By C. Michael Forsyth
You can weasel out of telling the truth without technically lying by using any one of a number of tried and true techniques, according to a top ethicist.
Recently, White House spokesman Sean Spicer claimed that President Trump’s false statement that his predecessor Barrack Obama had wiretapped him was not a lie because the prez put the word “wiretapped” in quotes. And that’s 100 percent correct!
“If you put air quotes around a remark or use quotation marks in writing, it means the opposite of what you’re saying,” confirms lawyer Bert Hupplewick, who specializes in business ethics.
What’s more, he notes, there are at least a half dozen other ways to skirt the truth without blatantly lying. These include:
Crossing your fingers behind your back – This technique, which dates back thousands of years to ancient Israel, is just as valid for adults as it is for second graders.
Double negatives – “There won’t be no strippers at the bachelor party” actually means there will be strippers at the bachelor party.
Bogus outrage – Without actually denying an accusation, simply retort, “How dare you say something like that?! You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
Fake sarcasm – You can throw a listener off track with an exasperated, sarcastic tone. For example, when accused of having an affair with your wife’s best friend, reply, “Oh sure, yeah, I banged her. And your kid sister too. Hell, even your fat cousin!” All of which is true, but she won’t believe it.
Disappearing ink – A sworn statement signed in disappearing ink isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. “The trick has even been successfully used to invalidate contracts with the Devil,” Hupplewick observes.
Alternate meanings – If you say, “I promise not to sleep with my old boyfriend,” even if you plan to have sex with your old flame next Saturday night, that can be truthful because “sleep with” can also mean “sleep next to.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth