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October 16, 2012 1:20 AM   Subscribe

"When global warming was recast as "climate change," that was Frank Luntz. When the estate tax became a "death tax," that was Frank Luntz. When the Affordable Health Care for America Act was held up as "a government takeover," that was Frank Luntz, too." How A Top GOP Strategist Is Helping Hockey Owners Craft Their Lockout Propaganda

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski offers his reaction.
posted by mannequito (51 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, Frank Luntz!

Here's an idea guys. Someone using a BS anti-euphamism in order to edge public perception of a thing in the direction of being more beneficial to the powerful? We could call that luntzing. He might not see it as a bad thing (which is why probably why he was on Colbert), but future generations might. I'd like them to know the name of someone they can "thank."
posted by JHarris at 1:31 AM on October 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Short version: Advertising works everywhere where public opinion matters.

This is one the 1% versus the 0,1% arguing over how to divide the spoils they take from the 47% who should ignore the propaganda on both sides and find another sport to follow.
posted by three blind mice at 1:37 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I thought one was supposed to start liberal and end up conservative, per the famous Churchill quote. I'm going to end up a 90 year old Marxist at this rate, railing against the owner class.
posted by C.A.S. at 1:40 AM on October 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


"When global warming was recast as "climate change,"

Weird. I always assumed that was a rebranding by the we're-all-gonna-die side to account for the fact that while the overall temperature goes up we'll also see extremely cold winters as well as lots of storms, etc. Basically it claims *any* out of the ordinary weather as proof that something is going on.

Frankly I'm not sure what the everything-is-fine-move-along crowd was trying to buy with the new wording?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:41 AM on October 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


I thought one was supposed to start liberal and end up conservative, per the famous Churchill quote.

I have never understood this idea. You might as well be brain dead.
posted by maxwelton at 1:42 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought one was supposed to start liberal and end up conservative, per the famous Churchill quote.
I have never understood this idea. You might as well be brain dead.


The problem is that you stop meeting new people as you get older. There is no one to challenge your views or to even present views outside your normal purview.

...at least that was the case when Churchill spoke. The world has changed and we all have easy access to a lot more viewpoints now. I'm actually shorting conservative curmudgeon futures.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:53 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


the we're-all-gonna-die side

Aren't we all going to die, eventually?

I guess you just proved how adequately chosen words can reframe the debate, without technically lying.
posted by Skeptic at 1:55 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The actual quote is: "Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."

Bernard Shaw said something similar: "If at age 20 you are not a Communist then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are not a Capitalist then you have no brains."

I think most people understand both to mean that as you get older, you become wealthier and go from wanting to smash the system to wanting to preserve it.
posted by rhymer at 1:58 AM on October 16, 2012


The actual quote is: "Show me a young Conservative and I'll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I'll show you someone with no brains."

This explains how the present British Lib-Con government coalition manages to be both heart- and brainless.
posted by Skeptic at 2:11 AM on October 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


I like the idea of 'luntzing' as a term for using repeated media attacks to change the terminology of a concept, and try to neuter its less pleasant effects for your own group's benefit. It meshes well with my idea of character assassins you can hire: 'Roviders'.
posted by mephron at 2:17 AM on October 16, 2012


I guess you just proved how adequately chosen words can reframe the debate, without technically lying.

Coming up with cute dismissive descriptions for positions is easy, it's getting them to stick that's hard. That's where Luntz makes his money.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:29 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


the we're-all-gonna-die side

At some point, Frank Luntz will die. Mourners will come to his grave, read the inscription on his tombstone, and leave with perfect certainty that he is still alive, so powerful is his messaging.

That will be his ultimate legacy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:29 AM on October 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is a slight derail, but what's the argument for how rebranding "global warming" as "global climate change" helped Luntz? Is it that it minimized the issue, open it to ridicule?

I ask because my gut reaction would be that "climate change" is harder to demonize than "global warming."
posted by lodurr at 3:01 AM on October 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Roviating: making superficially evidence-based assertions with the intent of influencing reality.
posted by lodurr at 3:03 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a slight derail, but what's the argument for how rebranding "global warming" as "global climate change" helped Luntz? Is it that it minimized the issue, open it to ridicule?

It's because "climate change" doesn't necessarily sound like a bad thing. Remember that "more CO2 is good for plants" line they trot out occasionally?
posted by fifthrider at 3:07 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


HERE LIES FRANK LUNTZ
ALIVE OR DEAD
HE LIES THE SAME
ABOUT HIS POSITION
SO HELP US GOD
posted by MuffinMan at 3:11 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK. I can see that. I must just think enough differently that I don't necessarily work as a focus group target. Maybe I should clone myself and haunt shopping malls...
posted by lodurr at 3:12 AM on October 16, 2012


Yeah, 'warming' doesn't automatically sound that bad to me (but then I'm in a cold climate).

Maybe we should be calling it "climate damage". Or just "Irrevocable Universal Death-Spiral of Multiple Catastrophe".
posted by Segundus at 3:50 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe we should be calling it "climate damage".

You know, that's not such a bad idea. I'm going to try that out in my next paper, see how it flies.
posted by Jimbob at 3:58 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


M. Night Shyamalan's The Broiling
posted by griphus at 4:36 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So are the major US sports leagues (and the NCAA) in some sort of competition to see who can be the biggest douches?
posted by octothorpe at 4:36 AM on October 16, 2012


The whole situation shows how totally out of touch the NHL is with its fanbase. Ironically if they did more of this research before the lockout they could grow their viewers and increase their ratings. Instead they are committing brand suicide as people find other sports to get excited about.
posted by humanfont at 4:45 AM on October 16, 2012


The whole situation shows how totally out of touch the NHL is with its fanbase.

I'm on fan-strike. This year, I will watch no games, attend no games, patronize no bar showing games, and so forth. I encourage as many hockey fans as possible to join me. The bit of the bottom line that the NHL was making off of me? Gone.

Is that a ton? No. But if we all did this, it would badly hurt the NHL's revenue stream. Wouldn't wipe it out -- not until the TV contracts expire, but do you think they'll get a renewal when nobody is watching?

And then, maybe, they'd remember where that revenue they don't want to share with the players comes from.
posted by eriko at 4:55 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Motherfucker... Frank Luntz is the guy that keeps sending me fucking survey invitations without any fucking way to unsubscribe from his fucking list. Ugh.
posted by kmz at 5:01 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Climate change" is definitely the preferred term within the scientific community, as it more accurately describes what is going on than does "global warming" and reflects our current understanding of the phenomenon. The original models predicted more or less even warming of the planet, but as we've improved our data and our modeling capabilities we've come to realize that while the overall effect is one of warming, there will also be localized cooling, along with sea level rises, disruption of ocean and air currents, ocean acidification, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. It's more complex -- and more catastrophic -- than just slightly hotter summers and slightly milder winters.

That the scientific community has had such mixed results in conveying this to the population at large just goes to show that the scientific propaganda machine isn't anything close to what anti-science ideologues accuse it of being.
posted by Scientist at 5:14 AM on October 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


What about "global climate disruption"?
posted by Skeptic at 5:26 AM on October 16, 2012


Yeah, climate change was the preferred term from climate scientists, at least for a while.
posted by gerryblog at 5:47 AM on October 16, 2012


Whoa. Frank Luntz named the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988? Seriously, I've been on the climate beat a long time and I had no idea. Dude's a time traveller as well as a magician, I guess.
posted by gompa at 5:49 AM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is one the 1% versus the 0,1% arguing over how to divide the spoils they take from the 47% who should ignore the propaganda on both sides and find another sport to follow.

I hate the "they're all rich" framing of sports labor disputes. Sure, they're all richer than me, but given the pattern of wealth distribution in this country the difference between me and the 1% is a lot less than the difference between the 1% and the .1%; basically, I'm a lot closer, in dollar terms, to Alexander Ovechkin than I am to Ted Leonsis. There's absolutely no reason why the fact that a worker makes $9 million a year should make me reluctant to take sides when he has a fight with management that does (comparatively) little work and adds little value, especially when that management's got a net worth that's measured in billions.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:53 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of my friends was at Penn with Luntz. According to him, Frank was a dick there, also.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:55 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I prefer weatherpocalypse myself.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:30 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My quick way of evaluating what's going on when people are not working at their jobs:

Lockout- owners are most likely looking for more money. Check to see how the company/industry is doing, if it is doing well or has inelastic demand, owners are being horrible and my sympathy is with the workers. If the company/industry is doing poorly, the workers most likely (although not always) will need to look into concessions, although how it can be any cheaper to keep things from running rather than stopping them is something I don't quite understand.

Strike- workers are looking for more money/benefits. Check to see how the company/industry is doing and if their requests are actually reasonable. Wonder about size of strike chest.

IFrom this, I come to this conclusion: the owners in this case have locked out the players, the industry is essentially one of inelastic demand. The owners can almost definitely afford the player's contract position but are so cheap they are trying to economically push the players to accept some crappy deal.

If you can't tell from this, my sympathy is almost always with the workers, but that may be a product of my upbringing.

Addressing the derail, I am ok with Climate Change. It slows the idiots from going on during an unseasonable blizzard about how global warming has to be a hoax.
posted by Hactar at 6:34 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I hate the "they're all rich" framing of sports labor disputes. Sure, they're all richer than me, but given the pattern of wealth distribution in this country the difference between me and the 1% is a lot less than the difference between the 1% and the .1%; basically, I'm a lot closer, in dollar terms, to Alexander Ovechkin than I am to Ted Leonsis. There's absolutely no reason why the fact that a worker makes $9 million a year should make me reluctant to take sides when he has a fight with management that does (comparatively) little work and adds little value, especially when that management's got a net worth that's measured in billions.

Absolutely. And especially given the realities of the industry - the high money that the players make is balanced in part by the fact that they won't be working in that job past what, 40-ish? We need to look at the median total lifetime earnings, or something similar.

(or look at value-adjusted yearly earnings, in which players are fun to watch and owners are not. But that's complicated.)
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:45 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tell Me No Lies: "When global warming was recast as "climate change,"

Weird. I always assumed that was a rebranding by the we're-all-gonna-die side to account for the fact that while the overall temperature goes up we'll also see extremely cold winters as well as lots of storms, etc. Basically it claims *any* out of the ordinary weather as proof that something is going on.

Frankly I'm not sure what the everything-is-fine-move-along crowd was trying to buy with the new wording?
Ditto - the first time I heard it, it was out of the mouth of a climatology scientist. And, if anything, it makes the case more secure: Record hot summer? Climate change - check! Record cold winter? Climate change - check!
posted by IAmBroom at 6:58 AM on October 16, 2012


Well if there's too much global climate change (whatever its etymology*), we won't have to worry about the NHL locking players out of its ice rinks, 'cause there won't be any more ice.

We'll worry instead about whether or not the Rollerballers deserve the treatment the owners are giving them.


--------------------
*Luntzier: "root truth"
posted by notyou at 7:26 AM on October 16, 2012


I always assumed that was a rebranding by the we're-all-gonna-die side to account for the fact that while the overall temperature goes up we'll also see extremely cold winters as well as lots of storms, etc. Basically it claims *any* out of the ordinary weather as proof that something is going on.

Sorry to split hairs, but no. Out of the ordinary weather proves nothing at all, and no good climate scientist would say that. Out of the ordinary weather across the globe over many years proves something, because that is a fair descriptor of climate.

I agree with the sentiment in the thread here though, that "climate change" is not a GOP buzzword, it's a factually accurate description of what's going on that doesn't carry with it the knee jerk "but it's cold out, how could we have global warming" b.s. we hear every winter.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:58 AM on October 16, 2012


I think those that believe in climate change being a problem, also known as rational and intelligent people, should take a page out of the Luntz book.

You know that phenomenon where if you put a frog in a pot of hot water it jumps out but if you put it in a pot of room temp water and slowly bring it to a boil it won't know what's happening and sit happily until it dies? From now on we should call climate change "Frogpot".
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2012


I don't think that's an actual phenomenon.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:22 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh renaming, i see how it works...So instead of calling Luntz a "Chief Strategist" we can rename him as a "Lowlife Fucking Pig".
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:28 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think that's an actual phenomenon.

Even better then, right?

wikipedia: Boiling Frog
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:30 AM on October 16, 2012


Man, talk about confused... I got halfway down a page of debate about the naming of climate change/global warming and all of a sudden there is all this NHL stuff, and I thought, hmm, that's another FPP, they must have several tabs open. So I thought I'd comment to the effect that "the NHL thread is thataway" and spent several minutes scanning up and down the FP looking for it till I realised my mistake!

"Frankly I'm not sure what the everything-is-fine-move-along crowd was trying to buy with the new wording?"
posted by Tell Me No Lies

anti-eponyhysterical?
posted by marienbad at 9:38 AM on October 16, 2012


Sorry to split hairs, but no. Out of the ordinary weather proves nothing at all, and no good climate scientist would say that.

Which is why we don't let scientists run propaganda campaigns. Scientists often have the naive belief that The Truth will naturally win out because it is The Truth; You don't need to look very far into history to find out that popular support is far more elusive than that.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2012


I would cry tears of joy if someone shirted Luntz.
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 AM on October 16, 2012


(The only upside of a lockout is that the Red Wings looked pretty crappy this year.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 AM on October 16, 2012


Meet The Lockout Lawyers Destroying Sports.

The firm representing the owners of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB is Proskauer Rose. David Stern and Gary Bettman were apparently partners there.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:21 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bettman made a new offer today, so there's a chance these Luntz shenanigans are a sign the owners are ready to make a deal. One can hope, I suppose.
posted by Copronymus at 10:26 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, judging by fan reaction to Bettman's "50/50" offer, Luntz appears to have earned his fee.
posted by notyou at 11:28 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Coming up with cute dismissive descriptions for positions is easy

Orwell could have told us that -- in fact, he did, in 1946.

As many have observed, the problem is guys like Luntz view Orwell as an instruction manual, not a warning.
posted by Gelatin at 12:06 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had no idea which side to favor in the NHL lock-out, and now I do. Thanks, Frank Luntz — you're such an excellent touchstone.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:11 PM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


John Shannon has been tweeting all day with specifics about tthis morning's offer from the NHL if anyone is interested.
posted by mannequito at 12:33 PM on October 16, 2012


GOP Pollster: In 2nd debate, Romney must make Obama go negative

Luntz must be very disappointed.
posted by homunculus at 10:47 PM on October 16, 2012


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