But here’s whats missing in the reporting of Luntz’s comments: According to his firm’s website Luntz is paid by Wall Street giants like Citigroup, Bank of America, Wachovia (now part of Wells Fargo), Swiss financial conglomerate UBS, Chase bank, and others. It’s even possible he’s recycling ideas he’s already given to firms like Citi.
Here’s the secret about Luntz. You may only him from his political endeavors. Of course, he famously helped write the Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America in 1994. You can find him awkwardly leading focus group sessions on Fox News. And every now and then, he will pop up to advise a Republican candidate or issue group. (Flashback! Here’s a video of me speaking to Luntz after meeting with GOP lawmakers at the height of the BP oil spill controversy)
Luntz’s political work, however, is small potatoes. As I understand it, from speaking to people who’ve known Luntz for years, Luntz does the high-profile, headline-grabbing crap to generate lucrative corporate contracts. That’s where the money is, and that’s how his polling firm apparently derives most of its revenues. If you really want to see how Republicans are messaging around OWS, find out what The Tarrance Group, McLaughlin & Associations, and Public Opinion Strategies Inc are telling Boehner and Cantor. That’s where the the high-end Republican advice comes from; but those firms, unlike Luntz, prefer the background rather than the spotlight. Luntz just wants more corporate contracts, and will do anything to publicize himself and pretend to be expert on something like sliming protesters. That way, a Goldman Sachs contract or whatever is more likely to land in his lap.