Making Watergate “Look Like Child’s Play”: The Solyndra Discourse (2011–2012) as Flak

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

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Making Watergate “Look Like Child’s Play”: The Solyndra Discourse (2011–2012) as Flak


  • Brian Michael Goss Department of Communication, Saint Louis University—Madrid Campus, Spain


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Abstract:  In analyzing the distinction between flak and scandal, this investigation focuses on the discourse around Solyndra in 2011–2012 on two media platforms. Solyndra was a solar panel firm that went bankrupt after receiving American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (‘The Stimulus’) funds. The analysis shows that National Review—a rightwing journal of opinion that increasingly operates as an online platform—unswervingly utilized the Solyndra bankruptcy as an instrument of political combat. Following flak lines rehearsed by Republicans in congressional hearings, National Review narrated Solyndra as scandalous evidence of the Obama administration’s putative ineptitude and/or criminality that, moreover, discredited the efficacy of green energy. The performance of the mainstream newspaper The Washington Post presented a grab-bag mix as its objective methods insinuated flak packaged as scandal into stories when they followed Republican talking points. At the same time, The Washington Post’s discourse noted that no evidence of administration corruption was discovered despite extensive investigation and that government intervention into the economy is often highly beneficial.

Keywords:  Democrats; flak; National Review; political scandal; Republicans; Solyndra; The Washington Post

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v9i2.3692


© Brian Michael Goss. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.