USUN Gives Luntz a Platform


The U.S. Mission to the United Nations is hosting a briefing on the 2008 presidential elections later this week. The three speakers are Former Rep. David Bonior from the Edwards campaign, Former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey from the Romney campaign, and Frank Luntz.
It’s the appearance by Luntz, the architect of the Bush administration’s fear and terror frames, that caught my attention. First, Luntz’s inclusion tips the balance of the panel in favor of conservatives/Republicans over progressives/Democrats — but I’m not too nitpicky about these sorts of ratios. More importantly, Luntz has had no formal involvement in the election. His claim to credibility on this topic is rooted in his exploits as a pollster, which have earned him reprimands from the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the National Council on Public Polls for two separate infractions.
That this event is taking place at the United Nations adds irony to the story. Just over eighteen months ago, Luntz participated in a UN bash-o-rama coordinated by the Hudson Institute in New York. There, he released new polling data that, according to him, shows that the UN had emerged as a wedge issue that could decide a presidential election and that Americans were “one scandal away from washing their hands” of the UN. Even a cursory look at secondhand reports of the polling reveals bias in the language of the questions (and, more importantly, recent, credible polling arrives at opposite conclusions).
It seems to me that Frank Luntz is the least appropriate person to speak at this forum. Well…John Bolton could probably give him a run for his money. But there’s no good reason to give Luntz this platform.
— Scott Paul


14 comments on “USUN Gives Luntz a Platform

  1. Kathleen says:

    I still think it is strange that the State Department decided to use the US Embassy at the UN to host a press briefing on the oresidential elections with representative of two former canididates. Is this the norm for presidential election years? I Ihink this is a first and it has more to do with the “Condti for VEEP” campaign, soto voce, so to speak.


  2. citizen says:

    perhaps you could dig up hitler’s collaborators for the next panel…America is sure you would be proud of them also….great work!! tens of thousands of american life and limb spread throughout iraqi soil…4.5 million homeless iraqi living in poverty…bin laden dances free in tora bora…you have served your country with dignity…look in the mirror.


  3. DonS says:

    Nicole, respectfully, your gratuitous condescension, despite your pedigree, makes the case for defensiveness. Surely you could have found someone without this baggage.
    To Steve’s point about progressives taking a lesson or two from Luntz, touche. Also, a pathetic commentary on our society. In its best light, aseptic manipulation is still manipulation.
    BTW, kudos to Scott Paul for taking a risk or two. We don’t need no stinking sacred cows 😉


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “We invited him for his expertise and ability to clearly explain the American electoral process”
    Really??? Well, geez, why not just invite Kenneth Blackwell, or one of the executives of ES&S or Diebold?
    I mean hey, you might as well give ’em the truth, and ya might even help a few UN nations pick up a few pointers on how to steal an election or two.


  5. Kathleen says:

    Nicole… is holding press briefings at the US Mission at the UN on the presidential elections a regular thing or is this the first time? It stikes me as new. Is this the US Mission in N.Y.?


  6. Nicole says:

    I’m the Deputy Director of the Press Office at the US Mission to the UN — a 15-year government employee who has worked for several Administrations. Dr. Luntz will serve as moderator for our panel discussion. We invited him for his expertise and ability to clearly explain the American electoral process. I have heard him speak and respectfully suggest that the bloggers on this page do the same…
    I invited Dr. Luntz to speak and I’m proud of it.


  7. citizen says:

    you seem a little defensive. Your enron numbers have been used to justify crimes of treason and the loss of life of thousands…your bank account is filled with gold from the traitors that lied to the world, milead our country and sacrificed hundreds of thousands in life and limb. The house of luntz shall are permanently stained with the blood of treason.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It is a briefing for the foreign press about election 08. I plan to highlight Obama’s success and why he is likely to be the next president”
    Instead, why don’t we focus on why NONE of these three pathetic posturing politicos should be able to weasel their way into the Oval Office.
    Tell us, Luntz, what these three have done to rein in this criminal and malfeasant Executive Administration. Or are you just a accomplice to the destruction of everything we once stood for?


  9. Scott Paul says:

    I should say for the record, as you might have noticed, that I’m speaking only for myself here and not for Steve.
    You may very well have some insights into this year’s presidential election, and I don’t doubt you will offer an honest assessment based on your instant response dial sessions. But this isn’t just any briefing for foreign press on the elections. It’s a briefing for the UN press corps hosted by the U.S. Mission.
    In my view, the polling you did in 2006 for the Hudson Institute was a hatchet job on the UN, not a fair picture of American attitudes toward the institution. The few members of the press corps that I’ve spoken with agree. With all due respect, the U.S. Mission could have invited any number of pollsters or public opinion experts that do not carry this baggage.
    Frank, I am fully aware that this has nothing to do with neocons or American attitudes toward the UN, and I’m sure your insights are valuable. And I respect your right to participate in the event — no foul play on your part here. But I think the U.S. Mission has demonstrated some poor judgment by including you in this event for this audience.


  10. Frank Luntz says:

    This is Frank Luntz here. Just for the record, I was invited to speak because I have conducted instant response dial sessions at every Democratic and Republican debate over the past year — roughly 40 in all. And I only said yes because it is a non-partisan forum where we would discuss issues and voter attitudes without having to score partisan points.
    This has nothing to do with neo-cons, attitudes towards the UN, or John Bolton. It is a briefing for the foreign press about election 08. I plan to highlight Obama’s success and why he is likely to be the next president … unless you all object. So top whining.


  11. David says:

    While I think it is good to know at all times what Frank Luntz is up to and what he is thinking about, I have to agree with Scott Paul on this one. The deck is stacked. Here’s hoping David Bonior can more than hold his own, but I’ve always thought David Bonior was more of a representative who was pretty sound on the issues than someone who is an effective spokesperson for those issues.
    Who is the moderator, who is the producer, and ditto to the question about whose idea this was. This ain’t like something Steve Clemons would assemble or oversee.


  12. Kathleen says:

    P.S. will Condi be present… or will someone soft ball a question about her potential entry into the presidential elections? Who decided to do this, any clues?


  13. Steve Clemons says:

    Scott — interesting post. I have heard Frank Luntz speak a number of times now and think that it’s better to hear Frank out and have him engaged with international institutions and the discussion about them than not. I think that there is a lot of material that Frank has to offer that would be useful for progressives.
    Steve Clemons


  14. Kathleen says:

    Hmmmm, sounds like an attempt to mobilize the anti UN neo-cons and to flex muscle at the UN, Maybe an atempt to twist-spin that the UN is intruding into domestic politics. Twisted minds do twisted things.
    The US Mission to the UN is hosting a briefing on the presidential elections. Is this a FIRST for our Mission?
    Is it time to man the Bolton Battle stations again?


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