The Truth Is Not Always What It Seems

(Perception Controls The Outcome)

So you’ve been in an accident and someone – an insurance adjustor, or a lawyer, or someone else, it doesn’t really matter who it is – asks you to give a formal statement about the accident. Maybe it will be recorded, or on video, and maybe it won’t. You figure hey, “I’ve got nothing to hide. Why not? I’ll just tell the truth.” Well, there are lots of good reasons you shouldn’t, at least not without somebody helping you – somebody who knows this ruse.

Have you ever seen “The Running Man”? It’s a movie from the late 1980s starring Arnold Schwartzenegger as a police officer who refuses a direct order to kill unarmed civilians in the street. He’s commanding a police helicopter with his team, and after he disobeys the direct order to fire on the crowd, his crew overpowers him and the order is then carried out. Hundreds are slaughtered. And the cockpit of the helicopter has a video camera that records the whole thing. So Arnold is off the hook, right?

Nope. The video footage from the cockpit is skillfully edited to make it appear as though the whole attack was Arnold’s idea, and he is labeled “the Butcher of Bakersfield” and thrown into a prison camp. The evidence against him? The edited video. So his refusal to murder innocent people is made to look as though he came up with the idea all on his own.

Almost every day, we see some politician or celebrity claim that a particularly damning quote has been “taken out of context”. Sometimes they’re even right. But by then, the damage is done – people who heard or read the edited quote, not knowing what else was said or what the conversation was even really about, now think the worst of that politician or celebrity. And most people don’t even care to look into the context of the remark – it’s been said, and that’s that. Careers have been ruined. Perception controls, even when the truth is told.

It’s basic strategy, when all you want is to win. Get a person on tape, and ask skillful questions that are bound to get certain responses, whether that’s what the person really meant or not. And it happens all the time. Ever have a fight with a loved one, and hear them tell you something that you never said? They perceived something that you never meant to communicate. And yet you did. Did you lie? Nope. Just failed to communicate the truth well. The result is the wrong perception, and your position is lost.

So why am I telling you this? Because it could happen to you. You go for the interview and you tell nothing but the truth. But because you said it a particular way, or because some off-hand remark slipped out at the wrong time, your case has just become very, very difficult.

Don’t let this happen to you. Litigation is hard enough without having to explain yourself to people who really aren’t interested. As lawyers say, “you can’t un-ring the bell”.

I have been advising people in these situations for over 21 years. I’ve defended hundreds of depositions. I’ve seen these tricks, and I know how to fight against this sort of thing. Call our office before you give any statement at all. The consequences could be serious, and even telling the absolute truth won’t help you. It didn’t help the Butcher of Bakersfield.