A lot is written in the Public Relations world about the importance of apologies. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve even blogged about it here and here. I hate the non-apology apology and I hate the passive voice.
What’s starting to grate on me is the “I’m sorry I was a jerk. Now let’s all get over it and act like it never happened.” Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm, who was caught on camera threatening to push a reporter over the balcony for asking him about campaign finance allegations, is the most recent example of that.
Sure, he did the right thing by apologizing. The problem is, it didn’t sound at all like he meant it or even cares. That bothers me. There’s not a lot he can do to “make good” (though I hear he offered to take the guy out to lunch). I just wish he seemed more sincere.
In other news, we’ve got the debacle in Atlanta. Politico has a great piece, “The Day We Lost Atlanta,” giving perspective on the total system-wide failure of leadership that was years in the making. The author points out that more than 60 entities failed to work together.
Leadership was slow to take responsibility, alternately half-apologizing and playing the Super Bowl of blame games. In this case, apologies absolutely must come with some action – not only a review of what went wrong, but also a true effort for governments and the private sector to collaborate and plan together.
Today, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an apology, (after blaming the meteorologists and everyone else he could) expressing his sympathy and offering some immediate steps the state was taking to get people to their stranded vehicles. It’s a start.
So, PR friends… what do you think? When is an apology not enough?
Kate Venne is the Director of Public Relations at Capstone National Partners. If you’re interested in media training, contact Kate to find out more.
The views in this blog post represent the viewpoints of individual team members, not Capstone National Partners as a whole.