Last week on Nightline, Hillary Clinton made an apology for not keeping separate her personal emails and her Secretary of State-related emails. What follows is a nonverbal analysis of this crucial portion of the interview.
Beginning at 0:55, Mrs. Clinton says, "... Um, but I do think I - could have and should have done a better job, ah, answering questions earlier. As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should've used two accounts, one for personal, one for - ah, work-related emails, ah. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility, ah, and I'm trying to be as transparent as I possibly can ..."
During this very important segment, Mrs. Clinton displays several shoulder shrugs (simultaneous with her spoken words outlined above in bold-red). A shoulder shrug should never be used in the midst of an apology. Never. It sends signals of:
- "I Don't Know"
- "I Don't Care" or
- "What Does It Matter?"
- Torso Angled back in Chair (away from interviewer or audience)
- Head & Neck angled back, tilted back (although this is not as pronounced here as with some of her interviews)
- Crossed Ankles (very commonly used by Mrs. Clinton)
- Intertwined Fingers
Taken in parts or in toto - Hillary Clinton's apology is insincere. In addition, she's sending signals of impatient dismissal and strong feelings consistent with, "I'm only saying this because I have to." Mrs. Clinton feels she should NOT have had to apologize. She still feels she did nothing illegal. Thus while her apology is not a sincere one, this would be a similar nonverbal (and paralanguage) display for nearly all of us who felt we were forced into an apology which was not owed.
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