The Weather Channel’s Misleading Spin on Trump’s Reference to Solyndra

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Politics is in the air….. and on the air everywhere.  Looking to check on the latest long range forecast today, I came across Carl Parker of the Weather Channel discussing the economics of the federal government promoting renewable energy.  This must have been in response to last night’s debate when Donald Trump replied to Hillary Clinton’s comments on how the federal government needs to continue its push for renewable energy.  Trump answered with the financial debacle of when our government gave funds to assist in a solar panel start-up.  While he did not mention Solyndra specifically, he reminded the audience of the $500 million the failed start-up cost taxpayers a few years ago.1

Mr. Parker countered that federal expenditures have amounted to $34.2 billion for all renewable energy sources.  He pointed out that defaults have amounted to a very low 2.28%.  He added that revenue from all of these projects has put the federal government in the black by $30 million.

The tone in which it was presented and the tendency of many viewers to hear data without scrutiny made it sound as though this has been a good thing for us citizens.

But is it really?  Earning $30 million on $34.2 billion over several years amounts to a total return of just under 0.9%…. How many civilian companies, not to mention financial firms, would have a chance of staying in business with that rate of return over just one year?  Perhaps as the Republicans have suggested for a long time:  when it comes to advancing new technologies, leave it to the entrepreneurs and don’t allow the government to try to pick winners.

 

1 – “Why the Solyndra mistake is still important to remember,”  by Katie Fehrenbacher, http://fortune.com/2015/08/27/remember-solyndra-mistake/, 8/27/2015.

“ALT” (Appreciating the Little Things): TWC and Music for “Local Weather on the 8’s”

Why  This  New   Series?

News travels so much faster because emerging technologies can “take you there” in almost an instant.  And since “news” tends to be of the tragic or negative varieties, it’s easy for anyone to get caught up in the avalanche and unwittingly begin to contribute to the negative with our own communications.

With that in mind, I have made a pre-New Year’s resolution to look for and report on some of the positives occurring in everyday life.  They don’t have to be considered major events because a bunch of little positives can add up to lift the spirits of many.  We all know that we can accomplish more good when our outlook is on the plus side, opposite to apathy or being downcast.

Kudos  to  The  Weather  Channel

This first one may seem quite trivial to most, but I want to express my thanks to The Weather Channel for settling on a very pleasant theme for their “local weather on the 8’s” or at least as they did for the Cincinnati area.

For the last couple of years, they were digressing with an ever-increasing variety of styles and extremes bordering on cacophony.  If you were in another room waiting for the periodic forecast, you couldn’t tell if they were running a commercial for a sponsor or one of their reality series.  The subject of weather was the last thing it could be.  It was as if they wanted to appeal to every age group with a tag name (Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Generations X-Y-Z-AA-BB-just kidding).  About the only group they ignored was the “Greatest Generation.”  This was unfortunate because a little Big Band would have been a great relief.  In addition, the quasi-heavy metal themes at 2AM were a shock to the peace of that hour!

But, now, they have settled on a fantastic, single music theme which goes well at any hour of the day or night.  It’s a simple, light-hearted instrumental in an optimistic key, if you’ll pardon my non-musically trained description.  And, because it’s always the same music, you know what’s coming—your local forecast, which is probably why you turned to that channel in the first place.  Thank you, Weather Channel!

P.S.  After posting this article, another thought occurred.  We are familiar with the “CTRL-ALT-Del” sequence on our p.c.’s.  Attempting to control or delete things in our lives may be a necessary evil, but conveys a negative emotion.  Thus, the “ALT” or alternative approach of this series may be a positive in its name alone.

Is The Weather Channel [TWC] Trying to be The Obama News [“TON”]?

In the early days of cable television, the incentive to buy cable service was that the monthly fees would eliminate the need for commercials.  A blast-from-the-past, I’m sure, probably not remembered by anyone under age 50.

Another incentive for the new cable TV was that it offered specialized channels, so that one knew what to expect.  But, as has become the case with “no commercials,” not so anymore… at least with the Weather Channel for quite some time now.

In just the last seven or eight days, we have seen an inordinate amount of Obama-related stuff supplanting weather issues.  First, it was an excerpt from his news conference where he urged Congress for cooperation lest we meet the dire consequences of the Sequestration.  (Well, Obama could be viewed as an “upper level low” which would wreak havoc with Middle America.)

After the deadline passed, TWC had a scene from a national park with the announcer’s comment that as the budget cuts hit, “Will it affect your travel plans?  Find out…”  (I don’t know, maybe, we won’t be able to afford the sun anymore?)

Finally today, we get a clip of our Fearless Leader announcing his choices to run the Energy Department and the EPA.  (Is it weather news because the new EPA administrator will require Mother Nature to file environmental impact statements before His Presidency will allow named storms to be formed in the future?)

The results of last November 6 proved that 50.7% of those who voted have an undying and blind faith in the President and his words.  Out of respect for the rest of us, please take this TON of presidential publicity somewhere else, and give us back our Weather Channel!