After Hyping Solyndra, TV News Ignores Tesla's Loan Repayment
The news that electric carmaker Tesla Motors has repaid its federal loan early is being ignored by some of the same outlets that tried to make the bankrupt solar company Solyndra the face of the Obama administration's green initiatives -- including ABC, which suggested Tesla wouldn't be able to repay its loan.
On Wednesday, Tesla announced  that it was paying back its $465 million Department of Energy loan  with interest. The move came about nine years ahead of schedule and is expected to net taxpayers somewhere in the range of $15 to $26 million.  Once derided as a "loser"  by then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a "failure " by Fox News, Tesla is now profitable  and critically-acclaimed .
Yet many in the media have ignored Tesla's loan repayment, which flies in the face  of the media narrative  that Solyndra was representative  of the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program . Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC and NBC have so far failed to cover Tesla's loan repayment (CBS gave a news brief on its morning news show). An analysis  by Media Matters showed that those same outlets (excluding CBS) devoted 188 segments totaling over 10 hours to Solyndra in the month after the company suspended operations, as seen in these charts comparing coverage to that surrounding a government corruption  case at the Minerals Management Service and a report  on military contracting waste and fraud:
The bout of positive news surrounding Tesla follows several skeptical  media reports about its fortunes. In 2011, ABC suggested  that "Tesla's business plan doesn't work" and thus it wouldn't repay its loan:
Since that segment, a Nexis search shows that neither Nightline nor any other primetime ABC News show has followed up with a report on the company's fortunes.
UPDATE (5/31/13): On the May 30 edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC covered  Tesla's loan repayment in a report on the successes of the clean energy loan programs. The only other coverage of the loan repayment from the networks above came on the May 25 edition of Fox News' The Journal Editorial Report, when Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberly Strassel mentioned  it while suggesting Tesla might not be "sustainable" in the long run.