Statement Analysis®

Bill O'Reilly's Interview of President Obama

Lying by omission is the most common form of lying. A deceptive person will often give a truthful statement. However, he will leave out any information he does not want to share. Perhaps this is why in some courtrooms a witness is asked to "Tell the truth, the whole truth."

One way people get away with not telling the whole truth is by not answering the specific question. They will give an answer but when you closely listen you will discover they did not answer the specific question. When a person does not answer the specific question he is absolutely withholding information.

We saw some good examples of this when Bill O'Reilly from Fox News interviewed President Obama on Super Bowl Sunday. There were several questions where the President gave an answer but did not answer the specific question.

In talking about the problems with

O'Reilly: "Why didn't you fire Sebelius, the secretary in charge of this because I mean she had to know, after all those years and all that money, that it wasn't going to work?"

President Obama: "You know, my main priority right now is making sure that it delivers for the American people. And what we..."

O'Reilly: "You're not going to answer that?"

President Obama: "-- what -- what we've ended up doing is we've got three million people signed up so far. We're about a month behind of where we anticipated we wanted to be. We've got over six million people who have signed up for Medicaid."

The unanswered question is, "Why didn't you fire Sebelius?"

O'Reilly: "Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency to tell the nation over and over, if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance?"

President Obama: "But this is -- this is one that I regret and I've said I regretted, in part because we put in a grandfather clause in the original law saying that, in fact, you were supposed to be able to keep it..."

O'Reilly: "But isn't that the biggest mistake?"

President Obama: "Well, I, you know, Bill, as I said..."

The unanswered question is, "Was it the biggest mistake of your presidency?"

In regards to the attack on our Embassy in Benghazi in which the ambassador and three others were killed:

O'Reilly: "Did he tell you, Secretary Panetta, it was a terrorist attack?"

President Obama: "You know what he told me was that there was an attack on our compound..."

O'Reilly: "He didn't use the word 'terror?'"

President Obama: "You know, in -- in the heat of the moment, Bill, what folks are focused on is what's happening on the ground, do we have eyes on it, how can we make sure our folks are secure..."

O'Reilly: "Did he tell you it was a terror attack?"

President Obama: "Bill -- and what I'm -- I'm answering your question. What he said to me was, we've got an attack on our compound..."

The unanswered question is, "Did he tell you, Secretary Panetta, it was a terrorist attack?"

Unlike a lot of journalists/reporters, O'Reilly does a good job in recognizing the President did not answer the specific question. He also does a good job in asking the question a second time. However, in the end, perhaps because of his respect for the office, he allows the President to get away with not answering the specific question.

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