Reality Check — Correcting the Cleantech Record

CleanTechnica is launching a new feature entitled “Reality Check — Correcting the Cleantech Record.”

The goal of this feature is to address misleading reporting coming from the mainstream media and simultaneously help mainstream media reporters better understand cleantech industries (renewable energy, electric vehicles, and energy storage) so that they can more accurately frame and communicate news about these industries.

Why do we think this feature is so important? When it comes to clean energy and electric vehicle coverage, we routinely see the following mistakes:

◊ Coverage of renewable energy and electric vehicle policy support that doesn’t respect their place in the context of the massive, decades-old system of subsidies, tax breaks, and giveaways to highly mature fossil fuel energy sources.

◊ A lack of understanding of the economic and job-creation benefits of cleantech leadership.

◊ A lack of understanding about why cleantech sectors are growing quickly and are critical to the long-term competitiveness of countries and states in the continuously evolving global economy.

◊ Viewing and framing cleantech as a “climate change” or “environmental” story instead of the growing, dynamic set of business sectors firmly embedded in the 21st century economy.

◊ Inaccurately claiming that business execution problems (and perhaps failures) are nefarious scandals, seemingly just to stimulate clicks, outrage, and revenue.

Intentional or not, these shortcomings in coverage misinform the public’s view of clean economy sectors, companies, and people. So we’re here to correct it. To learn more about why we think this feature is so important, review our introduction article here.

Below are Reality Check articles. We’ll update this page regularly as we publish more.

Reality Check — Correcting the Cleantech Record

LA Times Sensationalizes BYD: A recent LA Times article tore into new energy company BYD’s deployed battery electric buses. Looking back in time, the same unfortunate trend of sensationalizing early problems with new technologies can be seen in its coverage of the early issues with 120 CNG buses that LA MTA had to pull when CNG bus technology was going through the growing pains of a new technology.

POLITICO Publishes an EV Hit Job, WHAT? POLITICO is a new outfit that has a great crew of political reporters and publishes huge and important stories, and their op-eds and in-depth political analyses can be superb. But their recent article about EVs was absolute garbage and does a huge disservice to society by misleading readers about electric vehicles.

Tesla Accused of ‘Cash Burn:’ A recent article by Dana Hull and Hannah Recht on Bloomberg, “Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash”  is a perfect example of the mistakes journalists make, reasoning by analogy instead of looking at fundamentals and “first principles.”

Daily Caller Publishes a False & Misleading Article: The Daily Caller is full of incorrect or misleading information, but one recent piece about a “report” by The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) inspired our Director Zachary Shahan to address their collection of misinformation under our Reality Check series.

Kristen Grind’s Omissions and Errors in PACE Reporting: A new analysis by CleanTechnica of Wall Street Journal reporter Kirsten Grind’s series of six articles on the popular, energy-efficiency home improvement finance program known as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) raises significant questions of accuracy and balance.

GateHouse Series (Part 3): Ignoring Facts to Push their Version of the Story

Does the GateHouse report accurately reflect the true experience of living near wind farms? We dive into a few examples of how the authors chose to ignore available data and frame the report to fit their own story, rather than the truth.

GateHouse Series (Part 2): Anti-Wind Series Used Textbook False Equivalency

This is the second article in our GateHouse series about their report, In the Shadow of Wind Farms. In this article, we look at the alleged health effects of living near wind turbines. GateHouse knowingly engaged in a textbook case of false equivalency by citing a few studies and experts for ‘wind turbine syndrome’ while ignoring the vast majority of scientific literature — and the leading international experts on the topic.

GateHouse Series (Part 1): Slanted Reporting on Wind Farm Communities

GateHouse Media’s extensive, recent series entitled In the Shadow of Wind Farms looks at how the rapid spread of large wind turbines is affecting host communities and wind farm neighbors — especially those who are not receiving a direct financial benefit from a nearby wind farm. But we found that the report provides no balance and no context, highlighting the experience of  a very small minority of homeowners living and working in and around wind turbines, disregarding the studies that show majority positive responses to living near wind farms.

MSNBC and CNBC Miss Key Point of Trump Solar Tariffs Story: Good Reporters Miss Two of the Main Points, and Just Repeat Misleading Trump Talking Points

While MSNBC and CNBC usually produce good content, with solid experts with strong and independent viewpoints that typically add a lot of context and useful detail. But their recent coverage about tariffs on Chinese solar cells and solar panels brought out how little they follow the energy industry and how little they understand what the problems are with this specific case.

No, GM isn’t Going to Crush Tesla: Reporter Seems to Understand Auto History Well, but Not EV Innovation

A recent article on Business Insider looks at GM vs. Tesla. But it shows a deep misunderstanding of Tesla’s competitive differentiation by author Matthew DeBord, which isn’t unusual for people who spend a lot of time covering the legacy manufacturers. Author Michael Barnard says, “I’m sure I’d enjoy reading his books and for anyone who wants to look back with nostalgia written by a decent writer [but] that doesn’t mean you want him giving you guideposts to the future.”