Boris Johnson’s fact-free outburst about Richard Sharp corruption allegations. Is he deceiving us?

This is hilarious – but not for any reason that Boris Johnson would like.

Confronted with the allegations that BBC Chairman Richard Sharp was corruptly appointed to the role – by Johnson – after he arranged an £800,000 loan for the then-prime minister, he responded as follows:

It’s amusing that he’s saying the BBC is disappearing up its own “fundament”, when you remember that he’s discussing somebody he appointed to that corporation.

But also: look at his eyes and listen to what he’s actually saying.

Instead of discussing the facts of the matter, Johnson instead gives what’s known as a “resume statement” or “convincing statement” about Richard Sharp. Apparently the BBC chairman is “a good and a wise man” but knows “absolutely nothing” about Johnson’s personal finances.

So, instead of answering the question, Johnson takes the opportunity to tell a story about Sharp’s character, to make us think someone like this would never be involved in any dodginess.

He’s on the news! He should be talking about what’s important – whether he corruptly installed Sharp at the BBC after the other man arranged a loan for him – and instead he’s avoiding the issue completely.

Secondly, look at his blink rate – the number of times he blinks while talking about Sharp. Normal blink rate is around 16 times per minute but Johnson blinks nine times in 10 seconds.

When we’re really interested in something, that blink rate slows down; we’re trying to take more information in. But when we’re stressed or anxious, which is usually what happens when we’re being deceptive, the blink rate goes up. Nine times in 10 seconds is a phenomenal rate.

Thirdly, ask yourself: did Johnson answer the question? If he did, did he answer the entire question? No, he didn’t.

He said nothing about what may or may not have happened. He said nothing about whether he welcomed the inquiry into it. He just gave Sharp a character reference and insulted the BBC.

Singly, these elements may not add up to much.

But together, they would indicate to those who know about such things that Johnson was trying to deceive the reporters – and the public.

1 thought on “Boris Johnson’s fact-free outburst about Richard Sharp corruption allegations. Is he deceiving us?

  1. nivekd

    The story was in the Sunday Times, not broken (as #LiarJohnson purports) by the BBC. He remains simply #anusinterpares.

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