The behaviour of politicians (particularly as we approach the British election), bureaucrats, bankers and business leaders is coming under ever greater scrutiny.
These groups are responding, not with straight answers, but by looking for ways to block and deflect criticism. In other words they are seeking to deceive us.
Spin doctors have been doing this for many years now. But it’s now a full time industry with lawyers, media-trainers and public relations companies helping their clients evade and avoid questions.
They don’t even have to tell lies – just present information in such a way that it deceives us.
I am going to reveal some of the tricks of their trade. So that when you listen to the radio, watch television or television or read the newspapers, you’ll spot the signs of deception. They are pretty easy to see when you know what you are looking for.
Firstly you need to see who, if anyone, is being interviewed. Are they issuing a statement instead of allowing themselves to be questioned? Are they hiding behind a trade association spokesperson?
And secondly, there are ways to spot evasive answers. These can be ambiguous, they can phrased to ensure no individual is responsible for anything (look at those sentences without a subject, verb or object) or the question can be ignored.
I am going to establish some principles in my first blogs and give you some examples of how they are already deceiving us; and in the future I will analyse the statements, of politicians, bureaucrats and business leaders for potential deception.