Rachel Dolezal Deception Analysis

As I type this I can’t get Michael Jackson’s Black or White song out of my head… “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.”

#AskRachelRachel Dolezal is the Caucasian NAACP Spokane president who has been identifying herself as black for quite some time but more recently has been caught up trying to deceive others that she actually is African American. In the brief video interview below Rachel Dolezal responds to allegations that she is not black and that she was not truthful in identifying a black man as her father. Dolezal is accused of identifying herself as black in an application to the City of Spokane, despite being born to white parents in Montana.

This interview, while only approximately 30 seconds in length (before she ends the interview), is rich in deceptive markers – both body language and word choice. Watch the interview here.

Read my content analysis below in blue:

Humphrey: Is that your dad?

Dolezal: Ya. That’s… that’s my dad.

She nods in agreement that it is her dad. She hesitates, and then looks like she’s smirking. You’ll notice her lips tighten here. Tightening of the lips is a reliable indicator of anger.

Humphrey: This man right here’s your father? Right there?

Dolezal: Do you have a question about that?

She pauses for three seconds before she responds by asking “Do you have a question about that?” Then at the 8-second mark into the interview she takes a breath, turns her head slightly and flashes a micro-facial expression for anger – her eyebrows come together and down. She ends her question back to the interviewer with a smile. A smile is the most often used facial expression made to try to mask other emotions. She realizes is it not appropriate to show signs of anger or contempt, and therefore attempts to hide it. She also did not answer his question wanting to confirm that that man in the photograph he was showing her was indeed her dad. Answering a question with a question is an attempt to buy time. Continue reading


Content Analysis of Cigarettegate

cigarettegatePresidential @PressSec Josh Earnest is just doing his job. He’s reporting and responding to the media as he is told to do. Notwithstanding, it doesn’t take a professional lie detector to determine it appears he’s being less than forthright when he is denying suggestions that @POTUS was photographed holding a pack of cigarettes during the recent G-7 Summit.

I don’t really think the issue for most is whether or not POTUS was holding a pack of smokes. Talk to anyone who has ever tried to remain steadfast on a diet or who has quit smoking, often quit more than once. If he was out on the balcony for a cigarette it’s really not a big deal. But the pointless cover-up is what is making this an issue.

People get insulted when they’re lied to, and done so in a rather obvious fashion.

As a deception specialist it would be irresponsible of me to blatantly accuse Josh Earnest of lying. After all, I don’t have ground truth. However it does appear there are some rather obvious inconsistencies as it relates to truth and credibility in this word choice and body language.

If you’ve seen the video of the poignant interaction between White House correspondent April Ryan and Josh Earnest you may have a feeling you’re not getting the whole story. Below I’ve completed an analysis on the brief interaction so you can see the dissection of where it’s not the best response to put this issue to bed.

If you haven’t seen the video I have provided it for you below at the end of this content analysis.

Ryan: “There’s a lot of question about what this white thing is in his hand. Can you tell us — um..is the President, does he have a pack of cigarettes in his hand?”

Earnest: “He does not.”

Josh avoids saying the word “No” when asked if he has cigarettes. He also uses an emphatic “does not” when the majority of his speech includes contractions. Based on his baseline I’d expect a response from him of “No, he doesn’t have cigarettes.” And then more specifically, it’s reasonable to expect a response detailing what it is that is in his hands.

Ryan: “What was it?”

Earnest: “I don’t know, April, I wasn’t there, but …”

He is the Press Secretary charged with speaking for the White House. As much press as cigarettegate has received lately I’d reasonably expect that instead of a flat, “I don’t know, I wasn’t there” response he’d by now know what it was. And we already know he was not there – as evidenced by the photo of POTUS and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Continue reading


So Politicians Lie; So What?

lying politicianI told someone that one of the things I do as a Content Validity Analyst is to determine the likelihood of politicians telling the truth in their statements. Her response was “So all politicians lie; why do we need a specialist to determine that?”

Everyone Lies; So What?

If you’re going to take the stance that all politicians lie, so what’s the point in analyzing their words, then I must remind you that all people lie, regardless of profession.  Are we going to just stop trusting people completely, assuming that what they are saying is probably a lie? Or do we blindly trust that everyone is always sincere in everything they say so forget about the possibility one is being untruthful.

Credibility Matters.

If you’re going to be electing the next President of the United States, or Congressman or Senator, don’t you want the person you’re voting for to be credible?  If he or she is lying about something on the campaign trail, you must assume they will also lie about things if elected to office.

White Lie or Big Whopper?

Lying about your weight on a driver’s license can be overlooked. Lying that your mother-in-law’s meatloaf is delicious is an acceptable social lie. Lying about ethics, foreign policy, experience, safety of the American people, finances and other important issues is not something we should lower our standards to accept.

Use the Science.

Continue reading

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