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“” The disheveled appearance, the sardonic wit, all add up to a sort of tilting against the establishment, an insistence that it listen to the Real People [...] Having once thought elites needed to listen to regular people, he now wants the people to learn from their moneyed betters.
Frank Luntz is a Republican spin doctor, push pollster, and heir apparent to Edward Bernays. If you hear some new, conservatively correct, political buzzword or meme on Fox News, you can bet that Luntz cooked it up in a focus group last month.
Luntz is often invited on Faux as an "analyst" or "opinion pollster." Other stations have been increasingly loath to invite him on shows due to his reputation as a GOP shill. He has also been reprimanded by the American Association for Public Opinion Research after refusing to release data and methodology.
Luntz is an expert framer; here are some of his greatest hits:
- "Death Tax" (for estate tax)
- "Government takeover" and "Washington takeover" (in reference to health care reform)
- "Health care rationing"
- Emphasizing "Climate Change" (vs. global warming)
- "Help small businesses" (in lieu of talking about Capitalism)
- Mentioning 9/11 in close proximity to anything having to do with foreign policy in the Middle East.
- Contract with and Pledge to America
- "Job Creation" (in lieu of entrepreneurship)
Global warming memo
The most notorious of Luntz's memos focused on global warming denial in which he urged Republicans to use only the term "climate change" as it was less threatening than "global warming." Luntz further explains how to bullshit:
“”The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science...Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.
He has since distanced himself from the memo and claims to accept the science behind global warming.
Orwell rolls in his grave
In an interview on NPR, Luntz permanently upped the irony bar for future shysters by saying:
Penn & Teller
Penn & Teller: Bullshit! did an episode showing how statistics and polls were abused in the media. A large chunk of the episode centers on Luntz. P&T claim that they got 24% of people they polled to pledge to say "Fuck you, Frank!" every time they saw a pie chart.
- Word Doctors, aka Luntz's bullshit factory
- Luntz coverage at PBS
- Frank Luntz Rides Again, Columbia Journalism Review
- PolitiFact named the "government takeover" soundbite The Lie of the Year for 2010
- Ball, "The Agony of Frank Luntz", Atlantic 1.6.14.
- Why should we trust this man? Dante Chinni
- "Growth, Prosperity, Energy, Economy"
- "The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America
- Luntz converts on global warming
- NPR interview
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, episode 4.09, Numbers