Obama Voters In Focus Group Like Family Guy's Attack On Palin

According to a focus group done by pollster Frank Luntz, folks that voted for Barack Obama liked the recent attack on Sarah Palin done by the cartoon series "Family Guy."

As NewsBusters reported almost two weeks ago, the Valentine's Day episode of the Fox hit featured a Down Syndrome girl saying that her mother was the former governor of Alaska.

This sparked a nationwide debate about whether this was just harmless satire or deeply offensive on a number of levels.

With this in mind, Luntz put together a focus group of thirteen folks that voted for John McCain in November 2008, and eleven that voted for Barack Obama, to gauge reactions to this segment as well as to how Palin responded to it.

Though obviously a very small sample set, the results he shared on Friday's "O'Reilly Factor" were staggering to say the least (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Right Scoop and @Cubachi):

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Personal story" segment tonight, as you may know, the FOX TV program "Family Guy" took a cheap shot at Sarah Palin and her family by using a cartoon character with Down Syndrome to mock her. Ms. Palin, of course, has a Down Syndrome baby. Well, we asked Dr. Frank Luntz to wire up the folks and get their reaction to the Frank situation - to the situation. And Frank joins us now.

Okay, the folks are whom?

FRANK LUNTZ: Philadelphia voters.

O'REILLY: Yes.

LUNTZ: 13 who voted for John McCain, 11 who voted for Barack Obama. And they watched both Sarah Palin and the cartoon itself. And the reaction we got was shocking.

O'REILLY: OK. Let's roll the cartoon. Go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, kids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the girl.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Isn't she special?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the way the state of Rhode Island would put it. There's something up with her, isn't there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She's got Down syndrome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, well, there we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's so sweet. And doesn't she have the most beautiful eyes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The spacing seems a tad off but individually, yes, they're not awful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be this rude all evening? You haven't asked me anything about myself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sorry, um, so what do your parents do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's better. My dad is an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska.

(END VIDEO CIP)

O'REILLY: All right, now, after she said "former governor of Alaska,": we cut it off but where did the line go?

LUNTZ: The Republican line tanked. And we asked them if you think it's funny you dial it up.

O'REILLY: Right.

LUNTZ: If you think it's offensive you dial it down.

Now I would have assumed that Democrats, they have a reputation of being more compassionate and more caring. Republicans have a reputation for being tougher, more no nonsense. And yet, the Democrats didn't find that offensive, and the Republicans did.

O'REILLY: So it's all about Palin, not about the material?

LUNTZ: It's all about Palin. And look, The "Family Guy" people, it's almost an insult. It's not almost -- it is an insult. And when you've got -- when you've got people who are watching making fun of someone in that way, could you imagine what would have happened if a conservative had done that?

O'REILLY: Well, yes, there's always a double standard in the media, but there shouldn't be among the folks. So you're saying that basically, that the people who voted for Barack Obama were not offended by this cartoon, but the people who voted for McCain were? OK. I'm sorry it breaks down along party lines.

Now, as you may know, Sarah Palin came on "The Factor" to address the controversy. So roll the tape on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: So, governor, what do you think? It's pretty nasty, is it not?

SARAH PALIN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This world is full of cruel, cold-hearted people who would do such a thing.

Look, I look at Trig and I see perfection. I see a precious little child, already toddling around. You can see that he has a heart of gold. I also can see into the future that Trig is going to have a pretty tough, challenging life in front of him. He's going to face things that special-needs children will be facing, much more difficult than we ever will.

So why make it tougher on the special-needs community? That's what I thought when I first heard about this episode. That really isn't funny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: OK.

LUNTZ: I approached this without having any political allegiance. And I'm watching those dials go. And I have to tell you candidly, that I'm thinking to myself, "What the hell?" This is not a former vice-presidential candidate or governor. This is a mom talking about a challenge with her children.

O'REILLY: A baby.

LUNTZ: A baby.

O'REILLY: You can't get above 50.

LUNTZ: Among Obama voters. I don't understand that.

O'REILLY: They hate her.

LUNTZ: But isn't it -- shouldn't we look at the person first before the politics?

O'REILLY: Well, it's not -- it isn't so much that to me. The surprising part is she wasn't talking about anything of herself. She was talking about her baby. And you couldn't get above 50 percent when she was talking about a special-needs baby.

LUNTZ: So where's the compassion?

O'REILLY: There's not -- so they couldn't -- the people that you wired up couldn't separate what happened from her.

LUNTZ: Exactly.

O'REILLY: And you saw the Republicans. They like her. But I think they were probably listening to the conversation because you -- when she hit the baby line, it went -- like that.

LUNTZ: Let me tell you. if you go back to the convention of 2008, when she talked about her children, at that point, Democrats gave her a very high rating.

O'REILLY: She hadn't been demonized yet.

LUNTZ: Exactly. And that tells you that the demonizing works all the way through.

O'REILLY: Well, it works in the Democratic precincts for her.

Amazing. 

So, the demonizing of a former governor by America's media have made some folks on the Left so hateful of her that they now think it's acceptable to make jokes about her kids.

Not only that, they now don't even feel ANY compassion for her handicapped child.

There's no other way of putting this: those in the media that have for almost a year and a half mercilessly attacked this woman and her family should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

Unfortunately, the saddest part of this saga is they're not. They're proud, because not only did these attacks help get their man in office, but they also permanently tarnished someone they saw as an enemy.

Now forgive me, but I have to go wash my hands and disinfect my keyboard; working on this piece has made me ill.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.