DORA a hit among fans despite crowd controversy
The daily beast
The work of well-known Republican pollster Frank Luntz is causing headaches for the Los Angeles Times. Recent revelations that he conducted undisclosed partisan consultations behind the scenes while doing unpaid work for the newspaper have not been a big deal. surprise. Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported that Luntz, a seasoned political strategist who has worked in Republican politics for decades and led focus groups on behalf of television networks and other media organizations, had been paid by a political action committee controlled by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to conduct investigations last year.The revelation created editorial problems for the Los Angeles Times, which had asked Luntz to lead several focus group surveys during the 2020 election provided it does not also work with candidates or partisan organizations. y urged The Times to update several items from last year on focus groups, noting that the document “incorrectly stated that the public opinion expert who convened the panel, Frank Luntz, did not worked for a political party during the 2020 electoral cycle ”. The embarrassment also opened an old wound in the newsroom, where Luntz’s public opinion polls had previously been the subject of internal tensions and concerns voiced by newspaper staff. Republican politics since the early 1990s, when he helped Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich draft the contract with America and advised other Republican figures such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Pat Buchanan. For years, Luntz interspersed his political work with appearances in the media, hosting discussion groups and appearing regularly on Fox News and CBS News, where he had contributor contracts. in recent years, Luntz – who did not respond to a request for comment on this story – continued to partner with the mainstream media during election seasons to organize small focus groups designed to explore what is supposed to motivate the average American voter. Last week he led a session on George Floyd’s Conservative Views, published in the New York Times Opinion Section; and another recent Luntz session with vaccine-resistant Republicans featured prominently in This American Life and the Washington Post’s LA Times Billionaire’s Daughter Is Tinkering With the Paper. Last year, the Los Angeles Times commissioned Luntz to lead a series of group sessions following one of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates. Several sources with knowledge told The Daily Beast that the newspaper’s owner , Patrick Soon-Shiong, was interested in the focus groups led by Luntz, who Salon said was personal friends with the Los Angeles-based pharmaceutical billionaire (Luntz and McCarthy were both in a clinical trial for the COVID vaccine Soon-Shiong is suing, Salon further reported). The move sparked concern among some staff at The Times, especially some of the unionized journalists covering the election, who felt its consultation for political organizations – including Trump administration officials – gave its surveys an inherently right-wing partisan orientation. Norm Pearlstine, then editor, along with senior MPs Scott Kraft and Shani Hilton, advising management that unionized employees refused to put their signatures on Luntz-related content, citing distrust of political work and the analyst’s methodology (Luntz’s questions have The newspaper, which had previously recorded a focus group with Democratic primary voters, decided last summer to move the content of its news section to its vertical of Staff thought the matter was largely settled, but many reporters and some editors were taken aback when, a few months later, the newspaper decided to hold a second round of focus groups. with Luntz, this time following the presidential and vice-presidential debates. In messages posted on an internal Slack channel dedicated to journalistic ethics, the jo Urnalist Michael Finnegan wrote that he and other staff were frustrated that the newspaper had asked Luntz to host another round of focus groups given his work advising senior Trump administration officials on the issue. messaging for a variety of political issues. Specifically, Finnegan – who did not respond to a request for comment – expressed concern about the language of the story saying Luntz was not working for any candidate or party in the 2020 election. The pollster had advised luntz administration informally during the president’s tenure, the Times reporter noted for his colleagues. “It is a conflict of interest for him to advise senior officials in the Trump administration on how to talk about immigration, trade, education and the like. subjects, “Finnegan wrote,” then presents itself as an impartial vehicle to assemble a focus group of independent LA Times voters to assess a Trump-Biden debate. Other staff pointed out that Luntz’s investigative group did not sufficiently understand the diverse perspectives, which had been a source of frustration in the newsroom all year after passionate and public criticism of the newspaper’s inability to adequately cover non-white communities in Southern California. Some felt that Luntz was encouraging survey participants to engage in what they considered to be racial and sexist stereotypes about Sen-Sen. Kamala Harris, including comments on her facial expressions and how sympathetic she was. “It’s bad enough that its panelists tend to dismiss these stereotypes out of control, but it’s hard to be surprised when it’s the same straightforward tweets and said to yourself (and then invites them to ask questions),” a added another Times staff member at the time. The newspaper was not aware of Luntz’s partisan work during the 2020 election cycle. Times editor-in-chief Sewell Chan told colleagues Luntz told him he was not paid by any candidate, party or committee during the electoral cycle. But as Salon noted this week, Luntz’s company was paid for by the Republican leader’s PAC on several occasions in the days before and after focus groups held in partnership with the SoCal-based newspaper. (Salon also reported that Luntz did not disclose work for Senator Ted Cruz’s 2018 re-election campaign while hosting several focus groups for Vice News.) In a memo sent to staff members on Friday, Chan defended the decision to host the focus groups, saying they offered “interesting insights into the minds of undecided voters,” and said the article did not present Luntz’s studies as scientific samples. Still, he appeared to express his frustration with the pollster and said he acted quickly to update past content. Further, he suggested the pollster is unlikely to return as a contributor to the opinion section due to his inability to disclose his work for the GOP leadership. revealing his connection to McCarthy’s PAC, and his ethical breach will certainly be a factor in our thinking if he wished to be an opinion contributor again, ”Chan wrote. In a statement, The Times noted that the focus groups were not run by the newspaper itself. , but that the newspaper had provided production support and hosted the video on its website. “We regret that Luntz did not initially disclose his work for a political action committee chaired by Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the parliamentary minority leader, at the time the focus groups took place,” we believe the discussion with voters during the campaign was useful, ”wrote spokesperson Hillary Manning. “We’ve added disclosure of where the videos are posted.” While many on the left have criticized Luntz and his focus groups for years, the veteran strategist has come under more scrutiny in recent weeks from the Tories. Prime-time host Tucker Carlson used his show to rage against Luntz as being increasingly beholden to “liberal causes” by offering advice to big business. The right-wing media star also reported that the House Minority Leader had previously rented a room in the veteran pollster’s lavish DC home. Send it to The Daily Beast here Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Beast Daily Subscription: Beast Inside delves deeper into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.