Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
47° F Dallas, TX

I’M GLAD I ASKED THAT, BOB

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When Dallas Cowboys owner JERRY JONES recently was accused of cronyism in his gas business, he quickly resorted to one of the fastest-selling rhetorical devices on the market today: the Self-Answering Question.

“Do I have any problem with having personal relationships with the people I do business with?” Jones asked himself in The Dallas Morning News. “No,” he answered.

It’s nice to see the SAQ, already a favored strategem in politics, make its way into the business world. The beauty of the SAQ, of course, lies in the illusion of openness and debate that it fosters. No more can the press whine that Senator Zybit “refused to answer all questions.” Not when Zybit is dishing up a carefully controlled SAQ. Those who only catch the sound bite or read the boxed quote may even think the SAQer is answering a real question, not rolling his own.

The Self-Answering Question also allows hounded parties to tiptoe down the line between “fessing up and stonewalling. “Looking back, is it possible to say that my fact-finding trip to Las Vegas with Ms. Havershaw could be seen as poor judgment? Yes.”

So next time your boss screams for that long-overdue report, ask yourself this: “Would it be possible for some uncaring drone to rush this project through heedless of quality? Certainly. But do I take pride in getting it done right regardless of deadlines? You better believe it.”