On Thursday, Politico and a several other reporters pointed out a two-month old video of a contestant on an episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire correctly answering a question about Solyndra. Why? Because the bankrupt company subsidized by the government to make solar panels became a Republican talking point last year and a Romney photo-op in May, and the fact that a player answered a question about it gave the pundits a new (very small) focus group that proved people know about this issue.
Meredith Viera the host of Millionaire -- which is, in fact, a show that still airs -- asked:
In 2011, the White House took heat after granting over half a billion dollars in loans to Solyndra, a failed company that created what? A. Charter schools B. Oil pipelines C. Solar panels or D. Public housing.
The contestant isn't totally sure but seems to be playing word association, and she doesn't take too much time to settle on the right answer.
This is the smallest bit of good news for the Republican messaging machine. The conservative Washington Free Beacon highlighted the video back in May, too, but as is common on the internet, it's having a revival today. (It definitely aired in May as proved by this cheesy clip of a George Washington impersonator asking the same contestant a question.) Our guess is that Millionaire played the episode as a re-run in some markets on this fine July day.
Politico's Alexander Burns posted about it noting that buzzwords like "Solyndra" sometimes don't take hold with the public but this "would seem to suggest Solyndra's catching on at least a bit." Meanwhile, folks like the RNC and Fox Nation are celebrating (or at least, pointing out) on Twitter that their talking point has made it to the big leagues. Well, whatever league old daytime game shows are in. "Solyndra breaks through to 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,'" tweets the RNC's Tim Miller. Congratulations, we guess.
After decades of listening to the bizarre anecdotes of Jeopardy! contestants, we'd submit that one game show contestant isn't necessarily the best focus group in the world, but hey, every voter, even those in syndication, counts.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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