CBS Reportedly Scrubbed Muslims’ Criticisms From Luntz Focus Group (VIDEO)

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CBS News on Friday reportedly didn’t air portions of a focus group conducted by pollster Frank Luntz that showed Muslim-Americans critiquing U.S policy and challenging the relevance of Luntz’s questions.

Focus group participant and activist Amelia Noor-Oshiro told The Intercept in a story published Sunday that the clip CBS aired mischaracterized the group’s responses. Noor-Oshiro also told the publication that she had a rebuttal to Luntz’s question on the attacks in San Bernardino, California that didn’t make it into the clip.

In the clip CBS aired, Lutz asked the group how they felt when they learned the San Bernardino shooters “held your faith.”

She told The Intercept that she shot back: “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?”

Sarah Harvard, a writer based in New York, also wrote on her Facebook page about her experience in the focus group. She said the segment took about an hour to film, while the clip CBS showed on air lasted about four minutes.

Harvard recounted that Luntz asked, “Are you an American or a Muslim first?” Harvard wrote that she found the question “insulting” and shouted back “Well, are you an American or Jewish first?”

The CBS clip showed Luntz asking that question and several of the participants responding to it, but not Harvard.

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

Harvard also wrote that Luntz “shot me down” when she tried to raise concerns about current policies that have negatively affected Muslims. She wrote that she found it ironic that Luntz, who is a Republican strategist, didn’t give her an opportunity to criticize the policies enacted under President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

CBS News did post a slightly longer version of the focus group on its website.

Luntz’s assistant told TPM via email that the pollster was traveling overseas and would “most likely” be unavailable to comment. A CBS News spokesperson declined to comment on the record.

Earlier this month, The Daily Beast reported on how a former staffer for Mitt Romney lied his way into participating in another of Luntz’s focus groups in order to research the other participants’ interest in Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Watch CBS’ clip of the Muslim focus group below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Jerde is a newswriter based in New York. Her bylines have appeared in The Star-Ledger, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Columbus Dispatch. She graduated from Ohio University. Send emails to sara@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow her @SaraJerde.
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