Op-Ed: Journalism Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
When you’re a world-famous opinion columnist, especially if your opinions are just violently bad, you get a lot of letters from people asking to apologize. What they fail to understand, though, is that I am not a mere opinion columnist. I am a journalist. I work for the New York Times. And the New York Times never corrects itself when it is wrong.
I’ve never apologized, which means I’ve never done anything wrong. I’m proud to be your Class Day speaker, and I’ll use my valuable time to do anything but apologize. In fact, everyone should be apologizing to me. Professors should apologize for calling me a bedbug on Twitter, even though I tried to get them fired. Waiters should apologize for forcing me to slap them with their subpar service. Anyone who parks in front of my house should apologize for their obvious, flagrant antisemitism.
Take Cindy Sheehan, whose son is some dead soldier or something. She called me the other day and called me a “warmongering horsefly” because I “supported the Iraq War,” and demanded an apology. That was her first mistake. I told her that I was honored to have contributed to the main talking point of her activism career. I made sure to remind her that losing her son was worth all the speaker’s honorariums, and also would she please pay me to speak at the funeral.
Sure, I might have been “instrumental to the dehumanization of Iraqis” and “an accessory to the military industrial complex that killed her child,” but who’s to say I’m really at fault? All I did was deliberately whip up an unstoppable national bloodlust for mass casualties. That’s literally the job description of a journalist! And a journalist demands no apologies.
I know I’ve done a lot of things in my life that so-called “ordinary people” would ask me to atone for. But I chose ‘pretentious opinion columnist’ as a career, and that means I never have to apologize. I am a journalist, goddammit. Sure, every once in a while I recklessly endanger 654,965 lives. Doesn’t everyone? It says right there in my job description: journalist. Journalists don’t apologize.