After launching ApologyWatch, a blog dedicated to tracking corporate apologies, the New York Times has itself been asked to apologize—to the identical, well-established blog SorryWatch.
Apology Watch? SorryWatch? Sounds familiar. Twitter tag “ApologyWatch? Sounds like our Twitter tag, “SorryWatch,” doesn’t it? Two writers analyzing apologies. Why, that’s hauntingly reminiscent of SorryWatch. ... We realize that it’s possible that Sorkin or Seidman thought of this idea independently. But minimal research, such as the research that must have been done to determine whether the name “ApologyWatch” was taken, will have brought them to our site. [Note: a search for "Apology Watch" before the NYT site launched would show SorryWatch on the first page.] Yet there is no mention of our existence in Sorkin’s piece. With the prestige of the New York Times behind it, “Apology Watch” is likely to harm SorryWatch. Certainly the similarity in names will confuse readers.
No apology was forthcoming, however, with the "great minds think alike" defense sent in its stead. As it has been pointed out the writers involved obviously knew about SorryWatch before announcing their new site, perhaps they simply know something about the legal implications of apologies that most people don't.
The language in the email from the Times ("we are delighted to discover others who ... want to contribute to the dialogue about apologies") is at least in the smarmy, shit-eating spirit of corporate apologies.
Gawker's J.K. Trotter has more icky circumlocutions:
[Andrew Ross] Sorkin told Gawker that DealBook was “delighted to discover others who are passionate about this topic.” (His editor, Dan Niemi, supply a nearly identical statement to McCarthy and Ingall.) Seidman invited the women to “connect and explore.”
Connect and explore! But don't apologize, because corporate apologies are, to paraphrase Sorkin and his new project, offensively insincere.
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