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On A Personality Scale of 1 to Trump. What are you?

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By Victor Varnado

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I put people into one of 4 categories. I created these delineations after working for years at my job as a documentary filmmaker and a reality show producer. Part of my duties is to interview all kinds of people. I’ve pulled facts from men cheating on their wives and documented civil rights stories from adults who were once children marching for Martin Luther King Jr. while fire hoses and dogs were turned on them.

At the beginning of most interviews I conduct I tell my subject they do not have to answer any questions they might feel uncomfortable with. My job is to dig deep however, and the goal is to get the interviewee talking and comfortable so  they forget any apprehension and reveal their deepest feeling and talk about their most personal opinions.

When I do bump up against the limits of a subjects willingness to share information, things usually go down one of four ways.

The strongest and most honest people will simply refuse to answer a question that bothers them. There are ways around it. I can ask about the relationship between a woman and her mother and she might not answer, but by steering the conversation to the woman’s childhood and eventually asking about her home life once her trust has been gained, I can later uncover every detail of she and her mother’s life together.

The next group of people are present in all three remaining categories. People that lie. When I feel  an interview subject might be lying I press forward by asking them a question that gives them an easy out. I might ask “Why do you like horse paintings so much?”

“I’m not a fan of horse paintings.” My subject might reply.

Another part of my job is research. Especially if a subject  I am interviewing is an expert either academically, on an era, or a particular event  a good interviewer will make sure their facts are at the ready.

In a case like the one I described above, I might say “I did find several receipts showing that you purchased several horse paintings with your Visa.” Of course I have never had to say exactly that, but you get the point. More than once I’ve confronted people, in a polite way, with overwhelming evidence they were lying.

When caught lying and pushed, people within the last three categories will either either tell the truth which is a choice I respect. Sometimes the subject once busted will decline to respond to the question, which I also respect.

The third response I get from someone caught in a lie is the type of person, like Trump, who will look you in the face and double down.

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They will make fierce eye contact and tell you you must have gotten the number on the card wrong or their card was stolen. The point is they know you know they are lying and still they persist.

Psychology today says one of the reasons people lie when there are other avenues is they very much want their lie to be the truth. The fear and desire of their version of the truth to be real, completely overwhelms their interest in acknowledging reality.

You can see this “Ultimate Liar’s Mentality” in almost any Trump interview where he is challenged in any way. I admit  I am most likely not telling you anything new about Trump but what I believe is unusual is about one in ten people I have interviewed follow exactly the same path.

When I’ve been confronted with the obstinate liar’s response or seen it too often when our President opens his mouth it always gets me upset. My job is understanding how to pull the truth from people which becomes impossible when saddled with a subject who has long abandoned the truth for their cherry picked version of reality. 

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