Sunday, November 29, 2015
Statement Analysis: Donald Trump's Memory
Did Donald Trump ridicule a New York Times reporter with a disability?
Here is what he said:
"Somebody at the financially failing and totally biased New York Times said that, over the years, I have met Mr. Kovaleski. Despite having one of the all-time great memories, I certainly do not remember him."
1. "I have met Mr. Kovaleski" is not an embedded admission. It is to quote another.
2. The expectation is "I have not met Mr. Kovaleski" but is absent. An alternate expectation can be, "I do not remember meeting Mr. Kovaleski."
Another expectation, given the subject's base line, would be, "Yes, I met him and yes, I ridiculed him. He said some nasty things and lied about me and..."
3. The subject uses "not remembering him", with an appropriate use of "him" since he was introduced as "Mr. Kovaleski" already.
Therefore, we analyze the lack of memory.
4. "I do not remember him" is strong, but immediately weakened with two additions:
a. The call to memory: "Despite having one of the all-time great memories..."
b. The additional word "certainly"
a. is a pre-amble, but
b. is to add to the reliable denial, making it "unreliable."
There is also the visible notation of the disability that would impact memory, but this is 'outside the wording' of his statement.
That the NY Times is likely scouring its files for a photo of them together, if found, readers will likely not be surprised.