While discussing two upstart electric car companies, contributors to the self proclaimed "fair and balanced" Fox News Channel (FNC) have proven that they are not smarter than a fifth grader. Jeff Foxworthy didn't even have to ask a single question.
In reports criticizing recent Department of Energy (DOE) loans offered to Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors, FNC managed to murder the truth so brutally that hosts, Martha MacCallum and Neil Cavuto should appear on an episode of Cops.
To their credit, Fox correctly reported that the DOE has committed $529 million to Fisker. Beyond that, accuracy was laid to rest, as the segments chided the government for supporting a company with ties to former Democratic Vice President, Al Gore. MacCallum neglected to mention that former Republican Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is a strategic limited partner for the same venture capital firm that Gore represents: KPCB. KPCB has already invested in Fisker, so it's no surprise that they'd lobby the government to do so.
MacCallum also insinuated that all of Fisker's loan money would be spent to create jobs in Finland, mentioning the Nordic country three times in five minutes. In a related report on Your World with Neil Cavuto, FNC contributor, Stephen Moore repeatedly referred to Fisker as "this Finland company." Moore's apparent misunderstanding of when to use the word "Finnish" wasn't his only mistake. While Fisker does plan to assemble their high-profile Karma sedan in Finland, the company is based in Irvine, California and has an engineering office in Pontiac, Michigan.
Moore also mentioned a British company. He seemed to be referring to Tesla Motors, which is based in San Carlos, California and has already produced America's first highway legal all-electric car. The Tesla Roadster is assembled in the U.K.
The following tidbits were among the other convenient omissions in FNC's coverage of the DOE loans:
- MacCallum questioned how the $89,000 Fisker Karma would "make any impact on people who are just trying to buy a good car that's fuel efficient? They cannot afford to buy these." Less than one third of Fisker's loan money will be spent to finalize the design of the Karma. 65% of the vehicle's parts will come from U.S. suppliers. The remainder of the loan money will be applied to "Project Nina," Fisker's effort to produce a plug-in hybrid priced at $39,000 after tax credits.
- MacCallum stated that "There's another company, Tesla Motors, and they got $465 million from the same program. They're building a car that costs $109,000." While these two statements taken independently are true, none of the $465 million will finance the $109,000 U.K.-built Roadster. The loan is intended to help fund the development and production of the future, Model S sedan which will sell for $49,900 after tax credits. The Model S will be built in Southern California.
- MacCallum mentioned that "There are lots of other companies who applied for this money and didn't get it." In fact, one very American automaker received loan commitments of $5.9 billion - more than ten times the amount of Fisker's loans. They're called Ford Motor Company and they also assemble cars overseas, with foreign-made parts.
In response to the FNC reports, Fisker issued a statement of their own, available in full at their website. Likewise, Tesla offered a blog post earlier this week to clarify how they intend to use the DOE loans.
Check out the FNC segments in full below.