FORTUNE -- During an O'Reilly Factor conversation last night about Tesla Motors (TSLA), guest Eric Bolling made two demonstrably untrue statements about the cleantech industry within the span of just 15 seconds. Even by the loose standards of cable news punditry, this was a galling disregard for basic facts.
What follows is the relevant part of the conversation between Bolling and host Bill O'Reilly:
Bolling: The reason Solyndra didn't work is because they couldn't get the price down to where homeowners could afford to put them on their roof.
O'Reilly: That's true
Bolling: And guess what, we lost $500 million in Solyndra.
O'Reilly: But in Tesla we're not losing because they paid the money back.
Bolling: We got lucky on one Bill, but for every Tesla there are four Solyndras...
For starters, Solyndra didn't fail because homeowners couldn't afford to put its solar panels on their roofs. How do I know? Because Solyndra was building solar panels for commercial buildings, not residential ones.
Second, Bolling is very wrong about the winners vs. losers breakdown of companies that received loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy. Of the 31 programs that received such loan guarantees, only four have gone the way of Solyndra (i.e., failed completely and been shut down). Moreover, as of last check, the overall program is on track to turn an overall profit (inclusive of the Solyndra losses).
Finally, Bolling also later suggested that Tesla -- and other companies in the DoE loan program -- borrowed from the government instead of raising private capital:
Are you going to tell me that all those smart guys on Wall Street, with tens of billion of dollars to loan, wouldn't see Tesla and say, 'You know what we'll loan you that money, instead of the government..."
This isn't really accurate, since the government loan guarantees were conditioned on the recipient having also raised substantial funds from the private sector (often in the form of equity, which is higher risk than debt). Tesla, for example, raised more than $270 million in private funding -- including from Wall Street stalwart J.P. Morgan (JPM). So, yes, those "smart guys on Wall Street" (and in Silicon Valley) did take a big chance on Tesla. And in Solyndra for that matter (so much for the idea that they're always so much smarter than the government guys).
I'd like to blame all of this misinformation on some young intern, but Bolling insists that he alone is responsible for his own research:
Perhaps it's time to hire some help...
Sign up for Dan Primack's daily email newsletter on deals and deal-makers: GetTermSheet.com
It's been nearly two years since Jonathan Silver stepped down as head of the U.S. Department of Energy's loan program. Now he's talking about it.
FORTUNE -- Jonathan Silver was hired in November 2009 to run the U.S. Department of Energy's $34 billion loan guarantee program, which was started under President Bush but super-charged under President Obama as part of the economic stimulus.
This was the program whose best-known success story to MOREDan Primack - Jun 3, 2013 3:02 PM ET
Mitt Romney and the land of green energy make believe.
FORTUNE -- It happened again. During last night's presidential debate, Mitt Romney implied that campaign contributions to President Obama had influenced green energy investments by the Department of Energy.
Never mind that there is no evidence to support such a charge, following multiple independent investigations. Never mind that Romney has been caught lying about such things in the past, in regards to MOREDan Primack - Oct 4, 2012 4:57 PM ET
The solar energy market is not 'make believe.'
FORTUNE -- It's no secret that Republicans view Solyndra as the corporate embodiment of everything that is wrong with the Obama administration. It received federal loans through a stimulus they opposed, its largest existing investor had ties to a major Obama fundraiser and the company's collapse cost taxpayers around half a billion dollars.
But last night Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) trotted out a new MOREDan Primack - Aug 30, 2012 5:06 PM ET
"Guilt by association" can cut across party lines.
FORTUNE -- House Republicans reportedly are delving deeper into the Department of Energy loan guarantee for BrightSource Energy, following a recent WSJ article on the solar company's pre-loan lobbying efforts (including by a former chief of staff to Vice President Biden). In other words, did BrightSource get its money honestly, or did it engage in crony capitalism?
To be clear, I think such questions MOREDan Primack - Jun 13, 2012 4:23 PM ET
Solyndra is bad enough on its own. Romney shouldn't lie to make it worse.
FORTUNE -- Part of Mitt Romney's pushback against President Obama's Bain Capital attacks has been to highlight Solyndra, the California-based solar panel maker that went bust after blowing through a $535 million Department of Energy loan (plus far more in private equity funding). Basically something along the lines of: "I'm not the only one with some bad MOREDan Primack - Jun 4, 2012 8:44 AM ET
A lost opportunity to end the Solyndra debate.
R. Todd Neilson has an impressive resume. Ex-special agent with the FBI. Founder of his own financial consultancy. Bankruptcy trustee for clients like Mike Tyson, and negotiator for sales of assets that included interests in luxury hotels and NHL franchises.
But when Neilson took his talents to Solyndra, he blew it. Big time.
Last October, Neilson was appointed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to MOREDan Primack - Mar 27, 2012 2:01 PM ET
The former FBI agent charged with investigating Solyndra today filed a 204-page report with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Roger Parloff. Go here for Roger Parloff's analysis, which included an interview with the investigator.
The entire report is below:
View this document on ScribdDan Primack - Mar 27, 2012 11:34 AM ET
On Solyndra, let's stick to real arguments.
Regular readers know that I consider Solyndra to be a bad investment, rather than some Obama Administration conspiracy to help out wealthy donors. But that doesn't mean I'm down with disingenuous attacks on GOP Congressmen who have been beating the dead solar company.
Check out the following headline today from HuffingtonPost:
This has been sitting near the top of the left-leaning news site all day, and MOREDan Primack - Mar 22, 2012 3:50 PM ET
Solyndra sells its core assets for a pittance.
After Solyndra went bankrupt last summer, critics kept complaining that the Department of Energy had approved a loan restructuring plan that made Argonaut Private Equity senior to U.S. taxpayers. In other words, an affiliate of Obama donor George Kaiser would get repaid first (so would a Wal-Mart heir, but that seemed to go unnoticed).
As I've written before, the only scandal in that arrangement was MOREDan Primack - Mar 7, 2012 12:24 PM ET
|Regulators pave way for Internet "fast lane" with net neutrality rules|
|Apple shares soar on increased buyback|
|What stumps Warren Buffett? Minimum wage|
|Facebook profit triples on mobile growth|
|Thanks to Obamacare, more workers may quit their jobs|