Thursday’s post recounting the static between the Minnesota Nurses Association and members of the media provoked more than two dozen comments. Most criticized MNA spokesman John Nemo after he ripped the Star Tribune, KARE and declared “we don’t need the mainstream media to tell our story.”
Friday, Nemo left a long apology in the comment stream. Since the original story got so much attention, I thought it only fair to publicize this as well:
I want to say I’m deeply sorry for the comments I made. I am ashamed of myself and embarrassed for such unprofessional and inappropriate behavior when talking about some Twin Cities reporters and outlets. I feel horrible about it.
David’s call caught me at the worst possible time. I’ve been working 15-18 hours a day straight for 6 weeks and am in the middle of the most intense, emotional and stressful story I’ve ever been a part of. I am a passionate, emotional and fiery person and sometimes have a hard time stepping back from a situation and not taking things personally.
When I was talking to David I was at a park with our 3 little boys and not in work/professional mode. I was exhausted and fresh off some heated exchanges with reporters over coverage, and I essentially just cut open a vein and melted down. Not my proudest moment.
In particular I want to apologize to Channel 5 and did so privately after this story came out when Tom Hauser thankfully called me out on my inaccurate and untrue remarks. They have done a very good and fair job covering this story. Scott Goldberg is also a class act and I want to apologize to him and KARE 11 for my remarks. Scott and I talked on the phone and agreed to disagree on some issues and I apologized for my lack of professionalism and ranting online.
Dave Hage and I have engaged in some heated conversations about the Strib’s coverage and I have not been as professional as I need to be when disagreeing with him and his team of reporters. I’m sorry for that, and we can agree to disagree as professionals about their work and coverage.
I have no excuse for my behavior and I feel horrible about it. That’s not the kind of person or professional I want to be and I hope those reporters who have worked with me in the past and those of you who know me realize this is not an accurate reality of who I am as a person or how I normally am. I think any reporter or PR person can relate to being in the middle of a storm like this and just losing it once in a while. My advice is make sure you’re not talking to David Brauer when it happens!
I’ve apologized a few times in the space, so I can appreciate John’s reconsideration. (By the way, I did hear his kids playing in the background during our talk.) Both sides have a job to do, and neither side should paper over disagreement, professionalism is the best course in the long run. If this lanced a boil, it’s a good thing.
One of the interesting (and ironic) things about this episode is the role of social networking. Although John obviously extended and intensified his views to me, he originally stated his media disagreements — pointedly — in the MNA’s blog. Keeping in mind Michael Kinsley’s definition of a gaffe — “when a politician tells the truth” — it’s harder to avoid an impolitic opinion when you’ve expressed it on your own, unfiltered.
The vehemence of John’s comments moved the discussion away from the original issue — whether the Strib acted unethically in attending a closed meeting. In my original story, WCCO’s Esme Murphy said she wouldn’t do it, but over at MPR, Bob Collins strongly defended the Strib, noting the resulting facts were unchallenged and no laws were broken.
Me, I’m torn. Though it’s still a bit unclear how clearly the MNA enforced privacy, you want reporters to be aggressive. I print leaked memos all the time, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t crash the next closed-door MPR staff meeting, even if I could.