Imperfect contrition

A First Century journalist recognizes the error of his ways.

In this week’s North Coast Journal, the usually verbose Hank Sims is credited with only a few dozen words, all of them in a three-sentence editor’s note which almost, but not quite, puts an end to the Bob Doran affair.

A letter demanding an explanation from Doran is answered as follows by Sims:

Bob Doran has fully acknowledged and apologized for his error in judgment in failing to identify his wife in the story in question (‘Tea in Fortuna,’ Sept. 3). As a result of this error, his work in the future will be confined to editing and writing for the Journal’s arts and culture section.

For background, see the publisher’s note in the Journal’s Sept. 17 edition.

The punishment seems perfectly appropriate–seriously, who wanted this guy fired?–but the offense is inaccurately described.

Not to get all Catholic and shit, but Doran’s error was not the omission of failing to identify his wife so much as the commission of attempting to conceal her identity. It was active, not passive, and that distinction is important.

Most people seem inclined to let him off the hook. It’s only fair. He’s only human. But let’s be clear: He’s being forgiven for something he did, not for something he didn’t do.