The U.S. solar energy company SunPower is the latest target of Fox News’s apparent campaign to paint the U.S. solar industry as a doomed-to-fail enterprise, only this time Fox has put the bite on Dow Jones, one of its own sister companies in the NewsCorp media empire. According a report in Think Progress, Fox news recently slammed SunPower as a “failing” company, but Dow Jones picked that very company to build a huge solar installation at its New Jersey headquarters, which it touted as a one of the “smart solutions for the future of our business.” So, did Fox News just call Dow Jones stupid?
NewsCorp Squeezed by Solar Power
Intra-corporate squabbling is probably the last thing embattled NewsCorp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch needs right now, what with the phone hacking scandal and all, and this could be just the start of another big headache. Dow Jones is the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, the business community’s paper of record and a comfortable home for conservative-leaning commentary. When a mainstream corporate citizen like Dow Jones says solar is a smart investment, and another media company under the same umbrella insists on the opposite, something’s got to give.
Fox News vs. Solar and Auto Industry, Too
SunPower is not the first target of Fox’s anti-solar push, which gained steam this fall with the Solyndra bankruptcy. Since the Solyndra investigation failed to reveal any systemic problem, Fox moved along to find the next poster child and landed on SunPower. That bumps Fox right up against the U.S. auto industry. Namely, Ford Motor Company and SunPower announced a major initiative just a couple of months ago, to pair SunPower’s home solar installations with purchases of Ford’s new Focus electric vehicle, which will have its manufacturing home right here in the U.S.
Fox News, Solar Power and Support Our Troops
On top of all that, Fox is also butting heads with a population sector that it has traditionally staked out as home ground, members of the U.S. military. SunPower just announced a contract to build a solar energy installation for the U.S. Department of Defense, which has been aggressively pursuing solar power and other forms of alternative energy.The agency has started a slow but inevitable transition out of fossil fuels for strategic, tactical and logistical reasons, including the urgent need to reduce troop deaths and injuries related to guarding fuel convoys. Just as the military has traditionally relied on strong federal support for key domestic industries such as petroleum, automotive, aviation and nuclear, it stands to reason that the success of DoD’s solar energy mission will depend heavily on federal support in a wide variety of forms.
Please note correction: Rupert Murdoch is Chairman and CEO, not president as referred to earlier.
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