Such hairsplitting and deceit are loathsome when politicians do it, but the regularity with which they try to mislead the public has made it expected conduct for them.
As senior executives bear a legally mandated, fiduciary responsibility to investors, their blatant deception appears even more detestable.
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In an immediate and specific fashion, the Merck announcement revealed a level of deceit on the part of Merck management that has become all too common in pharma during recent years.
Someone at the press conference asked CEO Ken Frazier if the current cuts to R&D spending and staff mean he is abandoning his 2011 position where he said Merck will pursue a different strategy than Pfizer and other Big Pharmas that decided at the time to cut their research budgets (see here).
This week Merck finally confirmed a persistent rumor when it announced an additional 8,500 layoffs spanning marketing, R&D and administration.
The action has spurred a wave of jitters across Big Pharma and a small segment of the financial community.
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Call it indiscriminate or deliberate, it still amounts to sacrificing long-term growth and sustainability in favor of short-term earnings and stock price.