Selective Apologies

The recent firing by NPR of Juan Williams (one of two of my favorite liberals) brought to mind, once again, something that I’ve seen over and over again in the media — public apologies.

Not from Mr. Williams.  His statement about Muslims on airplanes requires no apology – his opinion is shared, I’m sure, by many Americans in these post-9/11 days.  I’m talking about the public apology from NPR President Vivian Schiller.  The day after his firing, Ms. Schiller said Mr. Williams’ comments should’ve been “between him and his psychiatrist or his publicist” implying that his views were so out there that he must have mental problems.  Only after such comments received negative press did she issue a statement, “I spoke hastily and I apologize to Juan and others for my thoughtless remark.”

There was no problem with the firing of Mr. Williams because his remark about Muslims on airplanes was politically incorrect, was not in line with NPR’s left-wing bias and his frequent appearances on Fox News didn’t sit well with the powers that be.  I don’t believe the far left’s sugar daddy George Soros’ $1.8 million donation to NPR on the same day Mr. Williams was fired is just a coincidence.

To prove my point, remember in 1995 when Nina Totenberg said, if there was retributive justice, Jesse Helms or one of his grandchildren would get AIDS from a transfusion. That vile comment obviously didn’t bother NPR because Ms. Totenberg is still its legal affairs correspondent.

I’m convinced public apologies are made for a couple of reasons.  One, the person got caught doing something he or she shouldn’t, or two, the negative press was just too overwhelming and someone had to backtrack.  If no apology is given, it’s because the statement, no matter, how reprehensible, is the politically correct way of thinking.

This past summer, a producer for an NPR-affiliated radio station said in an email she would “laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” if she were to see Rush Limbaugh suffering a heart attack.  Only because of the fallout over the exposed emails did Sarah Spitz issue a statement she “made poorly considered remarks about Rush Limbaugh to, what I believed was, a private email discussion group from my personal email account.”

In the spring, a memo from the Bergen County Education Association, a teacher’s union in New Jersey, surfaced which said, “Dear Lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays.  I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor.”  Association president, Joe Coppola, said the “prayer” was a joke and was never meant to be made public. Christie didn’t see any humor in the memo.

Who can forget Julianne Malveaux’s statements about Justice Clarence Thomas, “I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease.”  No apology necessary because he’s a conservative.

Bill Maher, never one to hide his disdain for Christianity, regularly rants against religion and says things like Christians are “part of a dress-up cult that hates sex and worships magic.” He preaches to the choir so he’s not going to get any huge public outcry over his remarks.

Rosie O’Donnell said on The View that “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.” And after saying 9/11 was an inside job, she’s still getting her own talk show on Oprah’s new OWN network.  Why O’Donnell continues to have job offers is beyond me.

Jesse Jackson, thinking he was speaking with a (like-minded?) Washington Post reporter when he referred to Jews as “hymies,” issued the following apology, “It was not done in the spirit of meanness. However innocent and unintended, it was wrong.”   When he made the comment, “I wanna cut his n^*s off,” unwittingly into an open microphone about then Presidential candidate Obama, he had no choice but to apologize for his crude comment.

And then, of course, there are the politicians who issue soul-searching apologies – after they’re caught – like Bill Clinton, South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford, former New York Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer (who now has his own talk show, by the way), former Colorado Democratic Senator, Gary Hart, Louisiana Republican Senator David Vitter, and the list goes on and on and on.

One apology I and many others will not accept is from Jane Fonda when she said, “I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in an antiaircraft gun, which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes. It hurt so many soldiers. It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless.”  Nice try, Jane.

Of course, there are the celebrity apologies – Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Mel Gibson, Jesse James, Ted Haggard, Michael Vick, Mark McGwire, Michael Richards, and John Mayer.  Again, always after their deeds have been exposed in the media.

And, finally, last but not least, the winners for the all-time, most transparent, most insincere, most dishonest apologies – criminal defendants.  Has anyone ever seen a less contrite “I’m sorry” than one coming from the mouth of a criminal defendant right before sentencing?  I’ve yet to see a defendant who wasn’t reading from a little piece of paper, no doubt written by his defense attorney, how very sorry he is to the family of his victim(s) and that if he could, he would surely trade places with them.  Yeah, right.  When was the last time you heard of someone walking into a police station saying, “I’m sorry, I just robbed/raped/murdered my neighbor”?

Perhaps it’s just human nature.  Still, a lot of it, I don’t get but, if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Chief

    It has been 3 days since the election and the political apologies are amusing. Mr.O is the number one guy in my view that just doesn’t get it. His interviews on the friendly networks and other venues was typical of someone that professes that he is “taking responsibility” and immediately says that the American people didn’t understand what he and the Democrats accomplished because their legislation was passed in response to an emergency!
    Mr. Pres., We understood just fine. Oh, thanks for the transparency.

  • Neil1981

    Agreed, Juan is actually a likeable liberal.
    His views are not so far to the left and actually sees things fairly objectively.
    NPR was just waiting for an incident like this to happen. Schiller was never a fan of Williams relationship with Fox News and simply used this as a “final straw” for NPR to fire him.
    Every cloud has a silver lining though as Williams has now signed a nice deal with Fox.
    Spitzer has his own TV show and now Rob Bogoyevitch his own TV commercial (an ad about nuts no less).

  • Roger Ward

    Boy, Leona, you know how to do your research!! Although I try to keep up with the news, there were several mentioned comments/apologies that had escaped me.

    Of course, you’re right: apologies offered are rarely heartfelt and usually in response to public pressure, so I don’t take them seriously. It’s nice that public opinion has the power to (sometimes) cause an apology … but the offenders are almost never truly contrite. Maybe we should pass a law that all apologies must begin: “I’m sorry … that I got caught” … (and blah, blah, blah.)

    My favorite apologies begin with “If my remarks or statements have offended anyone, then I’m sorry.) Of course, your comments were offensive. What do you mean “if”?

    Good article.

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