History of the Non-Apology

Did you know that every 37 seconds someone in America non-apologizes? As former CIA director George Tenet concludes his non-mea culpa media tour, we take a look at this insidious American epidemic.


APRIL 19, 2007

Transgression(s): Let us count the ways: walked heavily guarded through a "safe" Baghdad market, used the phrase "tar baby," and started singing "Bomb Iran" to the tune of The Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann."

Strategy: Scoff. Grow impatient. Suggest that critics are ruthless, anti-Zionist liberals.

Non-apology (for the third incident): "My response is, 'Lighten up and get a life.'"


SEPTEMBER 26, 2006

Transgression: Flipped off and spat at photographers while leaving a club.

Strategy: Cast herself as a tragic Princess Di figure.

Non-apology: "I meant no offense to my fans, whose relationship I truly value . . . My behavior was a reaction to the persistent attack from the paparazzi."

APRIL 15, 2007

Transgression: Fired eight U.S. attorneys for their politics, then was unable to recall a damn thing about . . . um, what were we talking about again?

Strategy: The political witch-hunter cries political witch hunt.

Non-apology: "I apologize . . . for my role in allowing this matter to spin into an undignified Washington spectacle."


NOVEMBER 17, 2006

Transgression: Commissioned If I Did It by fellow non-apologist O.J. Simpson.

Strategy: Claim to have been a battered woman and to be publishing the book in solidarity with Nicole Brown Simpson.

Non-apology: "I wanted him, and the men who broke my heart and your hearts, to tell the truth, to confess their sins, to do penance, and to amend their lives. Amen."

SEPTEMBER 12, 2006

Transgression: Quoted a historical text that called some of Muhammad's teachings "evil and inhuman" during a speech.

Strategy: Deflect- infallible means never having to say you're sorry.

Non-apology: "[The Pope] sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address . . . should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions."


Richard Nixon on Watergate: "I regret deeply any injuries that may have been done in the course of events . . ."

Janet Jackson on Nipple-gate: "It was not my intention that it go as far as it did. I apologize to anyone offended."

Bill Clinton on Monica-gate: "Now it is time- in fact, it is past time- to move on."

Al Sharpton on Tawana Brawley . . . er, gate: "Apologize for what? For believing a young lady?"

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