Something has been bothering me.
I have been listening for many years to politicians and public affairs representatives in the media. I have noticed an interesting trend in the way that they respond to questions.
It seems to me that there must be a special course for these individuals, with a half-day component called Nay Saying. The trend I notice is this . . . when asked a direct question, either for verfification, clarification or to elicit a definitive answer, the stock reponse is, “No, no, no.”. This is then usually followed by one of a few possible options:
- Firstly, accuse the interviewer of lack of intelligence. That is, you explain that they do not understand what you are saying, and that you will repeat it. You then proceed to do so.
- The second option is to redefine the nomenclature. This involves taking the words of the question, denying that they have their common meaning and attach either an alternate obscure meaning, or treat it as a technical, jargon type word that has a different meaning within the cadres and structures.
- The third option is to mark the entire question as irrelevant, and then proceed to ask yourself a better question, that you then answer.
- The last option is to categorically deny what what inferred, and then simply say it again using synonyms.
On the whole, I think that these “diplomats” are afraid of something. I think they are afraid of being painted into a corner. Is that so? No, no, no – you see a corner implies that they would be trapped – he, he, he. No, no – it is more like a street corner where they can freely move and speak. Like on a soap-box? No, no, no – you see a soap-box is a term …
I have a suggestion. Perhaps we should be asking questions that have no hypothesis built into them. Perhaps we should say, “Mr S——–, what has been your experience of the way in which . . .”, or “Sir, tell me your story . . . ” I contend that any corners thus painted, denied, misinterpreted, redefined will be completely within the story-teller’s own narrative.