Republican strategist and CBS News contributor Frank Luntz recently held a focus group of 16 Muslim Americans at CBS This Morning in New York City to get their perspectives on the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric in the Republican Party and its impact on their lives.
In the group discussion, some of those interviewed told Luntz that Republicans debating on terrorism are so abusive that their children should not be exposed to GOP debates.
Later that day, the right-wing pollster appeared on the breakdown of the discussion on CBS News.
“I didn’t push them as hard as I normally push a focus group,” said the political strategist who hosted the show. “And it’s because they expressed so much fear and concern against the bias against them, the discrimination against them, that I didn’t want to set off an alarm bell.”
When asked what he wanted to say, Luntz's odious reply came: “You [Muslims] refuse to take responsibility for those who commit crime in the name of religion.”
Even though he claims he softballed the group, Zaid Jilani of the Intercept claims that parts of the dialogue were edited out, such as when the Muslims raised their own concerns, and that the story was sold as a response to Trump’s anti-Muslim claims, though the discussion focused on wider issues.
According to the Intercept, two American Muslim women who were part of the focus group complained that CBS cut out parts of the discussion where the participants raised concerns relating to the U.S. government discriminatory policies, entrapment cases and surveillance programs. They also said that many of the questions posed by Luntz were demeaning and that he silenced any participants who criticized bigoted policies.
The morning show also sparked a slew of comments on social media:
Sarah Harvard, a New York City journalist, who was also a participant on the morning show, detailed the entire discussion on her Facebook page and called it disappointing and embarrassing.
“I felt that as a Muslim-American participant in the focus group, he tried to put all of us into boxes to fit their narrative. That's something I wasn't going to allow to happen.” Sarah Harvard said in her Facebook post. ”He kept saying how he felt bad that no one listens to Muslims and how he wanted to give us an opportunity to talk to the general population. But how cans that happen when we're manipulatively edited to have us fit their own narrative and agenda?”
The final edited video is uploaded on CBS website and is just seven minutes long. Check it below: