Friday, Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson criticized vaunted GOP pollster Frank Luntz, who Carlson alleged allowed his personal political beliefs and views of his corporate clients to impact the findings and conclusions of his various surveys.
Carlson called Luntz a “conventional liberal” and pointed his prior statements on immigration, the Second Amendment, and opioids as areas that leave much to be desired.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: A lot going on, but some big trends, too, when you think about them. You often wonder, what is going on? And for quite some time now, we’ve wondered what’s going on with congressional Republicans, a lot of nice people in the Republican Party. But the point of a political party is not to be nice. It is to represent the interests of its voters. That’s the only reason political parties exist in the first place. There’s no other reason to have them except to represent their own voters.
Yet, year after year on issue after issue, the leadership of the Republican Party fails to represent its voters and we’re not guessing about that, we know what Republican voters care about. They tell pollsters all the time.
And since they kept getting ignored, in 2016, they elected Donald Trump just to make it incredibly clear what they cared about. If that wasn’t a wake-up call, nothing would be and yet, nothing really changed. It remains true as of right now that the priorities of the people who run the Republican Party are very different. In some cases, completely different from the priorities of the people who vote Republican.
Why is that? Well, there are a lot of reasons for it, probably, but Frank Luntz is definitely one of those reasons. Luntz, Dr. Frank Ian Luntz as he is often called at his request, is the Republican Party’s longest serving message man.
For decades, Frank Luntz has told elected Republicans what to say and precisely how to say it. Luntz’s massages language for politicians. He does it now.
Just this week, in fact, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the NRCC invited Luntz to Florida for its so-called Policy Summit where he was asked to weigh in on the hot topics.
Luntz’s job was to tell Republicans, officeholders, people with power, how to think about the most important issues of the day. And we didn’t hear the presentation, but there’s no doubt it was compelling. Frank Luntz is a smooth salesman. That’s why he has been around for a while.
The problem with Frank Luntz is that his views, his personal views are very different from those of your average Republican voter. Frank Luntz is a conventional liberal. His main clients are left-wing corporations like Google.
When Frank Luntz gives advice to congressional Republicans, he has got Google’s perspective in mind. That’s a huge problem. We wanted to talk to Luntz about all of this on the show tonight. Nothing personal, but it’s interesting, and it’s important. So we texted him an invitation this morning, but he did not respond. That’s odd, since we’ve known him well for a long time.
In 2019, for example, he tweeted us this greeting, which tells you a lot about the kind of person Frank Luntz is, quote, “This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks to the men and women of the FBI, the CIA and the Intel Services.” That’s literally what the message says, it’s on the screen.
Even on Thanksgiving, Frank Luntz takes time to bow before the powerful. So, why does Frank Luntz remain a fixture in Republican politics at a time when the companies he works for are opposed to the Republican Party, explicitly so? Well, in part because he is particularly close to the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy of California and has been since McCarthy entered politics.
In an interview earlier this year, Luntz described Kevin McCarthy is a personal friend. And that relationship gives Frank Luntz outsized influence over the Republican Party’s policy positions. The big ones. Take the border crisis.
Frank Luntz’s view of immigration is very much like Google’s view of immigration. America needs a lot more immigration right away, and anyone who disagrees with that is a racist.
Now, rather than simply say that out loud, rather than make the case for his own opinions, Frank Luntz slyly dresses up his own personal opinions as social science. He’ll conduct something called a “focus group.” That’s a moderated conversation between several people that has in fact, no actual relevance to anything. It’s just random people yammering.
Your 90-second exchange with the UPS guy this morning meant more than a Frank Luntz focus group. And yet, purely on the basis of that irrelevant conversation, Luntz manages to make pronouncements about the country and how the Republican Party should respond to it.
Most of those pronouncements as you can imagine, tend to comport perfectly with his own views, as well as with the views of Google executives. AXIOS recently reported on Luntz’s findings about immigration. So what did Frank Luntz supposedly find out about immigration?
Well, it turns out according to Frank Luntz that Republican voters in fact, are dying to give amnesty to as many foreign nationals as they possibly can. They’re demanding it right away. It’s a top priority for them. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: They believe in immigrants, in immigration. They are pro-immigration. And honestly, I was a little surprised because of what I see reported in the media, Trump voters support the DREAM Act.
They support the ability of these people who were brought here to no fault of their own, the ability to earn a path to citizenship. We need these people. We actually have an economy that’s expanding and that’s growing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: “I was a little surprised to find out that deep down, Republican voters agree with me and Google.” We were not surprised. We’re all the children of immigrants, he told us. We need these people.
Now, that may be entirely true, or maybe it’s not true. We can debate it. But Frank Luntz doesn’t want to debate it, probably why he didn’t come on tonight. He wants instead to pretend that his personal opinions are established fact and that the Republican Party had better listen to them and obey.
Open borders activists immediately seized upon Luntz’s research to justify what they were already doing: keeping the borders open. The National Immigration Forum tweeted out a link right away. “DACA has bipartisan support,” the group wrote, pointing to Frank Luntz’s opinions posing as research as evidence of that. Passing the DREAM Act is an opportunity to make real meaningful progress.
You see. Amnesty has broad bipartisan support. There’s a national consensus in favor of opening the border so Republicans had better get on board because Frank Luntz’s research proves they desperately want it.
This is pretty close to fraud, actually. Who is served by it? That’s always the question in Washington. Well, Frank Luntz’s corporate clients are served by it, of course, but also the Democratic Party is served by it, a party whose priorities Frank Luntz’s appears to support.
Here he is back in 2012 telling the rest of us that according to his highly scientific surveys of a dozen people in some shopping mall somewhere, most Americans actually really want the government to take their guns away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: The public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools, and they’re not asking for a security official, or someone else. I don’t think the NRA is listening. I don’t think that they understand.
Most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun. Not every gun should be available at any time anywhere for anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yes, most people agree. Notice the language there? Did you listen carefully to that? You can protect the Second Amendment even as you gut it. It’s just commonsense gun control. Most Americans are for that.
Who does that sound like? It sounds a lot like Joe Biden, a man Frank Luntz has been friends with for a long time. Check out the note from Frank Luntz to Hunter Biden on Hunter’s laptop.
What you just heard in that clip were Democratic Party talking points. If you’d like more, there’s this. This is an interview from last summer, in which Frank Luntz explains that the phrase “law and order” is somehow offensive to most Americans.
Keep in mind that at the very moment Frank Luntz was saying this, American cities were on fire. People were dying. Why? Because there was no law and no order.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUNTZ: Well, I was critical that he used the words law and order. He is assuming that we have the same politics as 1968. Donald Trump doesn’t realize that you can govern in a strong, stable, successful way and still use language that is warm, and kind and empathetic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Yes, stopping riots isn’t warm and kind and empathetic. It doesn’t help equity. If that sounds a lot like something a corporate H.R. executive might say, you should not be surprised by that. As we told you a minute ago, Luntz’s main business is not helping the Republican Party, no, his main business is working for left-wing companies that despise the Republican Party, are horrified by Republican voters and everything they believe.
Frank Luntz’s long list of corporate clients include Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, Facebook, Nike, Coca-Cola, Disney, Delta Air Lines, and the Chamber of Commerce. These are the people who pay Frank Luntz’s bills.
In his spare time, Frank Luntz tells Kevin McCarthy how to run the Republican Party. Now, you can do one, you can’t do both. You can see the conflict here. And you wonder, how has this been allowed to continue?
In case you think we are overstating Frank Luntz’s allegiance to corporate power, take a look at his Twitter feed sometime if you’re ever bored, quote: “Delta employees made them the top-rated airline,” he wrote last January in what sounded very much like a press release. “That’s something only good workers can do, not shareholders.”
Then not long ago when Donald Trump called for boycotting Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines, after they interfered in a very shocking way, right in the middle of Georgia’s political system, Luntz came to the defense of them. Of course, they’re his clients.
“This left-wing cancel culture is out of control.” He wrote mockingly. You’ve got to wonder if Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines sent him a bonus for that. We don’t know, they should have. Either way, toadying for big corporations clearly pays well. Here is Frank Luntz showing off the replica of the Oval Office he had built in his home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What is — where are you?
LUNTZ: It was very kind of Donald Trump to give me his office and I’m very fortunate. This is real. This this — this is a chair. This is not a photograph. This is actually my home in California.
This is a 78 percent replica of the Oval Office and over here as I turn this around, this is the Lincoln bedroom. So I’m the only person who has an Oval Office that you can actually sleep in, and you don’t have to be a presidential intern.
And this is a genuine Resolute Desk. I’m going to put it there behind me, so you can see, including the buck stops here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
LUNTZ: We’ve got the humidor from Bill Clinton. Let’s see if I can get that in the shot. There you go. These are couches from Bill Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
LUNTZ: This is the whole thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So obviously, you could be pretty mean about that. It’s pretty weird. But the point of this is not to attack Frank Luntz personally, nice enough guy. The question to ask, what’s really going on here? Would you take medical advice for example from Frank Luntz? Should you have to?
If you’ve listened to him recently, he very much wants you to take the vaccine. Vaccines are great. Only a crazy person wouldn’t get the shot.
Frank Luntz hasn’t said a lot, however, about his longtime work for Pfizer. Hmm, that’s weird. Nor does he brag about his work for Purdue Pharma. Remember that company? Purdue Pharma, those are the people that got rural America addicted to opioids. Kind of wrecked the center of the country.
In 2003, as the opioid epidemic devastated the entire regions of the United States, Frank Luntz encouraged people to take more OxyContin. Are we making this up? No, we’re not. Quote: “I am a proponent of the pharmaceutical industry.” Frank Luntz told PBS. “I’m a supporter of a very famous medication right now, OxyContin, because I think that this is a miracle drug which allows people to get through the day.”
Now some people, Frank Luntz acknowledged, quote, ” … want to see OxyContin taken off the market,” but not Frank Luntz. He was taking money from Purdue Pharma, quote: “I believe that there are things worth fighting for.” Yes. Apparently.
A lawsuit filed against Purdue Pharma by the State of Massachusetts in 2019 includes multiple references to Frank Luntz. According to that suit, Luntz and his company helped Purdue Pharma devise ways of quote, “deflecting blame” from Purdue’s addictive drugs by stigmatizing people who become addictive.
The State of Vermont filed a similar lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, and it also mentioned Frank Luntz.
According to those lawsuits, Luntz proposed that Purdue Pharma adopt a strategy of emphasizing some quote, “key messages that work.” By the way, those words were spelled in all caps for emphasis.
One of those messages and we’re quoting, “It’s not addiction, it’s abuse. It’s about personal responsibility.” Right? So your 19-year-old just died of a drug OD after Purdue Pharma flooded your town with addictive narcotics, but stop complaining. It’s her fault she died.
It’s about personal responsibility.
This is the guy Republican leaders just went to this week for quote, “messaging guidance on hot topics.”
And you wonder why you no longer recognize the party that you vote for.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor