Frank Luntz did a Fox News special yesterday that purported to be a “Florida Primary Preview” but was more like a Republican candidate jamboree. After bringing on the presidential candidates, Luntz trotted out Rep. Allen West who just so happens to be up for re-election in what Luntz suggested would be a tough campaign. I’ll assume that the show was recorded before West made his hideous comments the night before saying that President Obama and other Democrats should “get the hell out of the United States of America.” But West already had a history of unhinged attacks on Democrats. When one of Luntz’ audience members confronted West on it, Luntz jumped in to maneuver the conversation so as to make West look good.
After giving West an opportunity to promote his re-election platform, Luntz turned to an African American woman on his panel. She said West has sounded “divisive” and “closed minded.” She identified herself as a conservative Democrat.
Luntz did not reveal the make up this panel (which seemed to change for each candidate) but it clearly skewed conservative.
Most of the other (mostly white and probably Republican) panelists couldn’t say enough good things about West. “Every time I see you on television, you’re just so honest and up front and I really respect that,” one said. There didn’t seem to be a liberal in the bunch.
No mention that West’s “honesty” included such unprofessional behavior as writing a letter to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying she is “the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives.”
But the African American woman stuck to her guns. She noted that West’s comments had been directed to a different “demographic” and that he had characterized black Democrats as “sheep… blinded by one party.” She was obviously referring to some previous comments by West depicting black Democrats as slaves on a plantation.
Luntz surely knew what the woman was talking about because West’s earlier comments had received a fair amount of attention. Yet Luntz feigned impartiality and interrupted her to ask if anyone else heard the same thing – which, of course, they hadn’t because West had said nothing of the sort there. Luntz then attempted to discredit her comments further by asking disdainfully, “What are you hearing that the other 28 people in here aren’t?”
Luntz also made an obvious attempt to discredit her as some kind of liberal ideologue by demanding to know which Republican presidential candidate she had ever voted for, after she said she had voted for Democrats and Republicans. I’ve got to give this lady props for holding her ground. She said she had never voted for a Republican presidential candidate but other Republican candidates. It was Luntz who had taken her statement and distorted it by suggestion.
Luntz sounded like the captain of a cheerleading squad when, as the segment drew to a close, he asked the panel, “Do you want him (West) elected? Do you want him to stay in Washington?”
Luntz concluded by saying, “They don’t agree on anything. But at least they almost all agree on that.”
Please don’t be overly inflammatory.
The only thing that is divisive is the Republican Party. They are fractured beyond repair.