On Thursday morning, 9 March 2017, during an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box, Scott Pruitt made his most dramatic on-camera climate-denying statement since his Senate confirmation (17 Feb. 2017) as the Chief US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator.
A portion of the interview (contained in the video above) provides several excellent nonverbal teaching examples which are included for analysis here, along with the transcript of the two men's exchange.
JOE KERNEN (beginning at 0:01): Let me ask you one other thing - ta, ta, to get to the nitty-gritty, do you believe, that it's been proven that CO2 is the primary control knob for climate?
SCOTT PRUITT: [Loose Tongue Jut]
JOE KERNEN: Do you believe that?
SCOTT PRUITT: No, I - No, I think that, that, measuring with precision - ah, human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremen [stutter] tremendous disagreement about the, the degree of impact - ah, tha so, so no I would not a-gree, ahhh [suppressed smile], that it's a primary contributor, ah, to the, to the Global warming that we see [Loose Tongue Jut].
JOE KERNEN: Okay.
SCOTT PRUITT: [Loose Tongue Jut]
JOE KERNEN: Alright [inaudible] -
SCOTT PRUITT (over-talking): But we don't know that yet - as far as, we, we need ta, we need to continue the debate and continue to review the analysis [suppressed smile].
JOE KERNEN: It's, it's, it's, it's a-, I, I agree tha- when I hear the science is settled, it's like I, I never heard that science actually gotten to a point where [Backwards Butt Adjustment by Kernen] - what's that's, that's the whole point of science, is that, that, you keep asking questions, you keep asking questions, but I don't want to be called a denier - so [Loose Tongue Jut], ah-um, you know - it scares me - t-, it's a terrible thing to be called - anyway Administrator Pruitt, I know you don't want to be called that either - ah-um, thanks for being with us this morning, I appreciate it.
SCOTT PRUITT: Than-, thank, thank you very much
During 0:09, just after Kernen says,"Do you believe that?", Scott Pruitt displays what is known as a "Loose Tongue Jut" (aka "Lizard Tongue"). This specific variety of tongue jut (not to be confused with a "Tight Tongue Jut) is highly indicative of the thought-emotion of "I've been bad (or I'm about to be bad)" and "I got caught" (Navarro).
During 0:23, as Mr. Pruitt says, "... so no I would not a-gree, ahhh, that it's a primary contributor ...", when he says, "... ahhh ...", he displays a partially suppressed smile (Please watch the video several times during this portion - as the dynamic nature of this near-microexpression is not illustrated as well with a still image).
A suppressed smile is always suspect. This example is highly consistent with what is known as "Duping Delight" (Ekman). The term is derived from the well-established phenomenon that those who display it are enjoying some level of true pleasure (joy-happiness) in lying - and thus are believing, that on some level, they are successfully deceiving their audience.
During 0:28, just after he says, "... to the Global warming that we see." and Kernen answers, "Okay" - Pruitt then displays another loose tongue jut.
During 0:33, just after he says, "... continue to review the analysis", Mr. Pruitt displays another example of duping delight. Because of its considerable brevity, this is also an example of a true microexpression. Even on the still image (immediately above), one can easily the left corner of his mouth is up-turned - while his right corner is down-turned (However, as with the example above, this is best studied by watching the dynamic example in the video).
During 0:41 - 0:42, Mr. Kernan displays a "Backwards Butt Adjustment", as he says, "... actually gotten to a point where ..." which is a high-anxiety nonverbal display and, more specifically, heightened anxiety leading to the feeling of needing to dial-up one's alpha qualities. This is one variation of the centuries-old idiom, "Squirming in his chair".
During 0:52, just after Mr. Kernan says, "... I don't want to be called a 'denier' " - and then as Kernan says, ".... so ....", Mr. Pruitt yet again displays a tongue jut.
Whenever the body language does not agree with the verbal language - it's the body language which is telling what the person truly believes.
There are also numerous paralanguage examples displayed in this video which are consistent with deception. Neither man suffers from chronic stuttering, yet rarely will you ever hear two adults, who are both very accustomed to appearing on TV, stutter which such frequency. Their syntax/sentence structure was also significantly amiss.
Conclusion: While Mr. Pruitt's body language demonstrates that HE ACTUALLY DOES BELIEVE the rise in human-generated Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the primary cause of climate change - he says the opposite - and is therefore not telling the truth.
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