Thursday, April 30, 2015

CNN: Brooke Baldwin Statement Analysis


Statement Analysis is the scientific process of analyzing words for deception, truth, and content.  Here is a simple example of how it works.  

In a discussion about police training in Baltimore, CNN's Brook Baldwin made this statement.  We look at context in two ways:

1.  The context of the statement.  This is why, when available, we use the full statement.  It can be unjust to pull something out of context, as claimed by the Baltimore mayor.  In her case, the entire statement was posted.  This is the larger context.  

2.  The context of the wording, itself.  For example, which words are next to which words, and what is the order of the words.  This is a smaller context.  If one says "girl" and later "woman", about the same person, we look at the smaller context to ask, "What event took place that caused that "girl" to now become a "woman" in the person's mind?  It is likely that the person did not stop and say to himself, while freely speaking, "Hmm.  I think I will now call her "woman" here." The process is too fast for this.  

The larger context:  The Baltimore Riots and specifically, the training of Baltimore's police.  

“I love our nation’s veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.”

The context was those who served in the military, returned to the United States, and went into law enforcement.  

This was then met with outrage as the blaming and demonization of police continues.  She apologized with:

"Folks. Please don't misunderstand me. Dear friends/family of mine are veterans. I was repeating a concern vocalized to me lately. That's it."

This was then met with anger, as it is not an apology.

She then went on CNN television (in person) and said this to apologize. The apology has been praised in media. We analyze it for content:

"I made a mistake yesterday. We were in the middle of live TV, I was talking to a member of Congress, and I was recounting a story, a conversation I had had recently just referring to police. And I absolutely misspoke, I inartfully chose my words 100 percent and I just wish speaking to all of you this morning: I wholeheartedly retract what I said. And I’ve thought tremendously about this, and to our nation’s veterans, to you — this is just who I want to speak with this morning — I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform. And I wanted you to know that this morning, so to all of you, I owe a tremendous apology. I am truly sorry."

Let's analyze her statement for veracity and content.  

I.  First statement:  “I love our nation’s veterans, but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.”

The subject is intelligent and may have up to 30,000 words in her personal dictionary.  She was speaking "live."
This means that when she responded to the discussion about Baltimore police, she:
1  Went into her personal dictionary of perhaps, 30,000 words
2.  Decided which words to use
3.  Which words not to use
4.  What order to use them in
5.  Where to place them
6.  What tenses to use 

All this took place in less than a micro-second.  This speed of transmission from the brain to the tongue gives us our accuracy in analysis.  The average human being has 25,000 words in his or her personal dictionary.  Above average could be 30,000, and the brightest as much as 30,000. 

No person can tell us everything in his or her mind.  They must edit.  This editing process along with the words they use, reveals:  personality, background, experiences, gender, and so on.  We analyze not only for the purpose of detecting deception, but for content; that is, the things the person may be withholding from us.  

Please note:

"I love our nation's veterans, but some..."

The use of "I" is very strong and often an indicator of truth.  The subject begins with the pronoun "I" indicating personal connection to the statement.  Statements without pronouns are more often deceptive, and with the pronoun "I", she does not seek to hide, remove herself, or even 'share' her view with another.  This is very likely to be truthful and it is her own thought, as she takes ownership of it.  

Remember:  as English speaking humans, we have been using the pronoun "I" since the earliest days of speech, and having used it millions of times, it is intuitive.  It is, therefore, reliable in analysis.  

"I love our nation's veterans but..."

The word "but" seeks to refute, or minimize, by comparison, the words just spoken, signaling that what comes after "but", is more important than that which preceded it.  "I like pizza, but I love lobster"  compares pizza, unfavorably, to lobster.  "I want to go with you, but I can't", meaning the words that follow "but" are more important than the words preceded it, to the person who asked, "Will you come with me?" as it answers the question. This is how "but" is used in communication in the English language. 

The words "I love our nation's veterans" is now placed subordinate to:

"but some of them are coming back from war , they don't know the communities and they are ready to do battle."

That they are "ready to do battle" after coming back from experiencing "war" is more important to the subject than her love of veterans.  

She does not qualify her words, nor show signals of deception.  

Context:  Baltimore riots, burning, looting, injuring of police officers. 

Analysis conclusion:  This is likely, on its form, to be a truthful statement, expressing her opinion about police officers in the riots. She believes that they are provoking violence because of their experiences in overseas war.  It is to place responsibility for the violence upon police.  It is a personal opinion of hers.  No deception indicated. 

II.  The Defense, or First Apology 

When this was met with outrage, she then issued this statement:  

"Folks. Please don't misunderstand me. Dear friends/family of mine are veterans. I was repeating a concern vocalized to me lately. That's it."

1.  "Folks" is to attempt to connect personally with viewers that have expressed anger or outrage or even disagreement with her opinion. 

2.  "misunderstand" owns the words spoken, but does not want them to not be understood as she spoke them.  This is:  "do not assign a meaning different than the meaning I gave."

In her original statement, she made a strong, truthful statement of opinion.  She owned it with the pronoun "I", did not use qualifiers, nor confusing or misleading words.  She was clear when she spoke, yet she does not want "folks" to "misunderstand" her. 

3.  "Dear friends/family" are now different than "folks" and it includes the word "dear", or 'to endear' or 'endearment' with an increase in politeness, different than "folks" they are "mine", that is, dear to her as she knows them.  These "dear family/friends" are "veterans."  

4.  "I was repeating a concern vocalized to me lately. That's it."

Please note she does not say "I repeated" but "I was repeating", which draws out a period of time, rather than focusing on the singular event that took place.  This is a slight reduction in commitment. Our formula of commitment is First Person Singular, Past tense verb. 
Here is an example of the slight distancing, or weakening, of the statement from an example I used recently. 
In a discussion of reading, I said, "I read Churchill."
Later, I said, "I have read Calvin."
What is the difference?
When I said, "I read Churchill" I was specifically thinking of the 6 volume set of which I read cover to cover, hence, the strength of my answer.  When I mentioned John Calvin, I was thinking of his 22 volume commentary set of which I have read portions from over many years, but not cover to cover.  Hence, "I have read Calvin" shows a weakness. 
I did not stop myself and say to myself, "Hmm. Which past tense should I use?"  It just came out due to the rapid transmission in the brain. 
"I was repeating" is weak.  We do not conclude deception upon one signal, however. 
Next

5.  "I was repeating a concern vocalized..."
"vocalized" is an unusual (unexpected) word.  
She avoided saying "I repeated a concern told me" but "vocalized", that is, "given vocal enunciation" to. 
We sometimes use "vocalized" when a person with developmental disabilities struggles to speak, and often communicates through other means.  It may also be in a crowd where there is a lot of noise.  
It is not expected and is a signal of weakness.  If it is from a crowd, overheard "vocally", why is it weak?
Answer:  "to me" indicating that it was not just something that rose above other sounds, but was specified, that is "told" or "said" to her, specifically, as intended audience, hence, it is not only weak, but in passive voice, which seeks to conceal identity or responsibility. 

6.  "lately" is unnecessary.  Sometimes deceptive people pile on unnecessary words in an attempt to convince the listener.  This is another signal of weakness, that when added up gives us a conclusion. 
7.  "That's it" is to end all discussion.  She will not say who "vocalized" it, nor "when", since time ("lately") is sensitive to her.  The word "that" is also distancing language, with "this" indicating that something is closer.  "I don't want that one, I want this one" here, closer.  She distances herself from the 'apology' with this word, and closes off any further discussion.  This is an indication that the subject does not want to be asked any more questions. 

analysis conclusion:  Deception Indicated

The subject is not truthful but is attempting to mislead the audience regarding her own opinion, expressed truthfully.  Perhaps the "vocalization" came from herself.  
She is deceptive about her truthful statement, in an attempt to ascribe her own opinion to another. 

III.  The Apology 

"I made a mistake yesterday. We were in the middle of live TV, I was talking to a member of Congress, and I was recounting a story, a conversation I had had recently just referring to police. And I absolutely misspoke, I inartfully chose my words 100 percent and I just wish speaking to all of you this morning: I wholeheartedly retract what I said. And I’ve thought tremendously about this, and to our nation’s veterans, to you — this is just who I want to speak with this morning — I have the utmost respect for our men and women in uniform. And I wanted you to know that this morning, so to all of you, I owe a tremendous apology. I am truly sorry."

Deception Indicated

The subject's apology is sensitive and uses additional  unnecessary language, including change of language.  In fact, if she was simply quoting someone else, she has nothing to apologize for:  it is not her opinion.  This is why being "sorry" is qualified with "truly" sorry, indicating that she has other forms of being "sorry" that may not be "truly" sorrowful.  This is distancing language. 
Note "story" became "conversation", without any contextual justification:  an indication of deception in her language. 
Note "had had" expresses time. 
Note "absolutely misspoke" but does not say what was "misspoken."  
"I wholeheartedly retract what I said" in which area?  That it was her words, or, as claimed, it was a "vocalization" from another entity?  

This shows a deep need to persuade (NTP) rather than truthfully seek forgiveness or pardon from the audience. 

Conclusion:

The subject is of the opinion that police that come from the military are too aggressive and dangerous.  This is her opinion expressed plainly, in truth. 
Her responses indicate deception. 

next up: Using Statement Analysis to spot a scamming thief on Ebay.

7 comments:

Sus said...

Was she speaking to the response to riots or how police deal with citizens on a daily basis? The DOJ did make hiring vets on police forces...at the federal, state, and city level...top priority.

I keep thinking back to the vet who called out the "fake vet" in a mall. He became the darling of the media for questioning, yelling after, and even swearing at the fake vet...all with children present in the video. I read many comments wishing him good luck on his wished-for LE career, many commenting on what a great cop he'd make. But all I could think was "extreme use of force in the future."

I agree that police and communities are now in a me against you mind set, and part of that could be the vet's war experience. Not all, but part.

Sus said...

I want to mention something else. I believe Sara mentioned it on another post...the war on drugs.

Many cities have eased their restrictions on some drugs, at the least are not arresting those with small amounts. On the surface this may seem like a good thing. It may even turn out to be in the long run. But right now there's a war between gangs/cartels/races for that trade. LE is caught scrambling behind it.

John mcgowan said...

In a discussion of reading, I said, "I read Churchill."

Later, I said, "I have read Calvin."

This is a prime example, as you have pointed out before Peter. That we read line by line, word by word, letter by letter etc. This is why i love SA.

Thanks.

John mcgowan said...

OT Update:

Baltimore Cop's Relative Claims Freddie Gray Was Injured Before He Got In Van

The relative of a Baltimore cop involved in Freddie Gray's arrest told CNN on Wednesday night that Gray's injuries did not happen while he was being transported in a police van.

"He believes that whatever happened to Mr. Gray happened before he was transported," the woman, who was granted anonymity, told Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight" about the cop's views.

She also said Gray, who died while in police custody, "was irate" while in the van.

"He was cursing, he was yelling and he was kicking," the woman said. "That's what was heard." She said Gray did not have his seatbelt on in the van, and added that there's an "unwritten rule" that when a suspect is "irate," police won't buckle them in because of fear the suspect could bite or spit on the cops during the process.

The relative's account clashes with what Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters last week.

Gray "gave up without the use of force," Rodriguez said, according to CNN. The officers involved in Gray's arrest also denied using force against him.

Don Lemon's interview aired the same night The Washington Post reported on a leaked police document that suggested Freddie Gray may have injured himself. A prisoner who was in the van with Gray allegedly told investigators he could hear Gray "banging against the walls" of the police vehicle, and said he believed Gray was "intentionally trying to injure himself," according to a document written by a Baltimore police investigator.

WBAL's Jayne Miller told MSNBC that the Post’s story was “inconsistent with what we reported.”

"We have reported for some time that by the time that prisoner is loaded into that van, Freddie Gray was unresponsive. Secondly, we have no medical evidence that Freddie Gray suffered any injury that would indicate that he had injured himself,” Miller told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Wednesday night.

At a press conference on Thursday, Baltimore police announced that they gave evidence gathered during the department's internal investigation to the state's attorney's office. The office will decide whether any charges are warranted.

The findings of the police department's investigation will not be made public, CBS reports.

The six officers involved in Gray's arrest are suspended with pay while the investigation continues.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/30/cops-relative-gray-injured-before-in-van_n_7181204.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000021

Anonymous said...

I had heard her quote, and misunderstood her remarks to be about the National Guardsmen, some fresh from a war-zone, that were being brought in to help keep the peace. In that context, her remarks make sense, but she has stated that was NOT the intended context. Thanks Peter!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link...but whaddya think ???

Anonymous said...

Sus- I keep thinking back to the guy who killed Chris Kyle.

Google "Iraq vet kills" and see how many different stories there are.

They need help and aren't getting it.