Fox News focus group in Iowa: President Obama is Muslim
On Sean Hannity’s program Monday night, pollster Frank Luntz hosted a focus group of Iowa Republican caucus-goers, gauging their reaction of President Barack Obama’s Sunday afternoon interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
After a question by O’Reilly about the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in transitioning a government for Egypt, Luntz began to ask the Iowa Republicans why the meters showed them all having such a negative reaction to Obama’s answers.
One woman said she believed the president’s religious convictions guide his policies. When Luntz asked her to clarify, she said, “I believe that he is a Muslim.”
Luntz then asked the rest of the group how many believed Obama is Muslim. About a dozen, or nearly half, raised their hands.
“Now do you understand the implications of what you’re saying here,” Luntz began to ask. “What the media’s going to say about this group and about the Iowa Caucus voters in the future. Do you realize what you’re opening up here?”
After that comment, several other members of the focus group said they believed Obama’s religious belief is “liberalism,” which they said was “the most intolerant of all.”
The president is of course Christian, but some of the Republicans said they did not believe him.
This isn’t the first time Iowa has garnered headlines for questions about the president’s faith. Kim Lehman, one of Iowa’s three representatives on the Republican National Committee, was criticized last summer when she publicly questioned the president’s religion. In response, several prominent Iowa Republicans sounded off, with state Sen. Sandy Greiner saying she respects the point of view of anyone who says the president is a Muslim.
Gov. Terry Branstad said at the time that he would take the president at his word that he’s a Christian.
Luntz’ panels have been criticized as seeming too far right to be an accurate representation of any segment of the US population. The Pulitzer-prize winning website PolitiFact said Luntz coined the “Lie of the Year” in 2010, with the phrase “government takeover of health care.”
Luntz previously complained his airtime had been cut on Fox because his findings didn’t comport with the outlet’s orthodoxy, resulting from focus groups he conducted that ended up favoring Obama.
Also, on cable Monday night, on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell concluded O’Reilly had interupted the president 43 times during the interview.