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Just before the SOTU, I diaried about a solicitation my Mom received from Frank Luntz's group asking her to participate in a dial session focus group in real time for CNN.  I told her I wanted to keep an eye on what this pernicious carbuncle is doing with regard to meddling with media.  So she has been sending me his come ons.  Follow past the jump for the latest wherein he's asking members of his list to solicit participation from Dems, Indies and Repubs.  

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Making sure that all views are represented, and ensuring that 30 separate personalities blend, isn't the easiest task to complete.  The more people we have to select from and mix together creates diversity that allows us to show the opinions of everyone.  In order to better serve others, we are hoping to expand our list of potential participants.  Would it be possible to forward this email to others - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - to see if they would be interested in joining us at future dial sessions?  

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What do we make of this?  What kind of crap is this jackal up to?  Should we all sign up to provide a counterweight of progressive sanity to his delusional right wing partisanry?

Originally posted to antonrobb on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:31 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I've participated in a few of these sessions. (6+ / 0-)

      During the run up to the invasion of Iraq, and shortly after it, they were using these groups on TV to manipulate the message.  I showed up on a couple of MSNBC shows.  

      The way they work is this:
      You sign up.  Then they follow up with a phone interview to qualify you.  They ask a series of questions to see whether you really are independent or not, that sort of thing.

      If you get through the first screen, you get invited down for a taping session.   They don't offer to pay any compensation.

      You show up at the studio, they run you through a filter (R, D, I...) Then they put you in groups and pull from those pools for the show.  They put wireless microphones on all the people selected and give them the dial - which is nothing more than a knob you can use to "instantly" indicate how you feel about what someone is saying.  

      The microphones (at least in my session) were used so you could ask questions, respond to Luntz's questions, etc.

      The name of the game is message massage.  If you ask questions that put their message carrier in a bad light, you will get removed during a commercial break and another person will be seated in your place.   Salted in this "random sample" are ringers who have their talking points on paper to practice.  One time we were getting ready to go on, and a young plant was studiously reviewing his talking points.  I tapped the paper to get his attention.  When he looked up, a little more startled and confused than annoyed, I said "Kid, if you don't know your lines by now - cramming won't help you."  He didn't think it was as funny as I did.

      I got through three commercial breaks before they yanked me on the second run.  After the studio tech removed my mic, he said under his breath "It's a shame... we need more people like you speaking out."

      Luntz doesn't lie - per se- what he does is cherry pick the answers he wants so he can get the message he wants.  He's alternatively charming and despotic, engaging and intimidating.  He does what he has to do to get the message he wants.  If berating you works, he does that.  If you can go toe to toe with him, he either ignores you, or gives you opportunities to answer questions so he can then go around and spin the counterpoint without giving you a rebuttal.

      He likes to present the dial as some sort of high tech sophisticated piece of wizardry, but it is really just a prop.  The real magic is picking the right words to obscure the crap policy.  At that, he is very good.  

      The upshot - its a meme generator that puts talking points into the mouths of "Joe Six-Pack" so it has the versimilitude of authenticity.  Once it is out there, the echo chamber gets to pick it up and play it to death with "some people say" as the caveat.

      "They really don't want to 'win' the war; they just want to have one."
      -- DelicateMonster

      by 8ackgr0und N015e on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 01:40:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Off topic, but about Luntz: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A few years ago Luntz appeared on Washington Journal on Christmas Day, yes, on December 25.

        So when Democrats called in and complained about Bush, Luntz' response to them was always (paraphrasing):  It's Christmas.  Shame on you for not having anything nice to say about the man on Christmas.

        He repeated that phrase many times when people told him exactly what they thought of Bush, including their thoughts on the Iraq invasion.

        I believe Luntz chose Christmas Day to appear on Washington Journal so he wouldn't have to seriously answer opposition questions, he could simply admonish them for not being nice on Christmas.

        Hensarling: "Let's repeal it today, replace it tomorrow." Wimpy: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today"

        by gooderservice on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 02:14:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think I lost the ability to 4, but 4! nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  I think Crooks and Liars showed a Fox (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, BlueSue, Nailbanger, AnnieR

    "focus group" today with everyone sagely agreeing that the President is a Kenyan Muslim.

    Seriously.  It was on Fox and Fiends this morning.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:38:08 PM PST

  •  "Word doctors?"... (7+ / 0-)
    ...they actually call their sleazy grift "word doctors?"

    More like bullshit quacks.

    •  Frankenstein's Creator Was Also a "Dr." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And like that other storied "Dr.", Luntz's Word Doctors also create this new reality out of the parts of other people (superficially their reaction to various words, but more fundamentally, the deep emotional tides that create those reactions - tides that Luntz identifies, then charts - providing valuable navigational tools for the GOP.)

      All the GOP talking heads need do is follow the word paths laid out by the good "Dr." and they too contribute to the creation of a monsterous and misbegotten reality designed to serve the interests of the GOP and those whose special interests they represent.  

      If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

      by Into The Woods on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 01:43:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pernicious carbuncle . . . (6+ / 0-)

    Such a vivid and accurate description of Luntz and his ilk. I will remember that one and use it often!  

  •  I may hate Luntz (6+ / 0-)

    and all he stands for...but I can't deny the douchenozzle his due. He helped R's more than anyone over the last few years, the bastard.

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:46:23 PM PST

  •  I wonder (0+ / 0-)

    what they consider "relevant information".

    I could buy a parrot and train it to say, `tax cuts,' but at the end of the day, it's still a parrot, not a conservative.

    by MadRuth on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:46:36 PM PST

  •  I hate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    The fucking dusche bag.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. Jimi Hendrix

    by Dave B on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 12:54:00 PM PST

  •  LA Times article on Luntz SOTU focus group (6+ / 0-)

    I thought of your diary when I read this review (he's also critical of MSNBC):

    On the Media: Fox News 'pollster' Frank Luntz's sleight of phrase

    GOP consultant Frank Luntz gives Fox News a room full of President Obama opponents and feeds them misleading information.

    You saw it after this week's State of the Union address, when Fox offered up a famously partisan political operative as an unbiased pollster, just wanting to help us understand the American people. Surprise, surprise — GOP consultant Frank Luntz spoon-fed Fox viewers a focus group chock-full of Obama haters.

    The writer called it a kangaroo court with chief justice Sean Hannity.

  •  Luntz has only 1 master--GOP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, arlene, Happy Days

    They are running against an incumbent with a solid 45-48% base and so far a disorganized GOP field. The 2012 election is decided in the middle and Luntz has to figure out a way to draw in independents and inattentive democrats.

    It will be interesting how he turns Congress's abortion ban turn into a Jobs initiative.

    Never underestimate the ability of the Right to over reach.

    by never forget 2000 on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 01:12:57 PM PST

  •  What he's doing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gailwax what anyone putting together focus groups would do. I don't see anything suspicious about it.

  •  I was in the CNN focus group the night of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    SOTU, and as much as I love an hysterical call to action, afraid I really can't get worked up on this one. It was evenly split among D's, R's and I's. Nothing too outrageous and I got to test out some really boffo interactive.

    all who are hungry, let them come and eat.

    by beegee kochav on Tue Feb 08, 2011 at 01:57:18 PM PST

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