On ‘Radio Times’: The art of the public apology

 White House press secretary Sean Spicer (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House press secretary Sean Spicer (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Last week we heard several public apologies — from Pepsi, United Airlines, Sean Spicer — so, “Radio Times” invited public apology expert Edwin Battistella to discuss whether they were effective in regaining trust with the public.

“I’m sorry” are two of the hardest words to say.

Last week we heard several public apologies: for Pepsi’s tone-deaf ad suggesting protestors and police could find common ground over a can of cola; for the United Airlines debacle in which a passenger was dragged off a plane; and for White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s downplaying of Hitler and Nazi death camps.

So, “Radio Times” invited public apology expert Edwin Battistella, author of “Sorry About That,” to discuss some of the language used in the recent spate of apologies, and whether they were effective in regaining trust with the public.

 

Host Marty Moss-Coane later asked Battistella about his favorite public apology. He said it was when George H.W. Bush, whom he described as a “polite guy and a good apologizer,” continually addressed Ted Koppel as Dan Rather throughout an interview. Bush, at the end of the interview said “Ted, I apologize for calling you Dan. I wasn’t trying to be smart.”

Listen to Monday’s full hour.

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