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All Apologies

Hereís the thing about apologies: they very often arenít what they appear to be. Too often, they are excuses cloaked in the word sorry. The qualifier here is the word - or the feeling of the word - but. Iím sorry. But. ..That word is usually followed by some form of He did it first. She asked for it. He had it coming. You misconstrued what I said. I prefer an apology that says, Iím sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me. Thereís nothing more thatís needed. If you want to go into a more lengthy story of why you are sorry, thereís nothing wrong with that. Just make sure itís clear from the beginning that you know you were wrong and thereís really no excuse for what you did. Let me bring up the tired story of Kos for a brief second here. His apology was the kind that reeks of blame and deflected fault. What often happens with something like that is the person who was attacked in the first place, or the person offended by the said comments, often ends up being the one asked to apologize. Kosís readers did that with great abandon. They wanted the right wingers to apologize for asking Kos to apologize. The original affront gets lost in a world of finger pointing and accusations. Yesterday, I was asked to apologize for linking to a story about a woman who wrote something incredibly inflammatory and irresponsible (coincidentally, about one of the same people Kos made his now infamous statement about). Like hell. Letís take this apart bit by bit, because I know her readers are coming here, I know that several people who made me out to be a monster are staring at this page waiting for the mea culpa to come up and I know that several people have written about the incident, some of them none to flattering towards me. First bit: When you write something on a public site that can be read by anyone with an internet connection, you open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities. It just stands to reason that people who do not agree with are going to come across your words. If someone links to your words and maybe takes you to task for the things you said, thatís just part and parcel of making your thoughts public. To denounce someone (and Iím not saying that Ms. Cramer denounced me for it; her ďfansĒ did) for linking to an blog post is profoundly stupid. The indignation I witnessed would have been amusing if it wasnít so frightening. How dare you link to something that is out there in the open! Can people really be so naive that they think this is a valid argument? Next bit. Check your facts before you demand an apology be issued. I linked the post in question yesterday morning. Another site had already linked it and wrote about it a full day before I did (unbeknownst to me). When people accused me of sending members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy over to Ms. Cramerís site to act like thugs and threaten her family, they failed to do their homework. Cramer had already written about being spammed and threatened before I even wrote about her. In fact, most of the threats came before my post was public. The best part is, Ms. Cramer herself sent me an email telling me such facts. I suppose all one had to do was look at time stamps or, hell, just ask Kathryn Cramer and they would have known the goon squad did not come from my site. Next. I wonder if any of the people involved actually read my post. Nowhere did I say that people should go harass Cramer. Nowhere did I say I hated the woman and she should die. I simply stated that she was treading dangerous ground by making her research about a dead person public before she had the absolute proof that the nasty accusations she was making about this man were true. Which, by the way, they werenít. Does this mean I shouldnít write about other bloggers who post things I disagree with? I mean, what if someone actually clicks on the link I provide and goes over to leave a comment asking that person to explain their words and actions? Imagine that happening on the internet? On blogs, no less? Crazy! Next bit. Itís all well and good for you to stand up for Ms. Cramer and denounce those people that are immature enough to threaten her family. But, as with the Kos case, you are missing a huge point. Ms. Cramer made the original inflammatory statements. I donít see how anyone in their right mind (maybe I should say left mind) could defend a woman who was clearly crossing legal and moral boundaries with her post. You get all righteous and demand an apology from me for writing about her, but not one of you even came close to saying that Cramer might have crossed the line. Yes, she did take the post down. She never apologized for what she did, though. And when she posted about the IPs that were spamming her and what actions she wanted to take, she kept deleting comments that didnít exactly agree with her original article. And hereís the ironic part. Thereís always an ironic part to these stories, isnít there? Cramerís fans threw nasty words at me in her comments, and several posted about the whole debacle without ever checking facts so that their posts come off as accusatory, not to mention downright ugly. And hey, they linked me! So the very people who were miffed that I linked an article I disagreed with wrote posts linking me, even though they disagreed with me. Oh, and here come their goon squads to knock me down! Please. You reap what you sow. In this case, Cramer sowed a lot of bad seeds. Back to apologies. I took my post about Cramer down. I said I was sorry that people might have come from my site to hers and threatened her (I only realized later this really wasnít the case). I publicly - and vehemently - derided those who would react to Ms. Cramer, or anyone with whom they disagreed, with violence. And what to I get? I get word that my apology wasnít enough. Just like the morons who decided that Black Fiveís apology wasnít good enough (I have to dig up the blog post to which I am referring here). Hereís a word to all of you who would defend people who donít know right from wrong, libel from slander, facts from fiction; an apology is defined as a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure. I regretfully acknowledged that some of my readers may have acted in ways that I despise. By taking down the post about Cramer, I was trying to stop the flow of people going from my site to hers. Yet, this was seen as a retreat by some, small minded by others. You canít win for losing with these people. No matter what you do, what you say or how you say it, it will always be construed to be bad. Thatís just sad. And sorry. Update: Kathryn Cramer has posted an apology for her actions. Others could learn from the apology she issued. Second Update: I think I must have closed the page before I read the whole thing. That is not so much an apology as a cop out. See comments below.

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You have nothing to apologize for. Katherine Cramer made her opinions public, advertised them as fact and can expect the same sort of responses that everyone with an audience for their opinions must expect. Columnists, commentators, actors, bloggers - anyone with a platform and a big enough audience will have supporters, detractors and lunatics.

I second that, Michele.

You didn't do a damn thing wrong. If there was any wrongdoing involved, it was on the part of Ms. Cramer and, in turn, on the part of the twits threatening to harm her family.

People need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions and assign blame only where blame lies.

Not that it surprises me that the LLL crowd have a problem with that concept. They seem to have trouble with anything involving the exercise of more than two synapses at the same time.

I read both your original post and her original post. You definitely have nothing to apologize for. You linked to her to disagree with what she did [and even she now admits she was wrong to go public with a very tenuous connection between two individuals (wow, they have same name), one now tragically dead], but you certainly never suggested or even implied that people should go and harass her, threaten her, threaten her children, etc. She did something stupid and possibly libelous. The bastards who threatened her and her children did something criminal. They have things to apologize for. Not you.

I know that I said I wasn't going to link to either piece, Michele, but I wouldn't have taken down the post once it was made, an I were you. [Which I'm not. ;)]

I don't think that it was a "retreat" or "small minded" by you: I see it as a courteous gesture. Only problem, it's a courteous gesture to people who slap courtesy back in your face, every damed time.

There is an appropriate response to the type of people you were dealing with there: it starts with an "F" and it ends with "You".

"You can?t win for losing with these people. No matter what you do, what you say or how you say it, it will always be construed to be bad." - Michele

That's the thing here, and you nailed it on the head precisely: it's no longer about debate, or ideas, "right"/"wrong", courtesy, or discourse, or even politics with these people [if it ever was]: it's about nothing but winning, no matter what they have to do in order to do it.

Hell with 'em.

I don't fault you gesture - but I wouldn't have made it. If that makes me a Bad Guy, so be it.

You apologies necessary. You bent over backwards when you felt you might have stirred up assholes (who can't read) who threatened her - that turned out not to be so, but it was more than fair of you.

All the while maintaining in a very reasonable tone that her position (highly inflammatory accusations without verification) was crossing the line.

She deserved every bit of reasonable criticism she received - she didn't deserve any of the nasty bullshit. In both cases however, she created it, not you.

dammit - I meant "no apologies necessary". When will I learn?

Blogging is just a giant circle jerk if you can't link to stuff you disagree with.

Like I said before, you did nothing wrong by linking to a public webpage.

It continually amazes me that people post vile and hateful things on a public forum, and then act all surprised when they get vile and hateful responses. Just like I don't know why you bother to have comments if you are going to delete all of the ones that don't support your position. But the thing that pisses me off the most is the way that people do stupid shit, and then immediatly try and claim victim status when they get busted for it. Cramer tried to equate a young man killed in Iraq with a racist figure. Making these kinds of inflammatory statements without proof positive puts you on a very slippery slope - and I think Ms. Cramer should be worrying less about suing other people, and worry a little more about getting sued herself. If that was my brother, for instance, I would do everything legally possible to make her life a living hell for putting me through that kind of anguish. Would I make death threats against her or her family - no way. Would I find the most aggressive lawyer I could to pursue a "pain and suffering" complaint - you betcha.

You took the high road here, and still got grief for it. Legally and morally you could've left your post up, but you didn't. I call bullshit on your detractors.

I lump the results of the whole mess into the same old whining about "crushing of dissent" category. Apparently way too many people, a lot of whom seem to be on the left, have yet to understand that inflammatory statements will not go unchallenged. Nor should they.

You have nothing to apologize for. She blogged. You blogged a critique. You didn't order anyone to attack her.... quite the opposite.

It looks to me, last I checked, like Cramer has a groveling apology posted for what she wrote.

Of course, you could always do a Richard Clarke apology and say how sorry you are that people who disagreed with you were, in your opinion, proven wrong.

What apology? She still had the However,... and then when you read the comments she backs down on the apology saying she still isn't sure they're not the same guy.

Am I the one confused?

No, Cooper, you're not confused.

That is the lamest apology I've ever seen issued.

I can understand her reasoning about private military options, but to keep posthmously libelling a man because she is simply too lazy to a. find out where these two men were born and b. to call the clerk of courts in the respective counties to find their birth certificates is beyond the pale. She's lazy. She has absolutely NO idea how to research something without relying upon that oh-so-correct-and-reliable search engine called Google. She should get a Pulitzer for her groundbreaking investigative journalism! {/sarcasm}

Simply because she has not found easy evidence that proves otherwise, she's sticking with her conclusions that indeed these are the same men and that's just wrong.

You're right. I don't think I read it all the way through.

I guess I'll add this one to the list of types of apologies you can make. We'll call this The "However" copout.

She most definitely pulled a Kos.
I love the logic: it was the spammers that made her do it. Sheesh.

I think we should rename it the Asshat copout.

However: the formal way of saying, "but, I didn't"...

But(t): we know it as an informal way of blaming someone else.

Blaming someone else for not doing your job: Asshat!

Who cares who's fault this is? It's clear that everyone involved is having a massive drama orgasm over it.

Spare me.

My bad, I saw the groveling opening but didn't read the whole thing.

You know what? To heck with boycotting ASV...in fact, I'm going to read you twice from now on.

Well said, Michele.

You're right about pretty much everything in this post, and I agree with you on most points of etiquette.

I just have one little thing to comment on that kind of jumped out at me:

and denounce those people that are immature enough to threaten her family

"Immature"?

That seems like a rather marked understatement. I mean, I know the vast majority of those kinds of threats are just a lot of smoke, but it's still a felony— and it's certainly nothing I'd like to find in my inbox.

Leaving aside here "apology", she at least retracted her post (which was UNBELIEVABLY ABSURD TO BEGIN WITH, AND COULD HAVE BEEN SOOOOOO EASILY FACT-CHECKED BEFORE SHE SPAT IT OUT! -- But let us forgive ...)

What is more disturbing is that a (mercifully small) number of blogs are repeating her original story, and are appearing to ignore her retraction. Even when it's pointed out to them.

Blogger "Drublood" told me that the story was never disproven (strange standards of evidence and proof are especially abundant lately) and that Cramer only retracted it because of threats.

Drublood is a fucking idiot. She would defend a murderer, as long as they murdered a conservative.

>>I prefer an apology that says, Iím sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.

Whats kinda funny is when Clarke did just that, you tore him a new ass. Just a thought.

Well Rawb, I suspect it was more for the "but Bush didn't do anything I told him to do and he's wrong, so wrong not to listen to me and now see what's happened and I told him I told him I told him Al Qaeda and Condoleeza didn't even know what I was talking about!" crap that followed his 'apology'.

Just a guess.

I see that Rawb is another one of those persons who think that the "I'm sure I'm sorry that you were offended for some reason" type of non-apology is a perfectly legit way to apologize.

As for Drublood -- you know, there is no proof that I'm aware of that she doesn't fuck goats.

[At risk of being accused of something that 'dances under bridges' (a troll) I've posted over at the K. Cramer site - as follows:]
[Momentary aside: Jeebus Andrea Harris - Ah! ER!GOATS??? By the way, did you know who killed Jeebus? The Jubes. Heh]
------------------- Back to the point:

Sorry Ms Cramer, your apology was 'not'. It's not that you just passed around rumors, not that you were mistaken, or even that you were careless, the main matter is that you were vicious. All kinds of people now know that. "Kos" just did the same thing in another matter. His "apology, BUT!. . ." just got him in even more trouble and his reputation in tatters. Not too long ago Ted Rall did similar (at least no weasel apology). In this case, yours too as faked apologies are 'out of bounds'. G

Posted by: G at April 7, 2004 12:08 AM [Could have been written more smoothly, I confess.]

Michele -

After reading Drublood's response to you, I feel I've witnessed a historic moment in blog evolution. According to her, everything goes now. Since blogs aren't real journalism, they might as well adopt the objective standards of The Weekly World News.

No more fisking. There's no point to it now. No more asking people to provide sources for their information - who the hell do we think we are, the freaking London Times?

Well, we've now had to lower the bar all the way to the ground, just so Kathryn Cramer can get her lazy, pasty white butt over it.

And YOU could learn from her apology as well, idiot. Your stupid little "apology" here is couched ONLY in terms of further attacking Ms. Cramer.

And which is it, flip flopper? You put up a shitty attack piece, then you take it down. You sic the yellow hounds on Ms. Cramer, then decry their actions.

Where do you buy toothbrushes for the two mouths you talk out of?

What a complete coward you are.

Hey FC - I tried to send you an email but apparently you were too much a fucking coward to leave a real email address.

Idiot.

Don't you just love people who anonymously throw around the label of "coward"?

Yeah, I have to say that anonymous e-mail thing is a pet peeve of mine.

Posting a comment without having the courage to sign your name to it is like leaving a bag of dog shit on someone's door, ringing the bell and watching from the hedges across the street.

It's just so incredibly WEAK.

How bold you are, FC! What a stand-up, MANLY man you must be.

Oh, it's really, really doubtful you tried to email anyone, Michele. Obviously, you didn't have the guts to respond to his or her or anyone else's points right here on your own weblog, so why would anyone think you'd have the balls to do it via email? The characterization of your actions as cowardice seems to fit pretty well, and it frankly looks like you've behaved much more the idiot than any of the scores here who you cannot debate.

You absolutely fail to take any responsibility for inciting harassment of Cramer (and you have absolutely no way of being sure that you didn't help contribute, especially now you see the kind of vermin hanging out here). Instead you whine about how you've been victimized. You use up 15 or 16 paragraphs on your shitty little weblog to gutlessly go after Cramer some more, trying to shamelessly excuse those who harassed her by your claim she said "inflammatory things" first. Is that supposed to help calm the storm you helped create? Hey, Michele. I don't know if you realize it or not, but this isn't the gulags. She can say anything she wants, anytime she wants, and there is nothing that excuses craven prigs screwing with her like they did. Thuggery and inciting thuggery was supposed to have gone out with the Third Reich, or hadn't you heard?

You self-righteously whine like a child that people don't think YOUR non-apology was enough, then you whine some more that people think some OTHER crackpot's apology also wasn't enough. Then what do you do? YOU "update us", and set the example and calm the waters you helped roil...how?

By whining even louder that YOU don't think Cramer's apology was enough.

Yep. Complain about what others do, then immediately turn around and do it yourself. Hypocrite. Do you even read your own "I'm such a victim" drivel from one paragraph to the next? I think Formerly Conservative had a pretty fucking good point above: when you talk to your friends, do they get confused about which one of your mouths to watch?

I suspect you've probably learned a valuable lesson here, Michele. I assume you're young and you don't really have clue one about how the real world works yet. Maybe you'll learn from this to take responsibility for your words, and not put up something shitty, realize you've made a mistake and helped incite cowardice, then think that hastily taking it back down will make it all better and go away like some kind of cute wittle bandaid. Maybe you'll learn that a heartfelt apology without further dumb ranting is the mark of someone who takes responsibility for their mistakes. Maybe you'll grow up.

But I kinda fucking doubt it, judging from the lying, partisan, divisive filth put out on the rest of this asinine site.

Don't make some of us have to come back into this cesspool and the chaos you helped create over at Cramer's site again. Don't pull this kind of complete shit again, or you can expect more calling you out for what you are, and for what you do.

You're welcome.

That's real odd, Bill. You didn't respond to any of the points raised either. Looks pretty much like you're as gutless as Michele. How weak.

Seems talking about valid email addresses is a pretty convenient way to duck the issues, Bill. You do that often? What a stand-up, manly MAN you must be.

Complaining about email addresses while ducking the substantive issues seems like putting a bag of flaming dog shit on someone's porch and running away because you're afraid of confronting them publicly.

But let us all know when you start checking the validity of all the other email adresses posted here, gutless. Or do you just selectively check the posters who don't agree with you?

Seems pretty ball-less.

That's real odd, Bill. You didn't respond to any of the points raised either. Looks pretty much like you're as gutless as Michele. How weak.

Seems talking about valid email addresses is a pretty convenient way to duck the issues, Bill. You do that often? What a stand-up, manly MAN you must be.

Complaining about email addresses while ducking the substantive issues seems like putting a bag of flaming dog shit on someone's porch and running away because you're afraid of confronting them publicly.

But let us all know when you start checking the validity of all the other email adresses posted here, gutless. Or do you just selectively check the posters who don't agree with you?

Seems pretty ball-less.

What a moron.

If you can't see why Cramer isn't responsible for her own actions, then you are hopeless.

You post something on a public website for everyone to see, you run the risk of people actually pointing to that post.

Show me where I incited people to go after her? Oh, do you mean that just by posting my opinion that her piece was very fucking irresponsible that I incited thuggery?

Hey, are you posting this same crap over at LGF or have you just taken aim at me? What about all the other sites that linked to Cramer? You over there bullying them as well?

There are no issues for me to address. I stand by everything I said.

"You sic the yellow hounds on Ms. Cramer"

Give me a specific example of how my post did that. Specific.

Then, go to every single weblog, including Ms.Cramer's, and say the same shit to them when they link to someoen they vehemently disagree with.

No, I am not young, Mr. Coward. I know how the real world works and I have a feeling you are not part of that world. You live in this fantasy world where someone who decides to muddy the name of a person without any definitive proof deserves an apology when someone calls them out on it.

And her apology was not heartfelt. She was sorry for herself. Not for any distress she may have caused the Teague family.

You, my friend, are a fucking idiot.

Still waiting for you to leave a real email. Coward.

Hey, you lefties just don't get it.

It's wrong to post anonymously here.

It's ok to harass Cramer anonymously.

Translation: looks like bill whittle and pals have the same two mouth problem as michele.

You reap what you sow. Ain't that what you said, michele?

Obviously, I don't think it's ok for people to harass Cramer, anonymously or not.

But you would actually have to both read and comprehend my words in order to understand that.

Either of you idiots going to address my issues?