CBS Allegedly Cut American Muslims’ Comments Critical of U.S. Policy From Luntz Focus Group


A focus group of American Muslims led by pollster Frank Luntz that aired on Friday was allegedly trimmed by CBS due to several comments critical of U.S. policies.

According to The Intercept, several participants later claimed that much of what was said regarding American policies towards Muslim relations was cut due to its critical nature. In addition, two participants interviewed by the website alleged that Luntz — a notable conservative pollster — “silenced members of the group when they criticized discriminatory U.S. government policies” and asked insensitive questions to the group.

So when Luntz asked them for their response to the San Bernardino shooting, New York City activist Amelia Noor-Oshiro reportedly said: “Why don’t you ask that to people who actually commit acts of terror? Why don’t you ask that to White America who are responsible for a majority of domestic terror attacks?” Her questions didn’t make it to air.

In a lengthy Facebook post published after the focus group, participant and New York-based journalist Sarah Harvard claimed Luntz asked everyone the group: “Are you an American or a Muslim first?” In response, she asked the pollster if he considered himself “an American or Jewish first.”

He also had silenced me and other participants who have routinely brought up the fact the government has enacted in state violence against the Muslim community — whether that may be through entrapment cases and surveillance programs — and our concerns about institutional racism. He shut me down when I said that President Obama and Hillary Clinton has killed many Muslims under the administration when we were discussing Trump, and ironically for a GOP strategist, he shut me down when I talked about how Democrats have enacted some of the most deadliest and discriminatory policies against Muslims. He also decided to stop letting me speak when I started talking about how Muslims should start focusing on combatting government policies rather than rushing to condemn terrorism or Islamophobia exclusively. They also cut out portions of where participants talked about media accountability when discussing Islam.

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. It could also be a reason why the only three Muslim women who didn’t wear the headscarf was seated outside of the camera shot or why the two black men in the panel barely got speaking time.

The edited version of the focus group interview was mainly about proving our American identity, condemning terrorism, and Trump’s bashing of Muslim-Americans. This is problematic.

At the end of the segment that aired, Luntz said he “did not push as much as I normally do in these sessions, and the reason why is because I wanted the voice to be unedited.”

CBS did post a much longer version of the segment online, but the allegedly cut back-and-forths and comments critical of U.S. policies were nowhere to be seen.

Check out the clip above, via CBS.

[h/t Gawker]
[Image via screengrab]

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