Monday, October 31, 2011
Today, Herman Cain responded to sexually related allegations:
"I have never sexually harassed anyone," Cain told Fox News on Monday. "I was falsely accused while I was at the National Restaurant Association and I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless."
Let’s take a look at his denial. The best denial is simple, direct, with as few words as possible, with those words having no wiggle room for interpretation.
The sentence, “I have never sexually harassed anyone,” is not direct, has too many words, and has words that have a lot of wiggle in them. A good denial also uses past tense verbs, like, “I did not….” – not passive words like “have.” Further, the term, “sexually harassed,” is of course a legal term and as such, has a great deal of wiggle room, literally, figuratively, and legally. Finally, the term, “anyone,” too has a lot of wiggle room in it. What does “anyone,” really mean? It is non-specific and is certainly not direct.
To beat a dead horse, he further stumbles when he states, “…and I say falsely because it turned out after the investigation to be baseless.” Now we know that it was false because it turned out the investigation found it so. “It turned out” is arbitrary and certainly not an absolute, lending further doubt to his denial. A good denial would state, “The investigation proved the allegation to be false.” Lastly, he says the allegation was false because after the investigation it turned out to be baseless – not because Mr. Cain knew it to false. And now it’s no longer false, it is baseless. Is baseless the same as false?
Bottom line: Not a good denial. This story has wings as we move along in this political season.
* This is not an attack on a political candidate. The sole intent of this analysis is to illustrate the power of LSA - nothing else.