Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Conditional Apology …

… is not really an apology at all.

I think that’s what conditions are.

We’ve all heard them. Almost all of us have used them.

“I’m sorry if my calling you a d!@& hurt your feelings, but what I really meant by that was …”

Anybody who’s ever been married … or in any kind of relationship lasting beyond appetizers … has heard this dodge. If you work in public relations, you should strike it from your vocabulary.

Here’s why:

1. You actually meant what you said but were surprised that you got in trouble for saying it.

2. You worded awkwardly something you meant to say and it could be understood in more than one manner.

3. ... there really is no 3

Here’s my public relations advice. This one you get free. Next time the meter’s running.

If you meant to say it, you meant it (presumably) for a reason. Unless you’ve changed your mind, don’t apologize. Ever. [see Murtha, John] If you live in such a fragile world that your honest opinion can get you into trouble, perhaps you should just, y’know … shut up. Nobody will believe your mea culpa anyway. You empower your opponents and demoralize your allies.

Seriously, STFU.

If you really misspoke, that should be clear from the context.

Or the situation (more context). It should not require a lot of explanation. Just say you’re sorry. [this is very rare]

If, however, you said something really fu({1n9 stupid, and you really need to apologize, at least have the decency to do the 15 seconds of research to sound the least bit, y’know, sincere.

Like spelling the names right.

Which brings us to our featured guest, the junior senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Completely misunderstanding the reach of modern technology, the former Phillies hurler demonstrated for once and all that the muscles between his shoulder and wrist far outmatch those between his ears.

From NBC's Ken Strickland and Mark Murray
In a written statement today, Kentucky GOP Sen. Jim Bunning apologized for remarks he made about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in which he predicted that she would pass away in nine months.

"I apologize if my comments offended Justice Ginsberg," Bunning said. "That certainly was not my intent. It is great to see her back at the Supreme Court today and I hope she recovers quickly. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family."

Note: Bunning's office misspelled Ginsburg's last name.

No. Really. Not like that.

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