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Frank Luntz: Homeland Propagandist

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Presidents have used polling since the Kennedy administration (at least), and George W. Bush is no exception. The Bush Administration just uses its polling data a little differently. Where the Clinton Administration used polling to develop policies that would be popular with the public, the Bush Administration uses their polling to promote ideas that are unpopular with the public.

This is where Frank Luntz comes in. He uses focus groups and other kinds of market research to determine how the public feels about various issues, and more precisely --how they react to specific words and phrases --then he advises Republicans how to use those words to trigger the right emotions in the American public.

Mr. Luntz 's work on environmental concerns is a perfect example of what he is doing for our government. Since gaining control of Congress in 1994, the Republicans have made a concerted effort to roll back all sorts of environmental standards and public health protections. Frank Luntz knows this is not popular with a majority of Americans --so he advises:

If you want to lower the health standards of the Clean Air Act, you should call it "The Clear Skies Initiative ".

If you want to clear-cut our National Forests? --call it the "Healthy Forest Proposal ".

"Become a champion of national parks and forests ... Preserving parks and open spaces is a winner. "


Unite Americans by emphasizing our shared rights and beliefs: "we all want to move towards a healthier, safer future "; "we all want/deserve clean air/water ".

...and whatever you do; don 't let the truth get in the way.
"A compelling story, even if factually inaccurate, can be more emotionally compelling than a dry recitation of the truth... The facts are beside the point. It's all in how you frame your argument. " --Frank Luntz, quoted in The Guardian, 3/4/03

Mr. Luntz calls it "framing ". Politicians call it spinning. The rest of the world just calls it lying. I think Samantha Bee of the Daily Show got it exactly right when she described Frank Luntz 's work as "a brilliant career spraying perfume on dog turds. "

Because he is strictly a behind-the-scene advisor, it is impossible to say where Frank Luntz 's work ends and Karl Rove 's begins; but together they have developed a propaganda machine that is reminiscent of Germany in the 1930 's. I don 't mean to imply that George W. Bush is the new Adolph Hitler. Hitler was an incredibly effective public speaker; and, fortunately for us, Bush can barely read a speech off a teleprompter. If Bush possessed Hitler 's ability to inflame the public 's passions, we would probably have Ann Coulter marching liberals into gas chambers by now. I am merely pointing out that the Bush Administration 's use of lies and propaganda is similar to what happened in Hitler 's Germany.
"Through technical devices like the radio and the loudspeaker, eighty million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man. " --Albert Speer, Hitler 's Minister for Armaments, at his trial at Nuremberg

"The Republicans and especially the neoconservative intellectuals realized that control of information or one might say replacing it with propaganda was the key to solidifying their political power within the United States. That 's why the conservatives have invested billions of dollars over the past quarter century in building their own potent media infrastructure, ranging from cable networks and major daily newspapers to AM talk radio and well-organized Internet bloggers. " -- Robert Parry, Consortium News, 3/16/05

"The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category. " --Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

"You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists. " --George W. Bush

"Propaganda must be limited to a few simple themes and these must be represented again and again. " -- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

"There's a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again ... "--Frank Luntz, in a Frontline PBS interview, 11/9/04

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. " --George W. Bush, 5/24/05

"The great masses of people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one. Especially if it is repeated over and over. " --Adolph Hitler, 1939

"Weapons of mass destruction ... weapons of mass destruction ... weapons of mass destruction ... weapons of mass destruction ... "--Every member of the Bush Administration, every day, for 15 months leading up to their war in Iraq

Don 't think what happened in Germany can 't happen here. It is already happening. Based on propaganda and outright lies, the Bush Administration has misused America 's military power to invade and occupy a nation that was no threat to us. America is holding hundreds of prisoners in a concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay and 40,000 more in various prisons in Iraq. Prisoners are routinely abused with the blessing of the highest levels of our government. Does this sound like the way things are supposed to be in America?

Where are the checks and balances of our government? Why haven 't our "representatives " in Congress done something to stop these outrages? The short answer is that the Republicans in Congress have steadfastly refused to allow any investigation into the high crimes and misdemeanors of George W. Bush.

Why is that? Are the Republicans in Congress so afraid of the vindictive Bush Administration that they dare not speak out? Do they really believe that Clinton 's lies about a sexual encounter are more worthy of impeachment than Bush 's lies that took our nation into war --or are they the shameless hypocrites that they appear to be?
Those who can make you believe absurdities; can make you commit atrocities--Voltaire, French author (1694 - 1778)

 

Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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Excellent article and what has to be an antidote?... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Oct 29, 2005 at 1:48:50 PM
Great article - thanks. May I also recommend th... by Richard W. Symonds on Monday, Oct 31, 2005 at 6:41:48 PM
It is a media War and Americans know it. Whoever s... by Dom Jermano on Tuesday, Nov 1, 2005 at 8:16:41 AM