December 13, 2011

259 words 2 mins read

Call Me “Apologist”

The Washington Post’s headline writer made a common mistake on Sunday.


He confused “one who apologizes” with “apologist.”

An easy mistake, no doubt, for most of us. Professional headline writers should know better. So should Glenn Kessler, the author of the WP story.

The claim that Obama is an apologist for the nation began to take shape shortly after he became president.

An apologist is “one who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something.” describes an apologist as:

any of the Christian writers, primarily in the 2nd century, who attempted to provide a defense of Christianity and criticisms of Greco-Roman culture.

Romney does not accuse Obama of being an apologist for the United States; he accuses the president, accurately, of _apologizing for _the United States.

To anyone who knows the meaning of the words, Kessler’s story reads like a farce.  Kessler attempts to demonstrate that Obama does not apologize the U.S., but, in fact, he defends his country.  But Kessler uses the wrong words.

Making Kessler’s sin even more egregious, he writes at the Post’s fact checker—a fact checker who failed to look up the meaning of “apologist,” the central word of his story.

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of precise words. Lord knows I’m as guilty of letting my precision wane as is Kessler or anyone else.

Still, I will accept the title of “American Apologist” proudly.  And, while I disagree with Kessler’s intended meaning, I do agree with the literal assertion of his story: Barack Obama is no apologist for the United States.