After Roger Goodell gave his ridiculous press conference last Friday, I turned over to ESPN to see what reactions their sports pundits came up with and then I switched to Fox Sports 1 to see how they covered it. Almost everyone of ESPN's commentators panned Goodell's robotic presser and many others tweeted in on how awful it was, but on Fox Sports, they sang a completely different song. I was surprised to see Frank Luntz, who is their communications expert sitting in on FS1 to give his opinion ( I tweeted about it) and as we've Scarce reported previously, Frank thought Goodell was simply marvelous:
Luntz called it “language perfection” by Goodell, which is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect him to say. Luntz was glowing about Goodell’s performance, saying, “I couldn’t have done it as well as he did.” Luntz Global proudly lists the NFL among its powerful list of clients on its website.
After he finished they cut over to Pam Oliver and she echoed Luntz' points. It made me wonder, wonder I said, what role did Luntz play in this presser? Deadspin had the answers: The Political-Messaging Huckster Behind Roger Goodell's Awful Presser
Roger Goodell was talking, but the words weren't his alone. "That speech was all Frank," says an associate of pollster Frank Luntz, lord of the dark arts of political messaging, who frequently works with Goodell and the NFL. "As soon as I heard Goodell's intro, I was laughing."
The part that got him giggling was the line "We will get our house in order first." The NFL commissioner used that same phrase minutes later, in response to a question from a New York Post reporter about whether he would resign.
"That's textbook stuff that Frank uses all the time," says the source.
Why, yes it is: "Getting our house in order" shows up as No. 4 on Luntz's list of nine "Phrases that prioritize" from his book, Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary.
At various points in the conference Goodell also said, "The NFL has to take care of its house," "There are things we need to clean up in our house," and, "We are going to clean up our house."
As it happened, Luntz himself was watching the press conference, in his capacity as a Fox Sports 1 talking head (he moonlights as a Fox News commentator and analyst). Not long after the commissioner left the podium, Luntz gave his review.
"This," he puffered, "was language perfection."
Fox Sports 1 created its own reality for Roger Goodell just like Fox News does for Roger Ailes and conservatism because Goodell's presser was anything but-lanuage perfection. Just ask anyone.
Five hours now, reading and reading those I respect and follow, and have yet to see ONE single positive reaction to @nflcommish presser.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) September 20, 2014
I think Goodell should ask for a refund.
It appears that the shuck and jive con men crowd have slithered over to sports to infect the non-political people with their grifts.
"The way Frank sees things, he's already conquered politics, and he's tired of being this nerdy politics guy," says the source. "So now it's all about sports. Sports are really Frank's passion, and have been since he was a little kid." Guests to Luntz's home through the years have expressed surprise at the amount of sports memorabilia on display.
So what does it look like when Luntz mixes his passion and his profession? He helped NHL owners craft their propaganda during the 2012 lockout. "Shared sacrifice" was a common refrain, and during at least one session he gave a mock-speech as if he were an NHL executive. "Maybe we asked for too much at first," the speech went, "but we're willing to give. The NHLPA has to be willing to give as well, if we're going to give the fans back their hockey. There's no way we're going to do this without both sides bringing something to the table."
More recently, Luntz has done some focus-grouping on behalf of Dan Snyder during the owner's disaster of a campaign to save the Redskins nickname.
His company, Luntz Global, has also worked with the Carolina Panthers, including a campaign to enhance the image of several players and the organization. Cam Newton is among those he's counseled. "He is primed to be one of the NFL greats," Luntz Global advised the Panthers in a memo obtained by Deadspin in which the firm pitches its services to the team. "With the right language he can help cement his place in the NFL as one of the great franchise quarterbacks like Brady, Rodgers, Favre, etc."