Posts Tagged ‘non-apology’

Murdoch apologizes—really!—for News of the World’s phone hacking and police bribery

July 18, 2011

Ethics Bob is always on the lookout for fake apologies, so when CNN reported that News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch had made a non-apology my senses sharpened: who better to nail than Murdoch, the genius behind Fox News’s right-wing propaganda machine. I wanted to disbelieve Murdoch’s acceptance of any responsibility.

Here’s the ad he ran in British papers last weekend:

The News of the World was in the business of holding others to account.

It failed when it came to itself.

We are sorry for the serious wrongdoing that occurred.

We are deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by the individuals affected.

We regret not acting faster to sort things out.

I realise that simply apologising is not enough.

Our business was founded on the idea that a free and open press should be a positive force in society. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to resolve these issues and make amends for the damage they have caused, you will hear more from us.

(signed) Rupert Murdoch.

One could quibble  with Murdoch’s use of “wrongdoing that occurred” rather then “wrong that we did,”  or “hurt suffered” rather than “hurt we caused,” but that’s only a small quibble. It looks to me, and I think will look to most people, that Murdoch is accepting responsibility. And by not putting the corporate name under his signature he’s signifying that the responsibility is personal. Hooray (gulp) for him.

LeBron James makes a phantom apology for breaking hearts in Cleveland

May 16, 2011

Basketball superstar LeBron James broke new ground last week with an original kind of non-apology. Let’s call it a phantom apology, apologizing for a non-offense instead of for the real offense.

James left the Cleveland Cavaliers after last season to join two other superstars on the Miami Heat. No problem with that: he was a free agent. But he did it in a particularly ugly way that was gratuitously hurtful to his fans in Cleveland. The hurt damaged his image with fans everywhere.

Last Wednesday James led his new team to a victory in the quarter-final series of the playoffs over the Boston Celtics, the team that had knocked out his old team (the Cavaliers) last year. In the flush of victory he tried to repair his image. But a real apology would have admitted he did wrong. So James came up with the phantom apology.

Instead of apologizing for the ugly hurt he had caused, he semi-apologized for jumping to Miami—an act that was entirely honorable and ethical. Semi-, because he went on to explain that his move was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to get past the Celtics and compete for the championship, His entire statement is here.

So James gets credit for apologizing without accepting blame for what he did.

But no credit from EthicsBob: that’s not a real apology.

A real apology is (more…)

More shame for USC: After spreading careless accusations of cheating, a non-apology from Mike Garrett

July 12, 2010

When you’ve done something wrong and you want to apologize, say. “I’m sorry.” Even better, say what you’re sorry for. This doesn’t apply to the University of Southern California.

After USC was hit last month with sanctions from the NCAA for serious rule violations involving football star Reggie Bush and basketball star O. J. Mayo, the athletic department feared that players already committed to the Trojans (or already enrolled) would switch to other schools. Not just fears: according to ESPN, USC accused five other schools–Oregon, Washington, Florida, Alabama, and Fresno State—of cheating by contacting top Trojan recruit Dillon Baxter without the Trojans’ permission.

Mike Garrett, Trojan athletic director confirmed the ESPN report when he sent letters of “apology” to the five schools. After accusing the five schools of cheating Garrett belatedly asked Baxter, who said he’d not been contacted by any of the schools.

Garrett didn’t apologize for his careless accusation of cheating, or perhaps for damaging their reputations, nor for anything he had done. No responsibility for Mike Garrett, nosirree:

“I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution,” Garrett wrote.

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