the entire text of his remarks, I did find this interesting tidbit:
But Solyndra was just one of the clean energy projects and businesses that got loan guarantees from a Department of Energy program that ended Friday. In all, it financed 28 projects with $16 billion in loan guarantees. The Energy Department says the projects will create about 17,000 construction and permanent jobs.
$16 billion in loan guarantees to create 17,000 construction and permanent jobs? That’s about $941,176 per job. Now, these are loan guarantees and not federal subsidies, but, at a time of near-record unemployment, should the federal government be guaranteeing loans to companies that require nearly one million dollars to create just one job?
Maybe there aren’t as many green jobs out there as the administration imagines.
*”Stearns’ office,” they report, “did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Huffington Post.” Not immediately? What does that mean? Did he reply or not? If he didn’t immediately reply, that suggests he did reply.
**NB: Ccriticism (of Stearns) in this article comes from administration officials, not spokesmen for the Obama campaign.
UPDATE: Wednesday morning PST and the headline is still up there! AOL does want to press meme that White House believes is bullish on American while GOP is not!