You may have heard that Michael Flynn has resigned from his gig as National Security Advisor. Because he’d lied hither and yon about conversations he’d had with Russia.
Let’s look at his apology!
“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
As Sumac put it on FB (like us there!), “How nice! Got anything for the AMERICAN PEOPLE?”
That’s the biggie here, of course: Flynn does not apologize to us. And the conclusion, “they have accepted my apology,” clearly implies “so we’re good!” As far as he’s concerned, we’re done here. He’s forgiven. Go away, haters. Don’t hold your breath hoping for any outreach or remorse for behavior that put all of us — and democracy around the world — at risk.
Other bad apology words: “inadvertently” and “incomplete information.” Reader, please do not use these words in your own apologies. These words are weaselly, minimizing, and self-justifying. Because of “the fast pace of events,” Flynn just accidentally, repeatedly lied? Oops! These things happen! You know, because everything is so speedy, it’s disorienting!
Flynn also doesn’t name what he did — “regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador”? What, precisely, happened during those phone calls, Mike? For all we can tell from this phrase, Flynn made a catty comment about Ivanka’s highly original shoe designs or was disparaging about borscht or incurred fees for exceeding his minutes as he and Sergey Kislyak gabbed late into the night about their Pez dispenser collections. WHO CAN SAY? Certainly Flynn does not convey the seriousness of the fact that “the Justice Department…warned the White House last month that Flynn had so mischaracterized his communications with the Russian diplomat that he might be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.”
Also, he didn’t just lie about phone calls. There were texts.
(Wee addendum: The New York Times, being the New York Times, does not use the term “lying” or any of its related verb or noun forms in its coverage of this story. The Times goes with “misled” and “not been fully forthright.” Never change, NYT. Or hey, do. The Washington Post goes with “potentially illegal contacts” in its lede and “false statements” in the second graf, which shows that SorryWatch is tougher than both outlets — come at us, bro — but also reflects the last few months of WaPo using stronger words than its rival. You know, if you’re buying subscriptions to newspapers. Which you should be.)