Listen Carefully to Word Choice

Hillary classified emailsListen to what people tell you. They will usually tell you the truth. For example, take the never ending Hillary Clinton email server controversy. Intelligence officials have confirmed that there was classified information on her private email server.

Yet while campaigning in Iowa today she told reporters that she “did not send or nor did she receive material marked classified from her email server” while Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. According to most recent reports, it appears that statement could be correct; thus far the emails in question were not marked as classified. She is likely telling the truth about that.

Listen to what people tell you. They will usually tell you the truth.

However, the issue with her emails is not about markings on certain emails. The issue is about the existence of classified content on her private server.  Note she did not say she “did not send or nor did she receive classified material from her email server.” She said she didn’t send or nor did she receive material marked classified.  How all this plays out remains to be seen. My point here is to highlight the importance of listening carefully to word choice. Continue reading


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 — 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

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