60 Minutes in Toilet Again. Is Fox in the Henhouse?

January 6, 2014



Just weeks after a humiliating apology for a flawed story on the Benghazi, Libya attack of September, and the suspension of Lara Logan for her role in that,  the once great 60 Minutes has done it again, proving what happens when you hire a Fox News flack to be your leader. (see below)

Joe Romm in Climate Progress:

Clean technology is booming by every key indicator — but you would never know that from Sunday’s absurd 60 Minutes piece touting an imaginary “Cleantech Crash.”

As documented in the recent Department of Energy (DOE) report, “Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Four Clean Energy Technologies,” the only thing in cleantech that is crashing is the cost of key components. This price crash has enabled explosive growth in wind power, solar power, LED lights and electric vehicles, as shown in the four charts from the report reposted here.

Ironically, this boom is so self-evident that just Saturday the New York Times published afront page story on “the solar power craze that is sweeping Wall Street.” As the article notes, “Solar companies have had the wind at their backs lately.”

It’s true there have been some losers among cleantech companies, but that’s precisely what you would expect in an industry where the norm has become ruthless cost-cutting, which in turn is a great boon to consumers.

But for 60 Minutes, this incredible boon is a bust. Here’s a transcript of a clip from the show:

LESLIE STAHL (over pictures of solar panels, biofuels, wind turbines): “It’s called clean tech. And the new technologies that were developed in the energy sector were supposed to create jobs, and help America break its reliance on fossil fuels. The government supported it, and billions of tax dollars were spent. So how is the investment going?

STAHL (to DOE interviewee): “Solyndra went through half a billion dollars before it failed. Then I’m going to give you a list of other failures. Abound Energy. Beacon Power. Fisker. VPG. Pfff…I’m exhausted.”

INTERVIEWEE: “As I told you at the beginning, the energy business is tough!”

Memo to CBS: Every business is tough! In 2012, the Wall Street Journal ran an informative piece on just how tough the private sector venture-capital businesses is, headlined, “The Venture Capital Secret: 3 Out of 4 Start-Ups Fail.”

It seems at first that this is a secret 60 Minutes is unaware of, since the show focuses almost entirely on the failures. But CBS explains that “the venture capital model is that for every ten startups, nine go under” — except that CBS appears to see that as a bug, not a feature, failing to understand that the successes more than pay for the failures.

Moreover, 60 Minutes is apparently unaware that the DOE Loan Guarantee Program has awhopping 97 percent success rate, while the companies CBS focuses on such as Solyndra and Abound Solar were just three percent of the portfolio.

It’s as if 60 Minutes did a profile of the venture firm Kleiner-Perkins and focused primarily on its failed investments with only passing mention of AOL — and no mention at all of Amazon.com, Genentech, Sun Microsystems or Google! In fact, when 60 Minutes profiledco-founder Tom Perkins several years ago, they called him “the captain of capitalism” and only found time to mention the winners!

Let’s set aside the question of why 60 Minutes chose to do a hit-job on cleantech, which clearly was unwarranted, after producing widely criticized puff pieces on the NSA and Amazon’s wildly impractical delivery drones.


But not even Mr. Musk, the billionaire behind the Tesla electric car, could have foreseen the solar power craze that is sweeping Wall Street. He and his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive are riding a wave of exuberance over the industry and their young business, SolarCity.

The company — the nation’s largest provider of rooftop solar systems, with more than 80,000 customers — has not made a dime. And, frankly, no one quite seems to know when, or if, it will.

But SolarCity has captured investors’ imaginations and become a potent symbol of a stock market ascent that makes the vertigo-inducing heights of Twitter seem tame. SolarCity’s share price, which closed at $59.27 on Friday, has soared more than sevenfold since it went public, and the company, which did not exist eight years ago, is valued at roughly $4.9 billion.

Depending on whom you talk to, the rise of SolarCity and similar companies is either a sure sign that solar power is finally having its day or that yet another mania has gripped the markets. Two other companies, SunPower and SunEdison, have also exploded in value. In all, an estimated $13 billion was invested in solar projects in 2013, a tenfold increase since 2007, according to GTM Research, which tracks the industry.

Solar companies have had the wind at their backs lately. The broad stock market is coming off its best year since 1997 — the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose nearly 30 percent in 2013 — and the shares of many young companies have leaped from one high to another.

But few have been hotter than SolarCity, in part thanks to the Musk mystique surrounding Tesla Motors, itself a market darling.

The Nation:

Few seem to realize that a former Fox News exec became the head of the CBS News in February 2011. He is David Rhodes. His bio at CBS declares:

He directs network newsgathering for all CBS News platforms including television, CBSNews.com, and CBS News Radio.

With CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, Rhodes has led a division-wide rejuvenation of the storied CBS News brand, emphasizing the Original Reporting of top broadcast journalists around the world. A rededication to the news division’s hard-news roots runs through every broadcast.

Pardon my chuckle over that last sentence.

The bio also reveals:

Rhodes began his career as a Production Assistant at the newly-launched Fox News Channel in 1996, where he later became Vice President of News. At the network he managed coverage of three presidential elections, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hurricanes including Katrina, and was the channel’s Assignment Manager on the news desk the morning of September 11, 2001.

So, imagine: This was the guy who worked hand-in-glove on the biased, often propagandistic, Fox “coverage” of the run-up to the Iraq war, the 2000/2004/2008 elections, the Plame affair, the worst years in Iraq, and all other things Bush and Cheney, and so on.

Rhodes chief associate is Chris Licht, vp of programming, who was executive producer of Joe Scarborough’s conservative show at MSNBC and then ran the Morning Joe operation.

Addendum – Wikipedia:

Between 1922 and 1925 the number of US passenger car builders decreased from 175 to 70. H. A. Tarantous, managing editor of MoToR Member Society of Automotive Engineers, in a New York Times article from 1925 gave this explanation: Many manufacturers were unable to “keep pace with the bigger production units” and falling prices, especially for the “lower-priced car, commonly called the coach”.

Proof, obviously, of a failed industry.
Actually, check this list, the total number of automakers that went bust was much higher.
We will also look for a 60 minutes expose on how many dot.coms went bust in the 90s, thereby proving that internet thing was a fad.


22 Responses to “60 Minutes in Toilet Again. Is Fox in the Henhouse?”

  1. daveburton Says:

    When plummeting natural gas prices sent similar ripples through that industry, your spin was a bit different.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      The difference is that gas is a historically volatile commodity, that many well informed insiders predict is going to go up in price following a misleading bubble.
      Solar and wind are somewhat more predictable in fuel price, and the equipment just keeps getting cheaper.
      You see, Dave, I actually believe in markets and what they tell us, rather than just paying lip service.

      • daveburton Says:

        Actually, the difference is that the solar and wind failures have been vastly more expensive, and fracking has given us far more energy at much, much lower cost, and it has done so without the need for ruinously expensive subsidies and mandates.

        If you believe in free markets, then let’s agree to do away with the PTC and RFS, so the markets can work.

        • greenman3610 Says:

          I’m all for doing away with all subsidies and letting them fight it out.
          now try getting that past the congress.

          • 99% of new generation is renewable, and 60 Minutes puts out the opposite. There is a media war going on. The losers are us and media people with integrity.
            Nuclear gets a PTC. Oil and gas get depletion allowance and many other subsidies. What do we actually have? No PTC for wind in 2014. Complain when wind actually has a subsidy. Yes. Level the playing field. Watch how much more tax dollars are available without the billions of giveaways to bloated gluttonous fossil fuels and nuclear. The situation now is incredible. Subsidies are for emerging technologies, not mature industries. What he have is the older and more mature and more profitable the industry, the greater the subsidy. So why are we giving billions in subsidies to extremely profitable oil companies? I mean besides their lobbying (bribing) elected officials.

          • daveburton Says:

            Wow! We agree on something besides music! Who woulda thunk it?

          • daveburton Says:

            We’re not, Christopher.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Go away, Dave. This post is about 60 minutes and the Faux News influence, and perhaps the adults in the room would like to talk about it without you distracting and disrupting.

    I sent an email to CBS News protesting the Benghazi BS, and was contacted by a 60 Minutes producer about them using it on the air in their “viewers comment” section of the program. They ultimately decided to just run for the hills with the “apology”, and my email didn’t appear. The producer and I had a rather long chat about the past and present of 60 Minutes, and there is no doubt in my mind that 60 minutes IS going down the crapper and Faux IS in the henhouse.

    (And that’s a real shame)

  3. […] Just weeks after a humiliating apology for a flawed story on the Benghazi, Libya attack of September, and the suspension of Lara Logan for her role in that, the once great 60 Minutes has done it a…  […]

  4. I think I can speak for many of us long time followers of Climate Crocks, that we wouldn’t mind seeing the banning of a few certain trolls that are not here to engage in dialogue, but are here only to try and push buttons. Obviously, facts and reason mean nothing to them, only arguing for the sake of arguing and just trying to be a pain in the butt the rest of us. To me personally it is a waste of time getting over the speed-bumps of the troll postings in order to follow the comments.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      now is a good time to make your voice heard. I am re-evaluating my policies.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Canoe said it well here, as have others on other recent threads. I’ve spoken on this before, but will say it again. There are some here who seem to have NO purpose for being here other than to destroy the Crock experience for everyone else, and it is destructive to the Crock community for you to allow it to continue. Also, too many otherwise positive contributors can’t seem to resist “feeding the trolls” by engaging them in endless exchanges of links and arguing obscure points. That doesn’t help, but that tendency will be greatly curtailed if there are no trolls to feed..

        I think you should at a minimum adopt a policy of warning a troll to desist, followed by a “suspension” for at least a month, and then allowing a return on a “probationary” status. A form of behavior modification—those who fail to shape up should be suspended for progressively longer periods of time until it becomes obvious they will “never learn”, at which tine they should be terminated for the good of all.

        IMO, the harm the trolls do far outweighs the good that may accrue from having them here as “bad examples”. The more science literate and better-informed Crockers understand their game and seem to be hugely annoyed by it (when they’re not “enabling” and “feeding”, that is). The more casual Crock visitors are NOT going to wade through the gallops, and are likely to become discouraged and confused if they attempt to do so.

        And the numbers should mean something also—1388 to ~6?
        A Slam-dunk.

        • Witness. When we have a discussion on a topic, the trolls change the topic to trolls. When we have a discussion on trolls….. you guessed it, the trolls change the topic to their favorite agenda. Sorry, I am off topic. Back to topic. Peter, you nailed it. Frankly, 60 Minutes has tanked. I don’t know what has happened to journalism. Its been going downhill for years. As Mike Royko said years ago when Murdoch bought a local newspaper, ” No self respecting fish would allow itself to be wrapped in this newspaper”. Television Broadcast journalism… haste la vista, baby.

    • I just can’t imagine who you have in mind. Me 2.

  5. Sandy Porter Says:

    Sixty Minutes has a Facebook page. If you copy and paste one of the many articles pointing out their abysmal coverage, it not only makes the comment to them but anyone who visits their FB page will see it too. The one I particularly like is: http://mediamatters.org/…/whats-the-matter-with…/197434

  6. Andrew – nailed it. Love TYT.

  7. daveburton Says:

    In the meantime, the wind farms in Scotland produced very little power during the recent cold snap, just when the power was needed the most:



    Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust, which campaigns to protect wild land, said: “The statistics show that when demand is at its peak because the weather is so cold, output from wind farms is at its lowest. This is a problem we could have to face repeatedly.”

  8. […] 2014/01/06: PSinclair: 60 Minutes in Toilet Again. Is Fox in the Henhouse? […]

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