Did President Trump tell then-FBI Director James Comey that he hoped Comey could see his channel clear to allow Michael Flynn lead? Absolutely, mentions Comey. No I didn’t, Trump supposes( not that there’d be nothing illegal about that ). Now granted, in this particular he-said-he-said conflict, I’m pretty sure whose remember is more trustworthy. But it does raise a point that may be more problematic as the Russia/ obstruction of justice questions continue.
We’ve known for years that the memory of witnesses–about what the hell is understood, about what was said–can be highly unreliable. As University of California at Irvine psychology professor Elizabeth Loftus has noted, “Just because someone says something confidently doesn &# x27; t mean it &# x27; s true.” Certainly, experimentations by Loftus and others have demonstrated that a people will retain full confidence in their own reminiscences even when confronted by clear evidence to the contrary. Just a few days ago, I suffered firsthand just how true that notion is.
At a recent congregate, a acquaintance and I urgently tried to avoid the oh-my-God-did-you-see-what-he-did-now discussion by talking about memorable baseball times. Bill, who is one of the sharpest, most perceptive minds I know, vividly remembered Game Six of the 1986 World Series, when the Boston Red Sox, one out away from the championship, let the game steal for the purposes of the gauntlet of Bill Buckner.
Bill and a prominent political figure who lived in Boston watched the game at Fenway Park, he echoed, and then has now come to New York where the Mets acquired Game Seven and the Series.
” Wait a time ,” I answered.” Game Six wasn’t played at Fenway; it was played at Shea Stadium in New York .”
“No,” Bill responded. We were at Fenway; I’m absolutely sure .”
What followed was a striking example of Professor Loftus’ finds. Every segment of testify I offered was scorned. In baseball’s World Series, I spoke, Games Six and Seven are always played in the same venue–it’s not like basketball’s 2-2-1-1-1 format. No, he was adamant.
Don’t you remember, I said, that when the projectile ran into right field, and Ray Knight scored, that was the end of the game? If it had been at Fenway, the Sox would have had a chance to win the bottom of the inning. No; Bill knew, utterly knew, he watched at Fenway.
Here’s the press account, I suggested, scrolling through the web on my phone. And by the way, I added, I will gambling any sum you have selected, up to my entire life savings.
Only when Bill experienced the video–the Converges surrounding Knight at home plate, in their home pinstriped uniforms–did he yield. And then we figured out what had place so strong and wrong a reminiscence into his brain. Rain had postponed Game Seven, so Bill and his companion had gone back to Boston, and then indeed had come back to New York to witness the final humiliation of the Red Sox.
Now as I replied, Bill is the furthest thing from a cognitively objection subconsciou. He can tell you the performance of an 30 -year-old congressional primary down to the decimal point. But in such a case, the( accurate) recollection of a journey from Boston to New York had fueled a different “memory” of one of baseball’s most memorable races. There was just enough corroborating data to fuel that non-memory.
It’s one thing when this kind of “short-circuit” establishes a misleading recall about a baseball game. It’s quite other when eyewitness affidavit puts an innocent defendant in prison for years, or even on Death Row, as happens with depressing regularity. And it’s a whole different tier of concern when the fate of a presidency and the country may be at post.
If Special Counsel Bob Mueller gets to interview the Director of National Intelligence, or the former Deputy managing director of the NSA, their recollections of the talks with President Trump could well determine whether Mueller believes there’s a credible subject to be made about obstruction of justice. The statements, the body language, the flavor are all critical part of policy decisions.( God knows we’ve already seen how this President’s absolute certainty about phenomena often has a distinctly casual are relevant to world ).
And that’s why, in the coming weeks and months, I’m going to keep this story about a 31 -year-old baseball game in brain. The accuracy of a remembrance does not will vary depending on the intelligence of the witness, much less his or her political tendency. There’s reason to insist on as definitive a validation as possible.
Oh, one more thing: until I checked, I had “clearly” remembered that the prevailing run in that game was tallied by Mookie Wilson. Nope; he was the batter whose roller down the first base way noted its course under Buckner’s glove. And unfortunately for poor Buckner, that’s one memory none of us is to be able to confuse.