Frank Luntz, crafting the message for America's financial elite
In a few short days 2012 shall be upon us. The election year will be official and the real fight for the interests of the financially disenfranchised begins. Believe what you will about the camps, the strikes, the petitions and all of the other truly glorious symbols of widespread discontent in America today. The ballot box is where the pendulum of power might swing back towards the people.
Into the upcoming fray we step, the activists, the journalists, the politicians themselves and of course the mechanics of spin. Taking to the proverbial road this year will be the framers of message and meaning. Among this hell raising tribe dedicated to mangling the truth and obfuscating reality none holds more sway than a 49 year old pollster and Fox News mouth piece named Frank Luntz. He sits at the head of the table when it comes to crafting message for the defenders of the financial elite and he pounds the gavel mighty hard.
Few individuals have lorded such a powerful and toxic influence over the American lexicon, maybe none. Consider this, it was Frank Luntz who gave the world “climate change” instead of “global warming", “energy exploration” instead of “off shore drilling”, and “death tax” instead of “estate tax”.
It is with this in mind that Point Nine Nine turns today’s focus to this Son of Oligarchy to share with our readers his message directives regarding pushback against the so-called 99% movement and the growing populist outrage that threatens to knock the American economy and our system of representative democracy at least slightly back in line.
At a meeting of Republican Governors in Florida earlier this month Luntz offered the following marching orders to the defenders of the status quo:
1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’ “I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market. The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of Wall Street we’ve got a problem.”
2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’ “If you talk about raising taxes on the rich, the public responds favorably. If you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no.”
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’ “They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”
4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’ “Everyone in this room talks about ‘jobs,’” Luntz said. “Watch this.” He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a “job.” Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a “career.” Almost every hand was raised. ”So why are we talking about jobs?”
5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’ “It’s not about ‘government spending.’ It’s about ‘waste.’ That’s what makes people angry.”
6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’ “If you talk about ‘compromise,’ they’ll say you’re selling out. Your side doesn’t want you to ‘compromise.’ What you use in that to replace it with is ‘cooperation.’ It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you’re selling out those principles.”
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’ “First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ . . . ‘I get that you’re angry. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”
8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’ “Use the phrases ‘small business owners’ and ‘job creators’ instead of ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘innovators.’
9. Don’t ever ask anyone to ‘sacrifice.’ “There isn’t an American today in November of 2011 who doesn’t think they’ve already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to ‘sacrifice,’ they’re going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how ‘we’re all in this together.’ We either succeed together or we fail together.”
10. Always blame Washington. “Tell them, ‘You shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it’s the policies over the past few years that have created this problem.’”
Election time is coming America. If we ignore the shameless manipulation of our understanding and perception of the challenges that face us all and the legislation that can either serve to restore balance or seal our further fall, then our country and our future belongs to men like Mr. Frank Luntz.