'Frank Luntz's' Tweet Nothings
For more than a year, a couple thousand Twitter fans tuned into the musings of political consultant Frank Luntz. Like the microblogs of many chattering-class types, the Luntz tweets were a mix of mild political commentary ("bummer about Sanjay Gupta stepping aside"), horn-tooting ("the Hill offers an article on my speech last night") and banal oversharing ("could definitely go for chicken francaise tonight").
But ha! The joke's on all of you who thought you'd found a real-time pipeline into the cranium of the former boy wonder of Republican polling. For Luntz's Twitter account ... was a fake.
Turns out it was written not by Luntz but by Brian Devine, a 20-something staffer at Rosslyn marketing consultancy New Media Strategies. A co-worker of Devine's, Simon Owens, unmasked him in a blog post last week after a follower of the mock-Twitter raised suspicions.
Devine explained to Owens that he pulled off the hoax for so long because his postings were deliberately non-outrageous. Which raises the question of ... why? Fake Condoleezza Rice Twitters or even fake Chuck Norris Twitters you can see the fun in, but Frank Luntz? Devine, who used to work for Luntz, told us it was an inside joke with other Luntz veterans. Not "a statement about anything -- just a gag."
"It's actually kind of scary," Luntz, 47, told us from L.A., where he moved last year. He was most bothered by the fact that Devine-as-Luntz tweeted about his actual news clippings and TV appearances, which he said he would never have done: "It's tacky." Though flattered that so many people, including major politicians and journalists, were following the fake account, "the idea that 2,000 people would care about what I was doing on a daily basis is kind of absurd."
He's not a Twitter fan; he finds the 140-character limit unable to "communicate passion or intensity." And no, he won't take up Devine's now-abandoned account. "Why the hell do I want to be twittering in D.C when I can drive the Pacific Coast Highway?"
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