By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Manipulators Love Adverbs

English: Newt Gingrich with a crowd in Ames, Iowa
Image via Wikipedia
This column by Fox News Joe Scarborough on Newt Gingrich's demagogic manipulation of adverbs struck a memory chord. I recall one or two past associates who liked to use the adverb "absolutely" quite often. Eventually, I realized that when the adverb appeared it was a sign that some kind of fraud on the truth was being perpetrated. In retrospect, it seems that the adverb abuser used the adverb to convince herself that the statement must be true if she was willing to go out on a rhetorical adverbial limb. Of course, politicians have perfected this art of simultaneously deceiving themselves and their audience at any particular time. I recall one quote to the effect that so-and-so wasn't lying--he really believed in the truth of his statement at that instant in time, although what he believed in the next instant to be true was anyone's guess. That sort of modus operandi has a way of making the egotistical life and its manipulative agenda so easy to accomplish.

A New York Times columnist also dissects the methods of manipulators, political and otherwise, at this link. So when you hear Gingrich call Romney "totally dishonest," you have to take it with a grain of salt, cum grano salis. In sum, in constructing our profile of a deceiver, keep your ears open for the tell-tale adverb.
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