Spike Lee erroneously tweeting the address of an unrelated elderly couple, rather than George Zimmerman, was a "mean, boneheaded, thoughtless and harmful thing to do." But alas, he's shown, and tweeted contrition, Washington Post's Erik Wemple blogged approvingly yesterday. Heck, Lee even "repeated the apology in a phone call, a conversation that left the couple feeling better about the ordeal," Wemple gushed in his 8-paragraph March 30 blog post, "Spike Lee apologizes, atones for screwup."
Yet in the midst of effusively praising Lee for his apology and financial settlement with the McClains, he failed to consider what, if any, apology Lee was willing to extend to Zimmerman and his family for wishing to set him in harm's way. Isn't Lee's apology simply self-serving as it was extended to a party he never intended to harm in the first place?
What's more, in his closing paragraph, Wemple notes that Lee was seeking "frontier justice" by tweeting what he believed to be Zimmerman's address. Although Lee has NOT apologized to Zimmerman or the Zimmerman family, Wemple considers the ill will sufficiently and laudably atoned for:
Yet his reaction to the mishap rehabilitates the good name of an honest apology. Lee used no qualifiers, no minimizers, no excuses — and no “I am sorry if anyone took offense to my actions.” Just plain regret and shame. Score a victory for the apology.
Perhaps Wemple could learn some journalism from, of all people, the gossip columnists at the paper, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts. From their March 30 "The Reliable Source" column (emphasis mine):
Maybe Spike Lee can team up with Anthony Weiner to form a support group for public figures who make lousy decisions on Twitter. The acclaimed filmmaker provocateur has apologized for helping disseminate the address of a Florida couple across the Internet, causing them to flee their home. The Sanford address for Elaine and David McClain has been mistakenly linked in social media to that of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting unarmed teen Trayvon Martin . Lee later deleted the tweet. “I Deeply Apologize To The McClain Family For Retweeting Their Address,” he wrote on Twitter late Wednesday. “It Was A Mistake. Please Leave The McClains In Peace. Justice In Court.” But what if it had been the correct address for Zimmerman — what action did Lee hope his quarter-million followers would take? At his office’s direction, we faxed Lee the question; we’ll update if he responds. Meanwhile, comedian and Green Party presidential hopeful Roseanne Barr tweeted Zimmerman’s actual address, reports The Smoking Gun, but deleted it when she realized that, as she tweeted, “vigilante-ism is what killed Trayvon. I don’t support that.”