The Private Diary of Adam Nagourney

11/9/2004

Mea Culpa

Filed under: — Adam @ 1:03 pm

I know many people come here to mock me. I know I have in some way encouraged it by posting goofy thoughts here and sometimes being flip. I know some of you think this site is a joke and some of you have commented that this site doesn’t even sound like me.

Well I am making a little departure today. No joking. No joshing. No Nag Hags. I have spent some time examining how I covered this past election and have decided to write the below letter to my readers. The Times has refused to publish it so here it is:

To: the Reading Public

From Adam Nagourney, New York Times Chief Political Correspondent

Re: Mea Culpa

I have reflected upon my work as the chief political correspondent for the New York Times in covering this past election cycle and I feel it is necessary for me to acknowledge my mistakes and, frankly , to apologize.

I am not apologizing to those who have been so critical of me on the internet, through emails or on radio. That criticism was often too incisive, too passionate and too urgent. I won’t justify such criticism with a response, I would rather leave that to our Public Editor at the New York Times whose job it is to protect the paper’s writers from the complaints of the public.

However, there are people who read the New York Times unquestioningly, there are people who read the Grey Lady without having the proper amount of suspicion. These people are our true constituency, these are our most supportive and as such the most proper of readers. Now that the election has ended, (except for voting irregularities in Ohio, which I plan on writing about just after mid-term elections), it is the proper time for me to acknowledge that my coverage of John Kerry was a bit askew.

I want to make it clear, I am no Judith Miller. I did not help this country into a war for no reason. I did not make things up. I did not push one of the biggest lies upon the US population in modern times. I did not have a ‘relationship” with my only source of this false information, who also happened to be a source for a group of people in the defense department with an agenda for war, and who also happened to be a con man and a spy for Iran, who was also hoping to rape his former home for personal gain and who had promised me, as in Judith, that I would be named queen of Iraq by now. No I, Adam, did not do such things.

With all that said, mea culpa. Over the course of the campaign, beginning with the primaries, because I knew deep down that I supported John Kerry, and through the Presidential election, because I knew his opponent wanted to demonize people like me, I found it necessary to write in such a way that would make people believe the opposite. This is called being objective, I will not apologize for that. However, there were times when I had to sort of exaggerate or report things “imprecisely” in order to be objective and though I will not apologize for that, I will acknowledge that some people might think I should.

However, there were occasions where I derided Kerry for such subjective things as a lack of charisma, even in comparison to myself. This was not objective. Obviously when comparing yourself to a candidate, you may give yourself “extra points”. Please remember though, John Kerry is tall. Studies show taller people generally have an easier time with things- they slide by. When I was at USA Today, before I was at the Times, I was the third shortest person on the political beat. The point is, however, that I was on the Charlie Rose Show at the time of said indiscretion, which, if any of you have ever been on (I’ve been on numerous times), you know, Charlie expects you to have such things to say.

So, again, mea culpa. Know that I am not happy about Bush being reelected either. Believe me, if you knew what I knew about this administration, you’d feel even worse- not to mention, if you knew what I knew about how genuinely impressive John Kerry can be… well anyways…

p.s. please email Charlie Rose and explain to him that I can still be a relevant guest.


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