(Media Matters) - Fox News is pointing to one struggling solar company to suggest that the solar industry is “tanking our economy,” ignoring rapid growth in the clean energy sector that has helped, not hurt, our economy.
SoloPower, a California-based solar panel manufacturer, recently announced it will lay off workers in order to cut costs. The company received a federal loan guarantee but has been unable to draw down on it as it has not met the requirements. Fox News seized on SoloPower’s difficulties as evidence the solar industry “might be tanking our economy” during a Fox & Friends segment called “Who’s Ruining the Economy?” that regularly attacks green energy investments.
In fact, solar industry jobs grew more than twice as fast as the rest of the economy between 2003 - 2010. While some solar manufacturers have struggled to compete with heavily subsidized Chinese competitors, falling solar panel prices are driving record installations and putting solar energy on track to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels within a decade.
Experts note that it is common for an industry to consolidate as it matures, as some companies are out-competed or bought out by larger companies. But Fox News has repeatedly pointed to individual companies in order to smear the entire clean energy industry. This segment was no exception, featuring a graphic purportedly showing the Obama administration’s “failed” clean energy investments, most of which have not actually failed.
While Fox News claims solar power is “tanking our economy,” it campaigns for policies that could actually inflict severe harm on the economy such as Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would impose severe spending cuts while possibly raising taxes on the middle class.
There is this culture among conservatives where they will immediately mock/dismiss green technologies.
Remember how Fox took to bashing the Chevy Volt when it was released and then turned around and debunked their own myths about it being an “exploding Obamamobile” and said it was a “weapon against terrorism’?
You ever think that maybe, just maybe, this bashing is because alternative energy is a threat to big oil’s profits? And who is giving tons of money to our conservative friends in congress? - You guessed it! Big oil.
I imagine the whole Volt turn-around on Fox News had to do with GM thinking that it just might be affecting sales. After GM’s Former Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz had enough with the lies being spread about the car it seems Fox News changed their tune.
You might not want to believe that Fox has enough influence to affect sales of an automobile in this way, but from the looks of things, it might be the case.
It’s worth noting, that in 2012 the Volt tripled its sales.
They are pulling a Chevy Volt on solar power, unfortunately, the Solar industry doesn’t have friends in conservative circles the way GM does.