The entrepreneurial New York Times business reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin announced two days ago that he has brought on a new partner, Dov Seidman, an expert on apologizing, to his online shop at the Times:
Seidman, who promptly showed up on NPR to explain his work, is a New Age neoliberal who lays on hands at Davos. His column announcing the Times partnership bore the faint odor of snake oil, explaining that apologies must reflect real contrition, and that our leaders must address those they have harmed to achieve “redemption.”
Apologizers need to conduct a “moral audit” by looking themselves in the mirror and asking, “How did I get here and how did I drift from the person I aspire to be?” They must encourage feedback from the aggrieved….
Let’s commit to demanding more from business and public figures — and from ourselves — when contrition is being pursued. It will not be easy. But by returning to a search for redemption that accepts its difficulty, we can rediscover its real possibility.
Police apologized for brushing 1998 domestic abuse case under carpet, saying it is now victim-focused
He faults Jennifer Lopez for performing for the dictator of Turkmenistan. He says that all countries today are “morally and ethically interdependent” and that our “interconnected world shifts power to individuals.” He says it’s moving that a mere vegetable-peddler started the Arab Spring.
And then there are those brave women in Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Women Rise Up. Different approach to Arab Spring: limited protest that could ripple into unlimited equality
“Unlimited equality” might give some hope to Palestinians facing government-supported pricetag attacks by Jewish settlers who can vote while they can’t. But in looking over Seidman’s writings, I see not a word about the Nakba or Palestinian human rights. And given some of his statements, I have to believe this NYT ethicist won’t go near Palestinian grievances.
Seidman grew up in the US and Israel. Haaretz reports that he aspired to work for Israel’s Foreign Ministry but ended up interning for former Supreme Court justice Aharon Barak. He often quotes Shimon Peres’s wisdom, with this wise addition: “The advance of wisdom uncontrollable.” He regularly lauds Elie Wiesel, and calls this Zionist piece by rightwinger Leon Wieseltier profound and poignant. He talks up an Israeli inventor and promotes Israeli companies, and in this interview with the co-author of Startup Nation (which is about the Israeli miracle) says, “It’s great to be at the Israel Democracy institute, and it’s great to feel that I am at home.”
If I were cynical, I’d wonder how Dov Seidman got his Belgian loafers in the door over there at The New York Times, and I’d read a lot into Andrew Ross Sorkin’s glowing profile of Haim Saban. But that would be cynical. It’s surely just the restless search for meaning that paid off. Like the time Seidman found it
Profoundly meaningful to contribute to Tom Friedman’s column on “Why Mandela Was Unique”