Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3225: Fox News Reporter Pete Hegseth Accidentally Hits Bystander While Throwing an Ax - Body Language (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Pete Hegseth, a Fox News reporter, accidentally hit a bystander on 14 June 2015 while throwing an ax. This was an attempt at what is known as a "segment tease" - this particular one celebrating the Flag Day and the 240th birthday of the U.S. Army. The victim here, a West Point drummer - Jeff Prosperie - posted a video of the event recently on his Facebook page. The mishap and his injury were never mentioned or shown on the Fox News broadcast. Although injured by the double-bladed ax, Prosperie was extremely lucky to have only been hit broadside on the elbow.

After the ax was thrown well past the intended target, Hegseth can be seen in this low-resolution image making fists and pulling his hands towards his face with his arms drawing in to his torso. There is also a foreshortening of his neck.

If we could see Hegseth's face in this moment it would show fear.

A split-second after the above moment, Hegseth continues to retract his arms tightly towards his torso and his hands (although we can't see them directly) to his face-neck region. His whole upper body flinches away from Mr. Prosperie.


Although of low resolution, we can see a significant "Mouth of Fear" displayed in this second - with its corners vectored laterally and down. Mr. Hegseth's upper limbs remain contracted and defensive.

The body language signals seen here are highly consistent with fear. There is also a component of empathy in this action - although with this low-resolution and edited video - it's difficult to quantify empathy. If Mr. Hegseth were another person (e.g. an observer) on the side-lines and his body language still showed similar configurations - it would be associated with a higher empathy quotient.

Note the woman covering her mouth circled in red (watch video at 0:19 second mark). She also has fear, yet there's significantly more discernible empathy in her emotion. What specifically allows us to conclude this?

See also:

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3224: Jordan Spieth, the U.S. Open, and a Classic Fear Expression

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3223: Jordan Spieth, the U.S. Open, Annie Verret, Kissing and Body Language

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2:  Body Language of Blake Lively and Penn Badgley  Strongly Suggests an Impending Break-up in Near Future

Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3198: Sepp Blatter, FIFA, Subtle Fear & Body Language