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BODY LANGUAGE AND “EXPERT” VERBAL MISLEADMENT

Bill O’Reilly conducted an interview with Barack Obama, and, yesterday (09/04/08), broadcast the “first part” of that interview on FOX News.

I watched the broadcast, and, watched it mulitple times throughout the night’s ongoing programming on FOX.

Today (09/05/08), O’Reilly hosted Tanya Ryan, “body language expert,” in this ongoing segment production that is popular on O’Reily’s daily broadcasts. I’m a daily viewer (when at all possible) of O’Reilly’s broadcasts and also a daily viewer of FOX News, so allow me to share my opinions here as a (mostly) “dedicated” viewer.

Usually, I enjoy these segments because the subject is of interest to me, not so much the “expert” herself or her perspectives which I sometimes question due to her flowery, opinionated choice of terms she applies frequently to this field of interest or study. Her bias in perspectives and choice of negative or enthusiastic adjectives applied in describing various body language reveals that Ryan is too subjective as to her observations to be taken too seriously.

Thus, I write today about “‘expert’ verbal misleadments” and “body language“; and in this specific case, about three areas of these issues:

  1. (1.) Barack Obama’s body language as recorded before and with Bill O’Reilly in his “first part interview” with Obama;
  2. (2.) Tanya Ryan’s “body language expert” opinions from today’s Bill O’Reilly broadcast about Obama’s body language on that first-parter interview; and,
  3. (3.) Ryan also made several subjective, critical remarks about Sarah Palin and I’m going to discuss Ryan in that context, also.)

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(1.) Bill O’Reilly Interview with Barack Obama, “First Part” broadcast 09/04/08 – observations about Obama’s “body language”:

O’Reilly and Obama sat before one another in two facing chairs. O’Reilly began asking his questions as Interviewer of Obama as guest.

Obama was from the beginning of this interview sitting leaning demonstratively forward in his chair, toward O’Reilly — Obama’s body trunk leaned forward, his hands poised in his lap.

This indicates to me a ready-aggression by Obama that was unusual. Because of that alone — his lack of a relaxed body, his display of “ready aggression,” a poising (‘as if able and ready and willing to strike”) indicates a potential opponent, certainly indicates a READINESS to threaten or even harm, and should call immediate question to Obama’s state of mind.

Whether the state of mind is positive or negative, whether the aggression poses good or supportive strength or bad and threatening harms, I can’t say. All I can say is that his body languge displays ready aggression and anyone reading body language appropriately would take note of that and then take into consideration the context of that threat, accordingly.

Tanya Ryan didn’t even mention this in her appearance today on O’Reilly.

Very soon after O’Reily began questioning Obama, moments into the interview, Obama began reaching out with both his arms and moving his head in sideways-motions, speaking to O’Reilly from both direct eye-contact forward AND also from head-tilted eye contact (side-tilt of his head, not up or down).

Obama’s arm movements increasingly extended to become extreme gestures — Obama waved both his arms outward between he and O’Reilly seated opposite him and as moments continued to pass, Obama began waving his hands at the end of his arms in a slapping motion or gesture. This indicates a rise in his emotional nature (obviously) but his hand-slapping motions, combined with his rigid, forward-leaning body and extended, in-motion arms is cause for anyone’s concern.

As I’ve said before, it could be concern as to “good” or “bad” intentions or expressions, but concern nonetheless. The point is, Obama’s body language was abnormal and aggressive and needs to be considered for what it was/is and not misrepresented as subjectively beneficial or benevolent by default, as Tanya Ryan has today subjectively described that — which I’ll next discuss.

(2.) Tanya Ryan’s “body language expert” opinions from today’s Bill O’Reilly broadcast about Obama’s body language on that first-parter interview:

and,

(3.) Ryan’s remarks about Sarah Palin’s body language from Palin’s GOP Convention speech):

Tanya Ryan began her remarks on today’s O’Reily broadcast with responding to O’Reilly’s question put to her about what her “expert opinion” was as to Sarah Palin’s body language in context of Palin’s GOP Convention speech.

Cut-to Ryan, who herself was poised rigidly, unsmiling, her face stiff — all expressing displeasure, a critical or negative perspective.

Ryan lapsed into this nonsense about Palin:

“…Smugness comes across very strong, it’s a sign of arrogance onher part…i do see arrogance, strong indications of arrogance, I do see disgust in her…”

To his credit, Bill O’Reilly immediately put Palin’s captured, observed moments of body language display into context: her remarks were in and about the area of media bias and thus, were appropriately “disgust(ed)” and perhaps the “arrogance” (Tanya Ryan’s subjective, critical term about Palin) comes from a place of self-confidence by Palin as to her observations about the media bias currently besetting our nation (and world in general) by an increasingly, subjective, unprofessional media.

However, Tanya Ryan’s own body language — unsmiling, stiff, tense tone of voice — combined with her choice of words (repeating “(I…see arrogance…arrogance…disgust in her”) when the issue was the consideration of Sarah Palin, revealed that Ryan not only lacked objectivity but was in that lack of objectivity, also exposing her own, individual critical emotions about Palin or, perhaps, about a FEMALE who was also Sarah Palin (can’t say what, specifically, prompted Ryan’s negativity but it was palpable and decidedly a display of non-expertise).

But the context WAS Sarah Palin and compared with how Tanya Ryan’s own body language immediately changed when the issue of question was moved by O’Reilly to that of Barack Obama, I conclude that Tanya Ryan was revealing her own, again, subjective opinions from her own psychology and outside any range of “expertise” accordingly.

Thus, when O’Reilly made this change in Q&A put forth to Tanya Ryan, from that of being about Sarah Palin’s body language to that of the body language of Barack Obama, Tanya Ryan literally and immediately visually blossomed:

her body did a subtle movement (or, “shake” — a very subtle but otherwise demonstrative physical response to the name of “Barack Obama” and whatever memory Ryan maintained about this Obama appearance on that interview first-parter — I describe this as “demonstrative physical response” because the shake or quick movement of the upper torso by Ryan would otherwise not be present in this context nor need to be to state any opinion; because it was present, it was “demonstrative“).

Ryan’s face burst forth in a very large smile (larger than appropriate, abnormal accordingly, abnormal in the sense that any smile would reveal pleasure and/or affiliation of some sort with the subject, but in Ryan’s case, the smile was huge: her mouth parted, a full-teeth smile resulted, her entire face relaxed out of it’s rigidity), and combined with her torso-movement/s, she literally readjusted herself and began to speak this ongoing nonsense:

“This I love…look how closely he gets into you, it indicates he’s trying to bring you to his side. he’s not doing this in an aggressive manner..he uses his left hand…that’s where the passion comes in.”

So the “body language expert” goes emotionally melting at the very memory of Barack Obama’s weird, aggressive, abnormal body language. This — obviously — excites Ryan to some point of abject lack of objectivity and renders her as nutty as any fainting Obama audience member who needs even more water to embrace the fever.

Whatever regard I ever held for Tanya Ryan as any “expert” has now been utterly eradicated by this emotional, subjective display by Ryan from today’s O’Reilly appearance.

Ryan absurdly alleges that Obama’s “leaning” reveals an effort at “closeness” in an enthusiastic context. It DOES indicate “closeness” but it is an aggressive closure, like a sports move toward an opponent or a leer toward an opponent otherwise, an aggressive attempt at “closeness” not at all an indication of friendliness or desire to meetup in any suppliant or supportive sense, but, rather, to overtake or harm.

And Obama’s slapping-hands motions from fully-extended arms gesturing repeatedly toward O’Reilly (and in increasingly closer movements) does NOT indicate any attempt to “meet up with” or “become close” in any mutually benefical sense, but indicates, to the contrary, an attempt to “slap down” or “slap away” O’Reilly or O’Reilly’s questions, or, both.

Obama used the basketball body language of the court on O’Reilly, literally posing a defense to O’Reilly’s perceived offense, Obama attempted to “advance down the court” or otherwise, “invade” O’Reilly’s personal space or questions, or, both.

In other words, Obama’s body language was “offensive” to behold and indicated defensiveness acting-out in aggression on the part of Obama toward O’Reilly.

Obama might very well have been expressing an intent to “bring closeness” between himself and O’Reilly, but the nature of that closeness is the issue here. And Tanya Ryan misrepresented just what Obama’s body language expressed. Ryan’s enthusiastic, blossoming, perfumed-laden, so to speak, “flowery” language lapsed into when the issue became “Obama” reveals utter lack of objectivity by Ryan. That she “loved” “this” — terms Ryan bursts her remarks forth with in introduction — is proof enough that the rest she gushes about Obama is absurdly incompetent in interpretation.

I was impressed that O’Reilly remained mostly stoic in his own body language throughout the “first parter” interview with Obama in light of Obama’s aggessive body language. However, O’Reilly on his website refers to Obama as follows:

“Obama’s a tough guy… I looked at him eye to eye. He’s not a wimp.”

However, the few closeups on Obama’s eyes as focused on O’Reilly during this “first parter” were frightening. I saw nothing kind, friendly or appealing in his visual expression as filmed but did, rather, view an abnormal threat level being expressed. Obama’s glaring at O’Reilly was most certainly not an effort at mutuality but expressed an unsettling source.

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Photo capture (not from the O’Reilly interview from 09/04/08) from previous Obama campaign appearance in 2008 – used here for illustration purposes only.

Combine that visual aggression with the overall other aggressive body language and this — Obama as interviewee — is an individual I’d conclude was troubled and unreliable in presence; for whatever reasons, I can’t speculate on mere physical appearance alone, but taking Obama’s overall statements also into context, it is reaonable to conclude that OVERALL this is not a trustworthy individual and I’d most decidedly NOT “love” “this” but would, rather, be reaonable to step back and intentionally withhold trust or reasonable expectation of trust from or of this individual (Obama) (someone to either be avoided or further researched impartially, outside any context of his influence, before any further conclusions could reasonably be made about him).

O’Reilly introduced a moment of humor after that steely-eyed-glare from Obama while his arms began to move outward and his head made a few initial twists, and that attempt at humor was smart by O’Reilly because it moves the context into more casual, and, therefore, comfortable, terms. It’s the indication of a good and responsible interviewer, concerned with a guest’s comforts.

But, Ryan’s biased and badly emotionally affected opinions as expressed today on O’Reilly’s broadcast render her moot as “expert.” More likely, she’s just another Obama supporter: irrationally affected by all the wrong contexts, led willingly astray by surrendering to some sort of pleasure syndrome or other falling.

Square-Black Related:

To counter Palin, Obama to dispatch female surrogates

Senator Barack Obama will increasingly lean on prominent Democratic women to undercut Governor Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain, dispatching Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to Florida on Monday and creating a rapid-response team to deploy female surrogates to battleground states, Obama advisers said on Thursday…(continued).

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Photo capture (not from the O’Reilly interview from 09/04/08) from previous Obama campaign appearance in 2008 – used here for illustration purposes only.

O N E C O M M E N T

  1. Pam Johnson says:

    I just happened upon this article while googling for something else…but found it very interesting. I saw that same O’Reilly program that you reference and found myself talking (with voice raised at times) to Tanya Ryan when she kept saying ‘arrogance’, ‘disgusted’, etc as well as totally missing Obama leaning forward, etc….for all the same reasons cited in this article. At the end when she broke into that giddy grin when speaking of Obama, I completely wrote her off. I have disagreed with parts of her analyses at times in the past, but after seeing her complete lack of objectivity on this particular program, from that moment on, I will consider her ‘entertainment’…not “expert” analysis.