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I'm the featured author for the National Writers Series: National Writers Series

How did you become a writer?  "I was a voracious reader and a wordsmith. At an early age, I assiduously looked up any word I didn’t know which greatly slowed my reading rate but gave me a love for the precision and subtlety of words. Over the years I gained an intimate and revealing understanding of the importance of words, the role words play in communication, and how people use the subtleties of words to their advantage."

 

Brady Passes Again

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Tom Brady’s recent denial statement on Facebook leaves us less than satisfied about what really happened in the Deflategate controversy.  Here, in context and in italics underlined, are his relevant “denial” statements:

“I am very disappointed by the NFL’s decision to uphold the 4 game suspension against me. I did nothing wrong, and no one in the Patriots organization did either. Despite submitting to hours of testimony over the past 6 months, it is disappointing that the Commissioner upheld my suspension based upon a standard that it was “probable” that I was “generally aware” of misconduct. The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.”

The phrase, “I did nothing wrong,” is full of wiggle, a word I’ve earlier defined in my book “Getting the Truth,” as “Wiggle words are words that someone can interpret their own way to gain an advantage.” What does Brady mean when he uses the word “wrong.” That’s really what Deflategate is all about. As I stated in my original “Deflategate” article, Is it "intentionally breaking the rules," if the rules are never enforced? QB’s are able to massage, brush, scratch, condition, and otherwise manipulate the balls to their liking. While those actions are apparently within the rules, it seems only a slight extension to think a 1 or 2 less psi is OK too.” So, if the balls were deflated, is that “wrong?” “Wrong,” after all, is subjective – it’s in the eyes of the beholder.

The second “denial” was, “The fact is that neither I, nor any equipment person, did anything of which we have been accused.” Again, there is wiggle. What is a fact? A fact is something that is indisputable. My first reaction is how can Brady say for a fact that equipment persons did not tamper with the footballs? He cannot. He couldn’t watch them 24/7. He can only speak for himself. So, his use of “fact” in this statement is weak. A better denial would have been, “I did not do anything of which I have been accused.” That would be more simple, more precise, and much more believable.

So, we are left again with a weak denial. And, as I’ve stated before: weak denials can be construed as evidence of guilt. Let’s look at another Brady response revealed in a transcript of an interview with Bob Costas on February 1, 2015:

Costas: Another question frequently asked, whether it be an equipment guy, a ball boy — whatever — hard to believe that that person wouldn‟t deflate the ball beneath 12.5, the minimum allowable, without at least having the notion that that‟s how Tom Brady wants it, whether you told him that or not. Is that a fair assumption?

Brady: Absolutely, I think that‟s — absolutely — you know, I could understand why people feel that way. You know, there‟s an investigation going on. I‟m sure all the things will come out. It‟s been a lot of speculation. And I think that‟s what led to my hurt feelings. You know, hopefully the facts come out. And — you know, we understand that — you know, whatever happened, happened. And you know, it‟s not going to have an effect on this game. And you know, we can move forward.

Yet another opportunity to provide a good denial and he passed.

Get One!

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If you’re not guilty, get a Private Investigator to find evidence to exculpate you. If guilty, get one to mitigate the ramifications. And get "Getting the Truth."

Can We Rely upon Poll Results?

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Poll Questions

Here is a recent question on the Quinnipiac University 2016 Presdidential Swing State Poll:

Would you say xxxxxxxxx is honest and trustworthy or not?

The structure of a question is very important. What does the phrase “honest and trustworthy”  mean? Is there a difference between the words “honest” and “trustworthy?” The words are similar but different. Otherwise there would be no need for two words.

Can someone be honest and not trustworthy? Can you imagine anyone who is honest but not trustworthy? How about someone who is not honest but is trustworthy? 

If you have a close friend who is embezzling money from his/her company, can that friend still be trustworthy? How about a friend who is honest, but with whom you hesitate to share secrets? If you can think of examples, how would you answer the question, “Is xxxxxxxxx honest and trustworthy, or not?

Here are the dictionary definitions:

“Honest” means

  • free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere: I haven't been totally honest with you.
  •  morally correct or virtuous: I did the only right and honest thing.
  •  [ attrib. ] fairly earned, especially through hard work: struggling to make an honest living.
  •  (of an action) blameless or well intentioned even if unsuccessful or misguided: he'd made an honest mistake.
  • [ attrib. ] simple, unpretentious, and unsophisticated: good honest food with no gimmicks

“Trustworthy” means

  • able to be relied on as honest or truthful: leave a spare key with a trustworthy neighbor.

So, we need to be very careful when we listen to or interpret polls. The wording of the questions can mean different things to different people. Thus, the results are suspicious.

I would much rather see this poll break down the questions to read:

Would you say  xxxxxxxxx is honest?

Would you say xxxxxxxxx is trustworthy?

Would you say xxxxxxxxx is not honest?

Would you say xxxxxxxxx is not trustworthy?

The question, "Would you say xxxxxxxxx is honest and trustworthy or not?" is a sloppily worded question. The results cannot be relied upon. In order to get the truth, structure your questions so they are simple, precise, and clearly understood. Anything short of that and you risk getting imprecise results.

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