I’ve been thinking about the media and the truth after listening to This American Life's show this week, which is devoted to thorough and heartfelt repentance for inadvertently broadcasting a story in which monologist Mike Daisey said things that weren’t true. In contrast to the makers of This American Life, Daisey was, shall we say, non-thorough in his apology. And, as we all know, Daisey is just the latest link in a long chain of non-apologizers.
Such a long chain, in fact, that I think it deserves its own Twitter hashtag:
#circumpentance: Giving a vague approximation of repentance while sidestepping the real issue, often by misusing the word “if” or other rhetorical footwork. For example, Daisey’s statement: "the audience of This American Life … if they feel misled or betrayed, I regret to them as well." (Related term, already in use: #fauxpology.)
Once I got started thinking about this, the media-survival hashtags just started bubbling up.