NBC Management Issues Statement Regarding Matt Lauer
I’m certain there will be opportunity to analyze the accusers’ statements, however for now let’s look at the statement made by the network.
The one sentence statement is saying quite a bit:
“We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct,” a spokesperson for the network said.
“We can say …” They definitely know more, but likely they’ve been advised legally to limit their comments.
“We can say unequivocally…” The use of the word ” unequivocally” means the person was ruling out other possibilities which led him to conclude he was positive Monday night was the first time they were hearing any complaints. If a person is unequivocal about something, he will not use the word “unequivocally.” In the case of an accused using the word “unequivocally,” we would want to find out what other things he was considering. The same is true for qualifiers such as “certain” and “confident”.
“prior to Monday night, current NBC News management…” Use of the word “current” is intentional. This says nothing about any former management knowing about the allegations.
“management was never made aware…” Never does not mean “not”. Because the word “never” is a negative word, it often fools others into believing the subject has denied the allegation.
“management was never made aware…” “Made aware” does not mean they did not know. We cannot believe they did not know because they did not tell us they did not know. “Made aware” is passive language. Passive voice is used to avoid responsibility for actions taken.
“…was never made aware of any complaints” Everyone has a personal dictionary. Your definition of a complaint may be different than NBC’s. To one person it may mean they told someone they were uncomfortable or didn’t appreciate it. To NBC, they may be referring to a formal, written complaint, or a legal suit.
Consider if the spokesperson had made the following statement instead, “Monday night was the first time NBC management was aware of Matt Lauer’s inappropriate conduct.”
That is more believable than “We can say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer’s conduct.”
In content analysis it is key that you look at each word carefully to see what they are really saying.
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