Terrible Apologies

A Tumblr of Poorly-Crafted Apologies
Posts tagged "Limbaugh"
So I will bigly, hugely admit that I was wrong, and I will apologize to Michael J. Fox, if I am wrong in characterizing his behavior on this commercial as an act.

Classic Limbaugh, from 2006, as reported by the Washington Post:

To Rush Limbaugh on Monday, Michael J. Fox looked like a faker. The actor, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, has done a series of political ads supporting candidates who favor stem cell research, including Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, who is running against Republican Michael Steele for the Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes.

"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act… . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting."

As John Gruber points out, Limbaugh clearly didn’t mean to apologize, as he did an almost-immediate about-face: “I stand by what I said. I take back none of what I said. I wouldn’t rephrase it any differently. It is what I believe; it is what I think. It is what I have found to be true.”

More at the Washington Post and at ThinkProgress.

HT: Michael Tofias.

Both the Terrible Apologies blog and Ari Kohen — one of the blog’s founders — make an appearance in the Christian Science Monitor’s piece on public apology:

Public apologies are so common these days that multiple websites have sprung up just to keep track of who is asking forgiveness of whom. Effectiveapologies.com, for instance, has a running “apology of the week,” and the just-launched terribleapologies.tumblr.com ranks the worst of them.

Here’s what Kohen has to say on the topic in the piece:

The 24/7 media culture is partly responsible for the explosion of apologies, says Ari Kohen, an associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

A hyper-connected online culture means more and more opportunities to say or do something offensive, he notes. This also means that “more and more people are watching, listening, and most importantly ‘sharing’ the offensive thing that someone has said or done,” he says via e-mail, adding, “so we’re seeing the offensive statement or action more than perhaps we would have, which yields more calls for apology, which in turn yields more and more terrible apologies.”

Professor Kohen and a student launched the terribleapologies blog two days ago in response to Rivera’s apology quagmire, with the intent of studying just how bad an apology can be, he says.

“It’s tempting to think that these bad apologies don’t matter for the people who make them,” he says, citing both Rivera and conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh, who issued what many dubbed a non-apology after calling a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute.” 

“That must be what Rush Limbaugh and Geraldo Rivera are hoping – but I think that the public won’t be so fast to forget. Indeed, with social networking, my sense is that a bad public apology can hang around for a really long time and can have fairly serious adverse effects (like the campaign targeting Limbaugh’s sponsors, for example). Indeed, there’s more interest in bad apologies right now than I might have thought,” he says.

Read the whole piece, which also features very interesting comments on apology and forgiveness from Aaron Lazare — whose excellent book, On Apology, Kohen teaches in his class on public apology and reconciliation — and from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

More commentary here, from March 3, 2012.