Monday, October 04, 2004

The Putz Plumps For Luntz

Kudos to Media Matters for America for making Frank Luntz cry. On the comforting shoulder of fellow Republican Howie Kurtz, no less:

Pollster Frank Luntz is crying foul after MSNBC canceled his long-scheduled focus group two days before the debate. Luntz, who is under contract to MSNBC, had already spent $30,000 on recruits for several focus groups and invited reporters in Florida to watch -- only to be told that the network didn't want to declare a winner in the debate.

"I think they buckled to political pressure," says Luntz, who has advised Republicans from Newt Gingrich to Rudy Giuliani but says he's done no GOP work since 2001. "They caved. . . . Why is it that Democrats are allowed to do this" after leaving politics, "but Republicans aren't?"

But MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines says: "We made a decision not to use focus groups as part of our debate coverage. This decision had nothing to do with Frank's past work or politics. We think our viewers should be able to make up their own minds without 'scientific' help" -- despite the fact that the network has prominently featured Luntz and his on-air focus groups for four years.

Luntz has criticized President Bush on occasion, and his non-televised focus group, ironically, favored Kerry in the debate. Some NBC executives find him extremely fair but believe his longtime GOP links create a perception problem.

"For me, nothing is more important than getting it right," Luntz says. He says MSNBC bowed to pressure from conservative-turned-liberal activist David Brock in dumping him and that the network hasn't even agreed to use him as an analyst -- sans focus groups -- in this week's debates.

Some NBC executives find Luntz extremely fair? Okay, name 'em, shillboy!

Then do the math.

And, Frank, perhaps if you didn't call your employer a liar ... no, the other one, MSNBC ... you might get better treatment from them.

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