Luntz: Cable News Has Become A "Disaster" That Is Only "Preaching To The Choir" And Frankly, I'm Disgusted And Frightened | Video | RealClearPolitics

Luntz: Cable News Has Become A "Disaster," Only "Preaching To The Choir" And Frankly, I'm Disgusted

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Longtime pollster Frank Luntz despaired over the state of the American media ecosystem during an appearance Sunday on FNC's "MediaBuzz."

While he says he's planning to continue his work as a public opinion pollster, Luntz worries he isn't the right man for the job.

"I've been telling my friends and colleagues that they have to find someone to replace me because they still need to hear from the public," he said. "My frustration is that almost every news network goes to the pundits rather than the people. That they listen to those who are paid to have points of view rather than the American public who has a point of view and has been either ignored or betrayed."


"I just don't know if I'm the right guy to do it, because I have to tell you I lose my temper and I become the very thing I'm criticizing," he worried. "We did a survey within the last ten days, 95% of MSNBC viewers voted for Joe Biden, 96% of CNN viewers voted for Joe Biden, and 93% of FOX News viewers voted for Donald Trump. So these cable news programs are preaching to the choir and that's a tremendous challenge because it means that you only go to your network that is supporting you. It's tribal news at its worst."

Full transcript at bottom.



Watch the full highlight reel from Luntz:



FRANK LUNTZ: They simply don’t believe they’re getting the truth, which is what they want, and they cannot distinguish between what former President Trump says and what others say. That in reality they’re getting their news to affirm themselves rather than inform themselves and that’s a problem.

It’s the responsibility of the news media to tell the truth, to provide the facts, and if you’re going to give opinion, make it clear that that’s exactly what it is. The problem with the Trump people is they think that it is all opinion. They think it’s opinion from the left and they can’t find any place to go that’s going to validate them and what they believe.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS: But isn’t also true that people on the liberal side of the spectrum try to seek out news that validates their opinions?

FRANK LUNTZ: Here is the problem, we did a survey within the last ten days, 95% of MSNBC voters voted for Joe Biden, 96% of CNN voters voted for Joe Biden, and 93% of FOX News viewers voted for Donald Trump. So these cable news programs are preaching to the choir and that's a tremendous challenge because it means that you only go to your network that is supporting you. It's tribal news at its worst.

HOWIE KURTZ: How much of a problem is that for President Biden whose inauguration was based on unity, and half of Republicans don't believe he legitimately won the election?

FRANK LUNTZ: It's almost impossible for him to be heard among those who have written him off.

It's awful for the democracy, it's the reason I told Bret Baier a few nights ago and I need to stop doing these groups, stop interviewing these people because frankly for me I realize that I'm not the focus of this, but it's so upsetting to hear this anger and this distrust and this bile that comes out of people.

And what you did not play is the worst of all is when they go at each other and you can't stop them. I think the ultimate consequence of this is that we've lost our ability to reason with each other, to listen to each other, to learn from each other.

Howie, this is a disaster. I know that you’re in the business of analyzing the news. I’m in the business of analyzing public opinion and I have to tell you, I’m not only frightened, but I’m also disgusted by it.

HOWIE KURTZ: Let me play a brief clip of what you said to Bret Baier on fox.

Saying it's tough is understatement. I reached the point where I don't want to do this anymore. Howie: so you sound exasperated a little depressed, are you ready to walk away from your business?

So you're feeling depressed, feeling perhaps the problems aren't fixable? Are you ready to walk away from your business?

FRANK LUNTZ: I've been telling my friends and colleague that they have to find someone to replace me because they still need to hear from the public. My frustration is that almost every news network goes to the pundits rather than the people. That they listen to those who are paid to have points of view rather than the American public who has a point of view and has been either ignored or betrayed. I believe that your listeners have the right and responsibility to neglect what other Americans think and the problem is that no one is bringing it to them. I just don't know if I'm the right guy to do it, because I have to tell you I lose my temper and I become the very thing I'm criticizing.

I think this is a great country, a great population and they've been horribly treated by too many people in your profession.

HOWIE KURTZ: So given the fact that -- and I accept the criticism. Given the fact that you feel like you're losing your temper and that you're becoming part of the strident voices here, and I know you get mad when you do focus groups. Is this it for you, it sounds to me like you've made a decision?

FRANK LUNTZ: I've made the decision, I just need the courage to follow it through.

By the way, I do not feel that way about you.

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