The Joe Biden Denial
The Biden Denial
5/1/20 on MSNBC Morning Joe:
Mika Brzezinski: “I want to get right to the allegation made against you by Tara Reade. So, the former senate aide accuses you of sexual assault. And, please, to our viewers please excuse the graphic nature of this but I want to make sure there is no question about what we are talking about. She says in 1993, Mr. Vice President, that you pinned her against the wall and reached under her clothing and penetrated her with your fingers. Will you please go on the record with the American people. Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?“
Joe Biden: “No, it’s not true. I’m saying unequivocally that it never happened. And it didn’t. It never, ever happened.”
First, let’s take a close look at Mika’s excellent question. She first identifies the accuser, former senate aide, Tara Reade, and her accusation: “accuses you of sexual assault.” Then she gives the time frame (1993) and defines what she means when she uses the sexual assault words in her question: “She says in 1993, Mr. Vice President, that you pinned her against the wall and reached under her clothing and penetrated her with your fingers.” Then the precise, simple, and direct question: “Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?”
Mika’s question is constructed beautifully by first defining the time frame, the accusation, and all the terms used in the question. Questions have to be simple, direct, precise – and contain mutually understood words. This eliminates misunderstanding, leaving no future “wiggle” for the deceptive to use the excuse they misunderstood the question.
Now, the analysis. Forensic linguists ask the following:
1. Was the question simple, direct, and precise using mutually understood words?
2. Did the accused answer the question?
3. If not, why not?
“Did you sexually assault Tara Reade?”
“No, it’s not true. I’m saying unequivocally that it never happened. And it didn’t. It never, ever happened.”
Remember, Mr. Biden’s entire vocabulary is available when he provides his answer. He chose to use only those words shown in his denial. He made decisions on each and every word. He doesn’t respond directly to the question.
I expected, “I did not sexually assault Tara Reade." Instead he said, “No, it’s not true. I’m saying unequivocally that it never happened. And it didn’t. It never, ever happened.” He chose to respond with “It's not …,” instead of “I did not ...” Mika asked what “he” did, not what “it” did. This is not insignificant. His answer is more of a deflection. “I” is personal. “It” is not. So, he chose to depersonalize the accusation. He distanced himself from the accusation. Why? Does he find the accusation so disgusting, that he can’t associate himself with it? At the very least, his use of “it” is troubling and diminishes this denial.
Further, Mr. Biden introduces "wiggle" when he uses “it.” "Wiggle" is favored by the deceptive because it allows them to later change their answer. The innocent provide simple, clear, and precise responses to eliminate doubt. He leaves his "it” undefined, wiggly. Can we assume “it” is the "sexually assault?" Or is “it” the “pinned her against the wall?” Or, the “penetrated her with your fingers?” What is his definition of "it?" He forces us to make assumptions. Denials need to be simple, clear, and precise to kill doubt. Instead, his response creates doubt.
The pronoun “I” is the most precise word in any language to declare ownership, responsibility, accountability. There is only one "I." It's strategic absence is glaring and reveals his lack of willingness to declare “I did not sexually assault Tara Reade.” He didn’t “own” this denial. This essence of denial analysis is declaring "I did not ..."
The fact he used his only “I” in “I’m saying ..,” is also telling. “I’m saying ..” is an introduction and allows the deceptive to “say" anything. We always need to be aware of what follows introductions. They also introduce "wiggle" in the response. The questioner cannot, must not, rely on anything that follows “I’m saying …” Mr. Biden spent his powerful “I” pronoun only here and nowhere else. He chose not to use his "I" where it counted. Again, why?
The accusation lives.