Have you ever had one of those days when there is absolutely nothing on TV to watch and, in an act of total desperation and boredom, you flip to CPAC (Cable Public Affairs Channel) to watch the House of Commons proceedings? It’s a small step above watching paint dry, but it does provide some entertainment and offers some interesting insights into the world of deception and lying.

It took only a few minutes of viewing during my first experience with CPAC to discover that no one will answer a question directly. A member of the opposition will ask a question and the member of the governing party will stand up and respond. However, the response is not an answer to the question. Often it will be a long-winded and rambling pontification about something completely unrelated to the question. Or, it will be a verbal attack on the questioner or the questioner’s political party and some previous alleged heinous misconduct they carried out.

It’s incredibly frustrating and so tiring. How do these folks ever get anything accomplished? It’s like a game of verbal doge ball. I sometimes find myself screaming at the TV saying “Just answer the frigging question.” I know this isn’t going to accomplish anything, but it’s very cathartic!

It’s not uncommon for interviewees to use this approach. For life nor money, they will not answer the question. They talk about everything but the answer.

My approach with these folks is to bring them back repeatedly to the question. It may take several attempts but I persist until I get an answer. I will point out to them that they are being evasive by not answering the question and ask them for the reason for this. What is it about the question that they are trying so hard to evade? I sometimes tear a page out of the TV/movie courtroom scenes and say: Just answer the question.”

I will also note in my final report that the interviewee was evasive and failed on numerous occasions to answer questions that were posed to him/her.