Charlie Rose, a veteran television host has been fired by CBS after the Washington Post published a story detailing his sexual harassment of eight women from the late 1990s through 2011.
What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of his co-hosts' responses - Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King - on CBS This Morning.
NORAH O'DONNELL (continuing at 0:12): I also want to say this - that this is a moment that demands a frank and honest assessment about where we stand and more generally the safety of women. Let me be very clear: there is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive and I've been doing a lot of listening and I'm going to continue to do that. This I know is true Ω : women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility. I am really proud to work at CBS News. There are so many incredible people here, especially on this show - all of you here. This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period. ∑
GAYLE KING: Ah, I, I, I certainly echo that. And I, I have to say, Norah, I really am still reeling. Ah, I got an hour and 42 minutes of sleep last night. Both my son and my daughter called me, Oprah called me and said, 'Are you OK?' I am not OK. Ah, After reading that article in the Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling and painful for me to read. Ah, that said, I think we have to make this matter to women - the women that have spoken up, the women who have not spoken up because they're afraid. I'm hoping that now they will take the step to speak out, too. That this becomes a moment of truth. You know, I've enjoyed a, a friendship and a partnership with Charlie for the past five years. I've held him in such high regard and I'm really struggling because - how do you - what do you say when that someone that you deeply care about has done something - that is so horrible? How do you wrap your brain around that? I'm really grappling with that. Ahum §, that said, Charlie does not get a pass here. He doesn't get a pass from anyone in this room. We are all deeply affected. We are all rocked by this. And I, I want to echo what Norah said, I really applaud the women that speak up despite the friendship. He doesn't get a pass because I can't stop thinking about the anguish of the, of these women. What happened to their dignity, what happened to their bodies, what happened, a - maybe to even their careers. I can't stop thinking about that and the pain they're going through. I also find that, it's, it's - you can hold two ideas in your head at the same time - you can grapple with things. And I'm, to be very honest with you, I'm still trying to process all of this. I'm still trying to sort it out because this is not the man I know, but I'm also clearly on the side of the women who have been very hurt and very damaged by this..."
During 0:13, as Norah O'Donnell says, "... I also want to say this - that this is a moment ...", she displays a "Self Righteous Head Wiggle".
A Self-Righteous Head Wiggle (aka "High Confidence Head Wiggle"), is characterized by a rapid, side-to-side movement of the head and neck (sometimes isolated to, or in conjunction with an analog jaw and/or torso component). It's indicative of an alpha emotional tone - one of high confidence and/or self-righteousness. This particular SRHW/HCHW was quite brief.
It's important to emphasize that a SRHW must be viewed in the context of a video as a still image does not capture its dynamics.
The SRHW may also sometimes have as a component a simultaneous backward motion (when disgust, contempt, and/or disbelief are present). Alternatively, a superimposed forward motion may occur when there is an arrogance or condescending emotions are coexisting.
It's crucial to listen carefully too - for the vocal pitch grows higher during a Self-Righteous Head Wiggle - linking body language with paralanguage. Please re-watch/re-listen to this segment and for a moment you'll hear Ms. O'Donnell's elevate an octave or two.
"... This I know is true Ω : women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility ..."
During 0:34, just after she says, "This I know is true ...", Ms. O'Donnell displays an expression of contempt. More specifically, this is a microexpression of contempt. It's a quick and subtle contraction of the region adjacent to and above her left mouth corner. Watch this several times at regular speed and again at 1/2 and 1/4 speed. It's helpful to think of this as a fast, slight, snarl.
"This will be investigated. This has to end. This behavior is wrong. Period. ∑ "
Just after she says, "... Period." (during 1:00), Ms. O'Donnell turns to Ms. King with a combined expression of Disgust and Anger.
We can see the region above her upper lip evanescently tighten along with flaring of her (left) nostril. Her laterally-vectored tightened lips projects her anger. Ms. O'Donnell's partially closed eyelids - while not a required component of either anger or disgust - here serves to amplify both emotions.
During the vast majority of the time Ms. King was speaking, she was displaying an expression of Grief. More specifically, her Central Forehead was contracted and Elevated - combined with a simultaneous "Mouth of Sadness".
It's crucial to emphasize here, that when the Central Forehead Contraction is Elevated combined with even a slight upward turning of the mouth corners (e.g., those of a pseudo-smile, smirk, contempt, regret, etc. - none of which are seen here) - the emotion is completely different.
The image immediately above was captured during 1:05, as Ms. King said, "... I have to say, Norah, I really am still reeling..."
On multiple occasions during Ms. King's statement, you'll notice she displayed some intense clusters of very rapid blinking. Some particularly good examples occurred when she said, "... I'm really (1:39) struggling because - how do you - what do you say when that someone that you deeply (1:45) care about has done something - that is so (1:49) horrible? ..."
In this context (with her other concomitant nonverbal, verbal, and paralanguage displays) these rapid blinking clusters signify the phenomenon of Emotional Processing. The intellectual brain knows what has occurred - but her emotional brain is still trying to digest the events and the ramifications. Fascinatingly, Gayle King even gives verbal evidence of this same emotional-intellectual incongruity when she says, "... How do you wrap your brain around that?...", "... I also find that, it's, it's - you can hold two ideas in your head at the same time - you can grapple with things...", and "... I'm still trying to process all of this..."
During 1:55, just after she says, "... I'm really grappling with that, ahum § ...", Gayle King displays a classic display of Regret superimposed on her Sadness. This regret display - a directly lateral vectoring of the right mouth corner - is technically a bit too long-lasting to be a microexpression (ergo, a "near-microexpression").
Summary: We remember such moments of sincerity - when those professionals who, while reporting the news, also display their humanity. And whether it's in joy, sadness, or disbelief - it's in these rare, sincere times when we are most emotionally connected.
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