'The Usual Suspects', a movie from 1995, had a really interesting interrogation scene.
The detective says, "The first thing I learned on the job, know what it was? How to spot a murderer. Let's say you arrest three guys for the same killing. Put them all in jail overnight. The next morning, whoever is sleeping is your man. If you're guilty, you know you're caught, you get some rest - let your guard down, you follow?"
This struck a chord in me about a current event. In the news (you could have hardly avoided it) is the strange story of Senator Larry Craig.
In case you've been out of the country (or in case you don't live the the U.S.), the Republican Senator from Idaho was arrested on June 11th at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer. The officer was investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men's public restroom.
On August 8th, he pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed, with one year probation.
And later, when it came to light, a spokesperson for Craig said it was a big "misunderstanding".
And yet, he pled guilty.
Craig later said, "I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."
This is where the incongruity comes into play:
1. Innocent people don't plead guilty. Innocent people put up a fight if they are wrongly accused.
2. Senator Craig never called an attorney. That's absolutely the first thing anyone does when they are arrested.
3. By saying, "I am not gay - nor have I ever been gay," he believes that it is possible to be gay, say six months ago, then become ungay, say last week. This points towards a "waffling" and cover up.
Lastly, but maybe the most incongruous of all:
4. He didn't go home and tell his wife about the incident. If something as outrageous as this happened to any one of us and had absolutely no basis in truth, wouldn't we all go home to our spouses (or families or friends) and say, "You're not going to believe what happened to me today. It's the most absurd thing..."
Senator Craig has come up with a scapegoat in the form of "the media".
Mr. Craig claims he pled guilty because he didn't want anymore trouble from the Idaho Statesman, the paper that he alleges has been "relentlessly and viciously" harassing him.
Well, I'm a big fan of blaming the media. They're seldom right and never in doubt. Somehow, Mr. Craig's history of this sort of activity, makes the blaming of the media seem false.
Now look at this situation in terms of persuasion: Whether the allegations are true or false, how would you have framed the story under these circumstances?
Did his incongruity give him away? And what can he do to unframe himself?
Kenrick Cleveland teaches strategies to earn the business of wealthy prospects using persuasion
. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion strategies
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