Luntz, predicting he'll get "hit by Media Matters," claimed Clinton's voice "turns people off"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On the June 20 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, while discussing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (NY) recent campaign video, which parodies the series finale of HBO's The Sopranos, co-host Sean Hannity said to his guest, Republican pollster Frank Luntz: "I know this was to soften her image. Her negatives are very high," adding, "She doesn't have a likability factor." After Luntz agreed with both assertions, Hannity aired a video clip of a Clinton April 2003 speech at a Connecticut fundraising dinner, which he described as "[v]ery different than the Hollywood, manufactured, soft, phony smiles on the Sopranos act." Luntz cited the 2003 speech as evidence that Clinton's voice "turns people off" and went on to imitate her voice, saying: "It's all at the same level and ... she gets louder and louder, but her voice doesn't go up or down." After noting, "[W]e're gonna end up getting hit by Media Matters," Luntz cited his own "research" to claim that Clinton's voice "turns people off because they feel like they're being lectured." Luntz did not offer any further details regarding his purported research.

As Media Matters for America has documented, media figures regularly attack Clinton for the tone and volume of her voice:

  • On the May 24 edition of MSNBC's Tucker, commenting on Clinton's decision to have the public choose her presidential campaign song, host Tucker Carlson said: "But this does nothing to make me like her. And it raises the question: Could you actually live in this country for eight years having to listen to her voice?" When former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) responded that "of course" he could live in the United States with Clinton as president, Carlson responded: "You're a man of steel."
  • On the March 15 broadcast of his radio show, Glenn Beck asserted that "Clinton cannot be elected president because ... there's something about her vocal range." He went on to say, "There's something about her voice that just drives me -- it's not what she says, it's how she says it," adding, "[S]he's the stereotypical bitch, you know what I mean?" Beck also asked: "[A]fter four years, don't you think every man in America will go insane?"
  • On the March 29 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Beck said that Clinton's voice "makes angels cry" and suggested that men in particular find Clinton's voice to be "grating."
  • On March 24, Time.com Washington editor Ana Marie Cox wrote on Time.com's political weblog, Swampland, that Clinton was "eerily LOUD" and summarized Clinton's position as: "YOU CAN TELL I CARE ABOUT HEALTH CARE BECAUSE I AM SHOUTING ALL THE TIME."
  • In her March 7 column about Clinton's speech marking a Selma, Alabama, civil rights march, Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, wrote that "Clinton's voice sends mannequins into a fetal curl."
  • On February 2, the National Journal's Hotline On Call review of Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting suggested that her "[v]oice climbed into a yell five times," without noting any other candidates' yelling.
  • On the August 10, 2006, edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck, radio host Roe Conn said of Clinton's voice: "See, there's the thing about that sound -- there's sort of that shrill kind of thing," adding, "I don't think that America is ready for six or eight months of that on the campaign trail. ... [S]he's constantly yelling at us like we're 4-year-olds."
  • On the February 10, 2006, edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Scarborough Country host Joe Scarborough asserted that "there is a shrillness in Hillary that comes out on TV whenever she gets excited about something." Referring to a speech Clinton gave a "year ago," Scarborough added: "[E]very time her voice goes up, she gets very shrill."

Further, during an appearance on the June 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Luntz was identified only as a "pollster." His political affiliation was not discussed during the segment.

Media Matters has noted other media outlets' repeated failure to disclose Luntz's Republican ties.

From the June 20 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: I know this was to soften her image. Her negatives are very high.

LUNTZ: Correct.

HANNITY: She doesn't have a likability factor.

LUNTZ: Correct.

HANNITY: Let's show the real Hillary with this tape.

CLINTON [video clip]: And I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic. And we should stand up and say, "We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration."

HANNITY: Very different than the Hollywood, manufactured, soft, phony smiles on the Sopranos act.

LUNTZ: But listen to the way she -- now, forget the words. Listen to the way she communicated. It's all at the same level and I don't want to make your control room go nuts --

HANNITY: Angry.

LUNTZ: -- but she gets louder and louder, but her voice doesn't go up or down. The most powerful communication -- Ronald Reagan -- could get loud and he could get soft. Sometimes he'd be up here --

HANNITY: Right.

LUNTZ: -- and sometimes he'd be down here.

HANNITY: That's a good point.

LUNTZ: Her voice is -- and we're gonna end up getting hit by Media Matters -- but it's true. And the research that I have done --

HANNITY: What is that?

LUNTZ: Her voice -- Media Matters --

HANNITY: Well, go ahead. Come on, make your point.

LUNTZ: Her voice turns people off because they feel like they're being lectured.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Frank Luntz
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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