Luntz wrote a book called, “Words that Work” and then went on a well-funded book tour promoting it—appearing as a “language expert” on such programs as Bill Maher’s Real Time. Due to the book’s popularity he’s been a frequent guest on Hannity & Colmes. Unwaveringly, Luntz praises the pro-war/corporate-friendly candidates for their composure and rigor; but he’s required to bash all candidates on the Fox Smear List—even when doing so contradicts the tenets of his “expertise.”
Last night on Hannity & Colmes, Luntz referred to Mike Gravel a “humorous interjector.” With a sly smile, Luntz pretended to find Gravel’s interjections endearing, almost cute. The pretend-pollster added, however, that by the debate’s end most viewers “want to hear serious politics.”
So to Luntz, Gravel is not a “serious politician” and none of his accusations about corruption in politics have any merit at all. Luntz—a newly famous talking head who calls himself an expert on whatever topic Fox News tells him to discuss—would have us believe Gravel’s passionate dissent is just a sham. His rants merely serve to lighten the mood, letting the real contenders catch their breath and reshuffle their index cards.
The power of suggestion works brilliantly as a weapon against the trusting American people: report that a particular candidate is a quack, and eventually everyone believes you.
But Luntz’s call for Gravel to take himself more seriously is a far cry from his advice to John McCain, whom Luntz claims is TOO serious. Following McCain’s speech, in which the Republican hopeful expressed concern for the environment, spoke out against torture, and advocated shutting down Guantanamo Bay, Luntz said:
“Where’s the passion?…There is no intensity. If he were to sit there and bang on the table or show some emotion… it’s not just the words… It’s also how he presents himself. If you’re going to be the reformer, if you’re going to be anti-status quo, if you’re going to challenge the system, you’ve got to do what I’m doing now. You’ve got to be loud, you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be engaged.”
So… McCain should act more like Mike Gravel, and Gravel should act more like McCain?
Wrong. From now on, newscasters should act more like journalists, “experts” should be real experts, and politicians should care more about the power of the message than the power of the messengers.
But we as citizens can jump-start this process, if we learn to tell the difference between real and make-believe.