I first heard of Frank Luntz on the Colbert Report on Aug 16. He is a communications consultant (read: propagandist) working for the GOP. Luntz is a pollster, meaning he does really fine analysis of language, communications, and their effect on public opinion. In absolute seriousness: He is the modern incarnation of a court wizard. He is an expert at psychic warfare. I find him completely fascinating, and I think he's worth paying attention to.
Here's Luntz coaching Stephen Colbert. Colbert has hired him as a campaign consultant; I'll be really curious to see where this is going. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/394777/august-16-2011/colbert-super-pac---frank-luntz-commits-to-the-pac
- This interview is fascinating. I feel like we're peeking behind the curtain and seeing exactly how rhetorical machinery works.
Luntz's job is to get deep into the American psyche and tease out exactly what it wants. He then figures out what language most effectively taps into those hopes and fears.
Luntz is a memetic mercenary. An ontological alchemist. Luntz is the guy who framed the "estate tax" as the "death tax". He wrote the memo which became the Bush White House's playbook for dismissing global warming. (the American people are uncertain about the science, therefore you need to make them feel that the scientific community is uncertain too.)
Luntz draws a lot of heat. And it's a well placed anger - his work is incredibly manipulative by nature. It focuses on the form, not substance, of communication. And it's really effective, that's why he's worth keeping your finger on.
In this video, Penn and Teller try to take him down a peg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If9EWDB_zK4
- they explain exactly why polls are bullshit. Watch how Luntz uses effective language to make somebody give two completely contradictory answers without even realizing it.
In this short video clip from PBS' Frontline
, Luntz defends his famous "climate change" memo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yz8UwRsWPA
-- he doesn't believe in the content of the memo anymore, but he insists that whether you agree with it or not, you gotta admit that it was genius
. Watch him effectively shift the goal posts in this interview to move it away from being right/wrong. It really is a work of art.
Here's a long one, but it's absolutely packed with interesting stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhdLGvcOuMM
--- Luntz spoke at a luncheon at the Goldwater Institute last year during the healthcare debate. (Fast forward to 5 minutes, that's when Luntz starts talking) The room is filled with right wing politicians and big name donors. In this video, he goes over some of the linguistic tai-chi and psychic warfare he's developed for the 2012 election.
To the people in this room focused on tort reform: Americans are not particularly sophisticated. They think torts are a french pastry. Can you please call it "Lawsuit reform"?
The longtime PD members will recognize that Luntz shares a lot of characteristics with Ben "Call Me Doctor" Mack. I've never seen anybody wield political language this precisely. Watch how during the course of this speech, he insults nearly everybody in the room. He establishes that he's not just some fat fuck who sells books, he's smart as a whip, and you should pay attention to him if you want to know what's up.
Short video - Frank Luntz on the six critical components that determine the success or failure of a political party: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DOy9mQZy8M
Frank Luntz addresses Ron Paul supporters who are killing his platform: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0mS35mqnRE&feature=related
-- In this video he talks a bit about how mudslinging works.
It's all smoke and mirrors! Here's a short clip which exposes a layer of manipulation. Fox News showed clips from a Frank Luntz poll of "random citizens". This video shows the same "random citizen" in two different videos, clearly indicating that he's a paid actor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3BDvfAf2c4&feature=related
Politics aside, I find Luntz and his work fascinating. Let us know what you think, and please share any other Luntz media of interest.