When Is an Apology Not an Apology?

When it’s not an apology, that’s when.

Here’s Howard Dean “apologizing” over the tweet in which he wondered if Donald Trump was using cocaine:

“I apologize for using innuendo. I don’t think it’s a good thing to do, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do…This entire campaign has been debased by innuendo. Where was the mainstream media calling out innuendo 15 months ago when Donald Trump started running for president of the United States? That’s what I want to know. Do your job.”

Seriously, Howard Dean apologizes like all liberals…without a single bit of regret and with no actual apology proffered to his intended target. Note: Saying “I apologize,” is not, in fact apologizing.

The way The Hill chose to caption the photo accompanying the article doesn’t help.

“Howard Dean apologized Friday for insinuating that Donald Trump used cocaine, arguing his remarks were meant to highlight a critique of media coverage of the businessman’s presidential bid.”

Note to The Hill: Dean didn’t apologize for insinuating that Trump used cocaine.

Howard Dean didn’t apologize for the content of the Tweet. He didn’t use innuendo. He didn’t even, as The Hill’s caption implies, insinuate that Trump used drugs or apologize for doing so.

To call Dean’s statement an apology in any sense of the word is an insult to everyone who’s ever made a heartfelt apology to anyone over anything. An apology carries with it a sincere sense of regret. Does anyone think Dean was regretful over his use of “innuendo,” much less over the original tweet? Of course he wasn’t. He said exactly what he thought he needed to say to try to get the result he wanted.

The whole rambling statement is a farce, intended to deflect any further criticism of his tweet. (Rambling enough that it left me wondering about Dean’s possible drug use.) The next time it’s mentioned, he can say, “I apologized for that” and move on.


Here’s my point.

I don’t really care if Howard Dean insults Donald Trump, or publicly wonders whether or not he’s using cocaine. I do care that news outlets continue to call statements like Dean’s apologies.

Here’s my point. Words have actual meanings. To continually use words in ways that are at odds with those meanings degrades the language. Let this go on long enough and it will become impossible to communicate complex ideas. English is such a beautiful language; it’s flexible, it’s adaptable, it’s precise, concise and dynamic. Why anyone would willingly jeopardize that is just mind-boggling to me.

1 Comment

Filed under 2016 Presidential Race, Washington

One response to “When Is an Apology Not an Apology?

  1. First of all, saying “I apologize” is not an apology. It describes an apology.

    Saying “I outshoot LeBron James and Steph Curry” doesn’t actually score any baskets either. It describes scoring baskets.

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