Blogging and Apologizing

Kos responded to the barrage of commentary that erupted after a particularly bad post on his part.  To follow up on my own post on the matter, I thought I’d take a look at that apology and the open letter from my left wing.

Kos’s response was a clarification rather than an apology.  In its entirety:

I don’t disagree with anything Lindsey wrote. I disagreed with using a bloggers threats as an excuse to foist upon us all a “Blogger Code of Conduct”.

That’s what I was saying. 1) There are assholes that will 2) email stupid shit to any public figure (which includes bloggers, but 3) that won’t be stopped by any blogger code of conduct.

You see, stupid asshole psycho threatening emailers don’t care about codes of conduct. That’s all.

He perfectly clarified what he meant in his post, and publicly states his full agreement with a prominent feminist’s take on the issue.   All that is missing is “I’m sorry”, and any attempt to crack open the larger can of worms that have been appearing in and around the responses to his original post.  Worms like the pie incident, whether or not Kos is truly a progressive, dailykos banning people for political positions, or ignoring the feminist blogosphere.

The lack of an apology, of a simple “I was wrong to use Kathy Sierra as an example, or to portray those who are legitimately threatened as hysterical.”, is sadly telling.  It smacks of Bush.  A “stay the course” approach to blogging.  There is nothing wrong with an apology!  Is Kos really sticking behind his entire post?  No, his response is quite clear about that…  So he would just be acknowledging that he misspoke, and giving the rest of us reasonable assurance that he might not make a similar mistake in the future.  Why didn’t he do that?

The open letter from My Left Wing to A-List bloggers sums it up quite well:

So, let me appeal to you. Maybe you’ll have better luck that we have had. Maybe you can get Markos to see that admitting his mistakes makes him a bigger man, not a smaller, weaker one. Maybe if you speak up against the reprehensible and uncalled for comments he leveled at Kathy Sierra, and by extension, at all other women online who’ve ever received threats, or been demeaned and belittled by sexist and sexually harassing comments, he will see the light, and come clean.

Really, all it would take on his part is a simple apology, and an admission that he was wrong, and a lot of the anger and outrage he has generated among his fellow liberals and progressives, both men and women, would be forgotten, or at least forgiven. Not that big a deal, you would think. It’s what we teach our children when they are still in diapers. When you’ve done something wrong, when you’ve hurt someone, say you’re sorry.

The effect of an apology would be to dissipate some anger, and maybe invite some people into the amazing discourse over at dailykos who have previously stayed away.  After all, Kos’s site is all about the netroots, and profoundly irritating such a large and naturally progressive chunk of citizens isn’t the most practical of moves.

Apologizing would be a first step.  A second step would be to start working with the feminist community more.  Set this and the pie incident aside, and start making movements towards embracing the progressivism evident in the feminist movement.  You’ll find a warm response, many allies, and another validation of the power of progressive netroots.

We’d be a lot more powerful working together than we are now.

A simple “I’m sorry” can set us in motion.


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