On Beck, Byrnes smeared CO solar energy company as "socialist"

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

On Fox News' Glenn Beck, Tracy Byrnes baselessly asserted that Namasté Solar Electric Inc. -- the company whose president introduced President Obama at the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- has a "progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure," and during her report, on-screen text falsely claimed that "all employees are paid the same." In fact, according to Namasté's website, "starting salary depends upon experience."

On the February 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Fox Business Network reporter Tracy Byrnes baselessly asserted that Namasté Solar Electric Inc. -- the Colorado solar energy company whose president introduced President Obama at the February 17 signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 -- has a "progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure." Byrnes made her assertion after stating that "all Namasté employees, no matter what their job description, are on the same pay scale," while on-screen text during Byrnes' report falsely claimed, "All employees are paid the same." In fact, according to the company's website, "starting salary depends upon experience, includes a generous health insurance plan, profit sharing, and 6 weeks Paid Time Off each year," and job applicants are asked to describe in their cover letter their "compensation goals, both at the beginning and over time." While CNN.com reported on July 17, 2008, that Namasté "[e]mployees, no matter what their job description, have the same pay scale," that does not mean that "[a]ll employees are paid the same."

After Byrnes asserted that "[f]or many of us taxpayers, it seems odd, ... or maybe it is coincidental, that the president of the United States would choose a company with this type of progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure," host Glenn Beck responded, "Maybe, maybe. I don't want to say socialist, because there's a big difference, apparently." Media Matters for America has previously documented Beck (multiple times), other Fox News media figures, and others using the word "socialism" to smear Obama, the recovery plan, or Democrats in general.

From the February 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: President Obama signed the spending bill in Colorado yesterday, but here's the interesting thing: solar power company -- the solar power company in the backdrop. Fox Business channel Tracy Byrnes is here. She has more. Hi.

BYRNES: How are you, Glenn?

BECK: Well, I'm -- I'm pretty good, Tracy. I --

BYRNES: You're all -- you're all socialist up -- fired up over there.

BECK: Well, you know, I got up this morning, and I read about this solar panel, because somebody in my office said, "You know, why did he pick this solar panel company?" And so we started doing some research.

BYRNES: Right. And it's really interesting, right? OK, so when President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus package into law in Colorado on Tuesday, he chose to have the CEO of Namasté Solar Electric introduce him.

Now, "Namasté" is a greeting of respect in Sanskrit. Now, the company Namasté will most likely benefit from all the president's energy incentives that are stuffed into this plan. This 2-year-old company needs all the money it can get. It can barely keep its 55 workers onboard.

But it's not just the company's financial distress that's got people thinking. It's these collective in-house rules of this solar company that are making people wonder why the president decided to associate himself with it.

So to start, all Namasté employees, no matter what their job description, are on the same pay scale, and a portion of everyone's salary goes to charity. Hmm. All major decisions are made by a consensus of all the company employees -- all 55. And everyone gets six weeks vacation a year. It's no wonder the company is struggling and needs financial assistance. But for many of us taxpayers, it seems odd --

BECK: Unbelievable.

BYRNES: -- or maybe it is coincidental, that the president of the United States would choose a company with this type of progressive, maybe even socialist, internal structure, Glenn.

BECK: Maybe, maybe. I don't want to say socialist, because there's a big difference, apparently. OK, thank you very much, Tracy.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Tracy Byrnes
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck show
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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