Thursday, May 2, 2013

Trapped in a Web of Truth, Frank Luntz is Whining

Bill Berkowitz

Republican Party political consultant, strategist and pollster Frank Luntz is whining. Being Frank Luntz, you can be sure that it's calculated whining, but it's whining nevertheless.

The man who has devoted the better part of his professional life to turning words into weapons of mass misdirection in support of his clients -- often resulting in their becoming weapons of mass indigestion for his clients' opponents -- is claiming that his privacy rights have been violated by a University of Pennsylvania student who secretly taped "off-the-record" comments made by Luntz about how certain well-known figures within the conservative movement are hurting the movement.

There are two storylines in play here: 1) The Original -- What Luntz actually said about divisive conservatives hurting the Republican Party; and, 2) The Conjured-- Luntz the aggrieved.

Clearly, Luntz's whining is aimed at changing the narrative from storyline one to storyline two.

The latest Luntz story has the no-longer boy wonder trying to finagle his way out of what can only be characterized as "another fine mess."

In late April, Luntz , a 1984 U of Penn graduate, was invited by the school's College Republicans to speak at a public event on campus. According to's (The Daily Pennsylvanian) Sarah Smith and Will Marble, "During the speech, members of the audience asked Luntz about his views on political polarization in the United States. Luntz - who also taught at Penn in the 1980s - answered that he was hesitant to speak on the record." He then asked "if anyone was recording the speech." A Daily Pennsylvanian reporter covering the event "shut his recorder off. When Luntz asked College junior Aakash Abbi if he was recording, he told Luntz he was only taking a picture, but continued filming the speech ..."

Luntz then proceeded to go off on some of his longtime Republican Party-related brethren, particularly conservative pundits and talk-show hosts. "They get great ratings, and they drive the message, and it's really problematic. And this is not on the Democratic side. It's only on the Republican side," Luntz said in the tape. "Democrats have every other source of news on their side. And so that is a lot of what's driving it. If you take -- Marco Rubio's getting his ass kicked. Who's my Rubio fan here? We talked about it. He's getting destroyed! By Mark Levin, by Rush Limbaugh, and a few others. He's trying to find a legitimate, long-term effective solution to immigration that isn't the traditional Republican approach, and talk radio is killing him. That's what's causing this thing underneath. And too many politicians in Washington are playing coy."

The student who recorded Luntz's remarks sent them off to Mother Jones' David Corn, who, as Wonkette's Gary Legum pointed out, "is becoming a clearinghouse for this sort of thing," referencing Corn's work publicizing Mitt Romney 47% video.

"I made the choice to share my recording with Mother Jones because Luntz's comments are important. They illustrate one of the largest schisms within the GOP and expose the hypocrisy of Luntz's willingness to place blame for his party's division upon a media establishment he has helped build. Further, his request to be taken off the record was never one to which I acquiesced" Aakash Abbi wrote in a column.

And in a final burst of Luntzian magnanimity, he announced that he would not renew a scholarship in his father's name for students to travel to Washington, D.C.
Ya see what happens when even a Repug powerhouse tells the truth just ONCE?!

On the bright side, Sen. Toomey did that recently as well. Truth-telling by Repugs twice in one week! The earth has shifted on its axis...


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