Times Avoids Word 'Obama,' Buries Story on Plea to Delay Solyndra Layoff News

The Times buried revelations that the Obama administration asked Solyndra to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the 2010 midterm elections, not even mentioning the word "Obama." The same day it made the front page of the Washington Post.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu is testifying today before a Congressional committee on Solyndra, the solar equipment maker favored by the Obama administration that went bankrupt after being pledged federal loan guarantees worth a half-billion dollars.

Revelations that the administration asked Solyndra to delay a layoff announcement until after the 2010 midterm elections made the front page of the Washington Post on Wednesday: 'The Obama administration, which gave the solar company Solyndra a half-billion-dollar loan to help create jobs, asked the company to delay announcing it would lay off workers until after the hotly contested November 2010 midterm elections that imperiled Democratic control of Congress, newly released e-mails show.'

Meanwhile, the New York Times buried the revelation in a page 24 story by Matthew Wald, 'Solyndra Was Asked to Delay Layoff News Till After Midterms, Memo Says.'

And while the Post forthrightly identified 'The Obama administration" as the culprit, Wald's opening paragraph only blamed 'The Energy Department.' Bizarrely, the word 'Obama' doesn't appear in the story at all.

The Energy Department asked the Solyndra solar equipment company to delay an announcement about impending layoffs until after last year's midterm elections, according to a memo by the Republican staff of the House subcommittee that will call the energy secretary to testify Thursday about a government loan to Solyndra.

The Republican memo quotes from an e-mail written by a staff member at Argonaut, a venture capital firm that was a major investor in the company, that says of the Energy Department, 'They did push very hard for us to hold our announcement of the consolidation to employees and vendors to Nov. 3rd.' The midterm election was Nov. 2.

'Oddly they didn't give a reason for that date,' the committee staff quotes the e-mail as saying. The e-mail itself was not released, and no government e-mail requesting a delay has been found.

A Thursday morning followup by Wald (page 4) on the upcoming hearings didn't mention the emails at all.