Diane Abbott’s “racist” tweet

Diane Abbott’s “racist” tweet

A recurring theme in this blog is the power of the apology to diffuse media gaffes. But to work well, the apology has to be genuine and heartfelt.

On Wednesday, responding to the media’s use of the term “black community”, Shadow Health Minister, Diane Abbott, tweeted: ”White people love playing ‘divide & rule'”.  She was then stung into action by the predictable outrage that followed her offensive – some would say racist – generalisation, and apologised in a written statement. Well, sort of. Her actual words were: “I apologise for any offence caused”, which were enough to keep her in her job, but hardly sounded heartfelt. Any spin doctor worth his or her salt could have dashed off something much more impressive in about a minute and a half.

So why didn’t Abbott sound more contrite? My guess is that she considers the advantages enjoyed by white people in this country to be so great that they have no right to get upset by her comments. She therefore feels little sense of regret and doesn’t want to pretend otherwise.

That, at least, is admirable (and sensible, because it’s difficult to make an apology sound genuine if it isn’t). But many people will be shocked and disappointed that one of our senior and best-known politicians holds such views.

Article date

January 9th, 2012

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer

@RT_MediaTrainer

My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

Comments

  • I think becasue it didn’t tick the box of ‘Any spin doctor worth his or her salt could have dashed off something much more impressive in about a minute and a half’ that it did come across heart felt. I think most of us know her angle and I admire her for sticking to it (even if we don’t agree). I think all of this says more about Twitter and Abbott.

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