Plausible Denial aka The Cancer Of Leadership

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mark St.Cyr,

No matter the headline, no matter the scandal, no matter how few or how many might be involved, one thing will become crystal clear: nobody that should have known – will have known.

There was a time when this art form of creating circumstances as to protect people of influence had its place and was used sparingly and tactfully. However, as of today both the frequency along with how and where it is used has gone from “useful ruse” to a downright childish alibi. No one seems to be accountable today. And I mean nobody!

The phrase plausible denial used to be a generic term with meaning given almost exclusively to the president for matters of state where an offer or position in a cabinet (or other such actions) if turned down by the recipient wouldn’t (or couldn’t) be used by the press as some bludgeoning tool where headlines might read: “Mr. or Mrs. Hornblower tells president to take the offer and stuff it.” This same inspired headline could be (or would be) used when difficult negotiations were taking place between foreign leaders. No one begrudged such use.

The plausible denial ruse is and continues to be an important tool. There is a time and a place for such a thing and sometimes it is the most prudent depending on circumstances. Yet, what we are currently witnessing is a far cry from what we’ve known before. Now everyone is using it. So much so it might be time to ask if this once tried and true tactic has “jumped the shark?”

Currently there seems to be numerous scandals (whether one agrees or disagrees) involving the political class. No matter the press conference, hearing rooms, and more, one thing has become apparent: No one knows anything, and no one was aware such problems existed. Even if they were directly responsible for the organization.

Anything and everything that may have transpired dubious in nature happened without their knowledge even though many of these same people were hired exclusively to fix said problems. Absolutely amazing.

This phenom is not something exclusive to the political class. No, no, far from it. This also permeates through our corporate culture where CEO’s and more seemingly have no clue that potentially illegal or at the least improper actions are taking place within their own corporate structure.

We watch, hear, or read CEO’s of banks take to the media to express outrage when it’s pointed out that their highly profitable (for some most) department or subsidiary is found to have been “cooking the books” or engaging in highly immoral or in complete disregard of fiduciary responsibilities.

Suddenly they are shocked. Shocked! That such could be taking place under their tutelage. A commanding statement is formulated that heads will roll. Yet, the only thing that seems to roll is what we all know rolls down hill. It never seems to be their fault even though that profit entry on the balance sheet was probably heralded on every conference call as to show why they deserve the millions upon millions of dollars in compensation.

I find it ironic how so many so-called “brilliant” CEO’s had no knowledge how these once “profit centers” were raking in that profit. Because now those very same “profits” are costing share holders Billions upon Billions of dollars for legal fines and penalties. Nobody at the C level cared to ask “How in the world are we able to be making this amount of money?”

Nope, they didn’t want to know it seems. And in days gone by that would be seen as a dereliction of duty by any C level executive worth their salt and worthy of dismissal. Today? It seems to be a badge of honor. i.e., They showed if a scandal breaks their fingers will be nowhere near it. That deserves a raise in compensation for if there’s one thing we want in out bankers is to show not only financial brilliance, but brilliance in skullduggery to boot!

Again this isn’t an isolated indecent to just a few sectors. It’s happening across nearly everything and everyone we come in contact with.

Companies farm out their production to countries where it is obvious to any business person that something is awry with how they can make a product so much cheaper than someone else. Forced labor, child labor, environmental disregards, illegal use of unsafe chemicals (just to name a few) are many times the underlying reasons why something can be produced so much cheaper. Yet, as long as they don’t ask – they didn’t know.

We’ll only know if someone gets sick, hurt, or worse – dies. Then we can go back to: “They didn’t know, but now since we do, they’ll change it.”

When something is known to cost $1.00 to produce even within competitive labor environments such as Asia. When someone states they can do it for not just less, but let’s say: a nickel. It has to set off bells all the way up the chain.

Those bells should be seen for what any business person worth their salt  instinctively recognizes them as: Alarm bells! Not bells signalling an all clear to raid the compensation pool.

Leadership is not something left to what many deem as the “elites” of society. No, leadership is something that starts with us and ends with all of  us. For one must remember the person at the top is only a person. And how that person conducts themself and takes ownership of their decisions and/or actions is no different from you or me. The only difference is the size of the stage.

Just imagine where we would be if the people responsible for giving and carrying out the orders to storm the beaches at Normandy played by the so-called accepted rules or premises shown by a great many today.

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Yen Cross's picture

 Monkey see? / Monkey do? /  jANET YELLEN do?

  Sgt. Schultz

Anusocracy's picture

Not knowing what is going on is a sure sign that they aren't needed.

strannick's picture

"I want it done, but dont want to know how you did it''

A.K.A you take the blame, Ill take the credit

NoDebt's picture

We're a long damned way from "The Buck Stops Here".

When something happens and nothing is done about it is the point it becomes not only a lie but an insult, a giant middle finger to everyone.  Which is basically where we are now.  If I saw even the slightest glimmer that we were going to push back on any of this, I'd hold out some hope.  There is no hope.  They want it this way and even more so.

TBT or not TBT's picture

"I take full responsibility" has replaced the buck stops here.

GetZeeGold's picture



CNN will not be forced to cover reality - Jeff Zucker

old naughty's picture

NR, that in itself, is denial.

tonyw's picture

what's that old saying about not knowing/believing when their salary depends on not knowing/believing?

Yen Cross's picture
  NoDebt where in the heck is nmewn?
ThroxxOfVron's picture

The Buck DID stop there, wherever there was at the time.

Since then the counterfeit FRN have been flying, which is in fact a much larger problem than whatever cause the Buck to stop where and when it did.

TeamDepends's picture

There is nothing plausible, believable, sound, valid, credible, nor likely about Barry, plus he has a shady (at best) resume.  But that did not stop the p'ogressives from voting for him twice.  Man, we are f#$%ed!!!!!!!!!!!






jeff montanye's picture

he is wretched and only the most recent in a long line.

nixon didn't know about watergate; g.h.w. bush didn't know about iran/contra (and depending when the alzheimer's kicked in, reagan didn't know about it either, but probably not for real); clinton didn't know he was getting head; g.w. bush didn't know airplanes could be used to crash into buildings or that saddam hussein was not involved in 9-11. 


Seasmoke's picture

I do not need anyone to be my leader. Thanks. 

stormsailor's picture

on the whole, preperation h is the most promising so far.

old naughty's picture


Dr didnt No,

and plausibly

Dr Didnt Care !

erg's picture

Prez: I only found out while watching cnn.

Now to Reg for my debriefing.

Stuck on Zero's picture

I like the part about about spending $60 billion or more a year on intelligence gathering.  When anything happens they "knew about it" beforehand but could not tell anyone for "fear of giving away their sources." 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

I'll bet this plausible deniability shit doesn't fly in Iran.

Yen Cross's picture

@ TheFourthStooge-ing  > I'll bet you a "corner stone" on the Senate.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

I'm so corner stoned right now, I have no idea what that even means...

Yen Cross's picture

 Thanks for taking the time to respond my friend.  When the so called " Pilgrims" arrived, they used "corner stones" as boundries.

litemine's picture

I took it as reference to Free Masons.                                                          

Although their ranks are filled by mainly by Dupes, their history is full of rabbit holes that hold control thru position, giving some a privledged existence. When a Judge lets a Criminal off, however it is done, the Judge should be Charged with abuses and never hold a public Position again. The Elite need to live by common Laws that everyone else does..............This is what screwed up the World.

stant's picture

When Rome fell they where taxing fruit trees. So most cut them down. To not pay the tax. As things got worse they just left

Anusocracy's picture

Now they're passing laws that favor fruits.

Everybodys All American's picture

Zero's mad as hell. Mad as he's ever been and he's going to get to the bottom of it. Of course he really can't coment on it because there's an ongoing investigation. Soon as he finds out who's responsible well then he'll really be pissed unless it's him.

Yen Cross's picture

  Zero doesn't have the" Mental" capacity to understand global politics! His handlers are even MOAR "inept"

Goldilocks's picture

McLibel - The documentary (Full) Review (1:22:13)

disabledvet's picture

the irony is that this is the country that sticks the camera in everyone's face.

"time for the media's close up now."
bunch a whackos and war losing pshycopaths...every god damn one of ya's.

"so lets try the worst moment in American history and start our celebrations from that point on."

the friggin Taliban. give me a break.

kellycriterion's picture

1. In the Middle Ages and earlier livelihoods, wealth, and power were predominantly derived from the land. All classes had vital common interests.

2. With the rise of the nation state model and imperialism the pooling of resources overcame scarcities and led to greater prosperity. Again common interests.

The scarcities the nation state model dealt with have, in theory, disappeared. Even severely dysfunctional nation could summon key resources if they weren't, well, so dysfunctional. Consider N. Korea has nuclear bombs and missiles. In a global economy geography has become far less important.

Then we come to OPM, the inversion of incentives, the visible hand so to speak. With size and power the incentives for input to exceed output increase. Take more, produce less.

Do smart people ever write article for the internet? Well besides that guy McKillop?

Yen Cross's picture

@ kellycriterion   Your input is noted.

Plagiarism? Not so much

TNTARG's picture

What amazes me is the denial of most americans about nine eleven. And the europeans, pals!

It seems so many people has lost sense of reality.

Yen Cross's picture

 The Germans and there "beloved: brown man! Look at the German gdp /PPI CPi numbers!

  Just open a casino like indians do! SARC   " They can die of alcoholism"



bunnyswanson's picture

Religious zealots are telling their congregations this is in the bible.  So they sit and wait.  And pray for forgiveness for past indiscretions.  Forgive me father, for I have sinned....Some are of the more earthly quality statements, such as good will prevail, earth will shake off the bad bad men and all will be well again.  but you cannot talk about the possibilities because negative energy could ruin everything, so they say.

Israel did 911

alfred b.'s picture


    No wonder he says every day is a new beginning, he can never remember what he's heard on any of the previous days!!!      So how can he be expected to be up to speed on anything, except maybe his last golf score.



ThroxxOfVron's picture

The derelicts running the US Gov't seem to know nothing about the activities of their cronies.  

They seem to know even less about what they themselves are doing.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the NSA isn't designed to snoop on terristas or even the citiznery per se but to inform various govenment actors as to just what the other govenment actors are up to.

Nobody knows shit or is responsible for knowing shit.  At least that is the story.

Not that I believe those lying corksmokers...

WB7's ZeroSchultz pretty much illustrates the point since those mics indicate a planned press event for diseminaton of disingenuine denials...

August's picture

A spokesman for Mr. Richard "Holbrooke" indicated that, even though he had served for years on the AIG Board of Directors, Mr. "Holbrooke" knew nothing whatsoever about the compensation packages received by AIG senior executives.

Okienomics's picture

Thank you, August, for helping make this point: the article is lazy writing. I like the premise and think it has legs. But an article decrying the vast overuse of plausible deniability should be accompanied by multiple examples, perhaps dozens of bullet points making it undeniably and painfully clear what is happening. Three stars for good premise with absolutely no research.

Karaio's picture

There are more beautiful than hunger. 

She is rocking the wicked in the end of the rope.