According to a recent article by the left-wing Salon, multiple former employees of Luntz have come forward to raise ethical questions about Luntz’s business, which focuses on public policy polling and focus groups to inform politicians and political parties as well as Fox News, MSNBC, and CNBC. Accusations range from Luntz’s operation being a “scam” that violates codes of ethics to Luntz’s business being “bullshit”.
Salon spoke extensively to Chris Ingram, a former senior vice president at the Luntz Research Company during the late 1990s and early 2000s, who told the publication that “Luntz’s claim to deliver objective data is a ‘total shtick and a scam.'” Ingraham says he observed Luntz attempting to manipulate his famous focus groups.
Ingram said that Luntz’s focus groups used “dial testing,” which Salon explains requires “participants” to “spin a small handheld device, yielding real-time test results in response to questions asked by the presenter.” According to Ingram, “Frank, when he would be hired by clients, whether they would be corporate or political, would sit in that room yelling, ‘Keep turning the dials! Keep turning the dials!'” According to Ingram, Luntz’s primary concern was to offer “compelling” data to “present to the client.” Ingram explicitly denied that Luntz is impartial or honest, “but is better described as a pay-for-play pawn in Washington.” Salon reports that Luntz screens and selects focus group participants “in a manner that Ingram called ‘quite frankly bullshit.'”
Ingram claimed that the cable news companies Luntz works for – specifically far left MSNBC – are totally unaware of Luntz’s ethically unsound tactics. “The clowns at MSNBC didn’t have a clue about how the focus groups or panels worked, or what Frank was doing,” Ingram told Salon. “The actions were basically contrived: He screened out anybody that isn’t going to give the viewers the opinion that Frank, on behalf of his client, is looking for. Somehow, he is able to bullshit people.”
Salon says a second, unnamed former employee of Luntz asked to remain anonymous due to “fear of professional retribution” and described Luntz as a “slimeball.” A third “former high-ranking employee confirmed to Salon the validity of the two other sources’ remarks.” Salon says this third source informed them that “Luntz rarely appeared at his own company’s offices during the workday but often called employees to abuse them late at night.”
Ingram apparently concluded his thoughts on Luntz’s work by characterizing it as “regurgitated crap”. Ingram added, per Salon, “Frank is very difficult to work with,” and “He’s an extremely intellectually intelligent man. But I like to characterize working for Frank as like having a boss with a 200 IQ who is five years old.”
Tucker Carlson recently exposed Luntz’s apparent ethical dilemma of serving as an unofficial lobbyist for left-wing corporations in Silicon Valley and big pharmaceutical companies while simultaneously claiming to provide nonpartisan advice to politicians. In the process, Carlson learned that Luntz currently rents a room to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives.
“Over the weekend we got a call from a source who said that in fact, Frank Luntz and Kevin McCarthy are not simply friends, they’re roommates,” reported Carlson, before revealing that he later confirmed the source’s information through McCarthy’s staff. “So actually the top Republican in the House does live with someone who lobbies for Google,” Carlson said. “Mystery solved. Not only are they friends, they’re roommates! So now you know why they listen to Frank Luntz but they don’t listen to you.”
McCarthy’s staff claimed to Carlson that McCarthy pays a “fair market rate” for a room in Luntz’s luxurious Washington, D.C. apartment, a living situation that was supposedly at least partially spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus tacitly declared that the living situation was not in violation of ethics rules for the House of Representatives. Carlson subsequently learned that McCarthy is paying only $1,500 per month to live in Luntz’s palatial 7,000 square foot penthouse apartment.