I need to apologize.
I engaged in misinformation.
I've done it before... many years ago, without fully realizing: shared debunked or false Facebook posts/links because their content resonated with me, without checking sources/facts.
It's been a long time. I have made a habit not to share things publicly that contain odd timelines, buzzy click bait titles, or triggering sentiments. I stick to entertainment or personal promotions. I don't really even share adorable viral videos except by personal message.
But, I made a mistake yesterday, in my memorial blog post about a friend: Michael McArthur, who passed away suddenly this week, at the age of 34.
I have no excuse. In my rush to honor and remember a gentleman I adored, I didn't sift through the proper channels to give the correct information. Based on Facebook conjecture, and my own improper assumptions, I wrote that Michael passed due to COVID-19. Michael's cause of death has not been confirmed or at least made public, and in my hurry to fill in the details of the story, I misrepresented the truth of things. I am so sorry for spreading misinformation at the worst possible time. I was lucky to receive the feedback and corrected it an hour after posting, but my careless mistake is, regardless, not taken lightly.
I know this is not a great look, or maybe it's not something people want to read in a blog that usually contains something more inspiring, but I just need all 13 people who read my stuff to know that I hold a higher standard for the news parts of my writing. I don't want to exaggerate or stretch truths, because the stories we often need aren't always the ones we want to hear. I hold myself more accountable than that. I don't want to add to the fray of misleading or manipulative news. I want to write honestly from my heart and when facts are involved, I want them to be well-sourced. I want my optimism and inspired reflection to be true, not just sound true. Please know that I can and will do better.
When was the last time we heard a proper apology from someone who got caught in a mistake or a lie? I can't even remember. The government (at least in the US) and the mainstream media carries little trust, and every conspiracy theory is gaining momentum in that absence of public trust. So, yeah, I think it's more important than ever to apologize, mean it, and improve our actions going forward. I'm going to take this important lesson and use it to spread a little awareness about our actions, as we wade through the mess of content out there. We can all do better.
Here's my corrected blog post about Michael.
Here is his Legacy.com Obituary.
Here is a GoFundMe page where you can donate to help his family settle his debts.
An apology blog post... how Canadian of me. But I don't dish out 'I'm sorry's as regularly as I used to. I don't apologize just to be polite or to put myself down as a defense mechanism. We take away the true vulnerability and meaning of an apology when we use it at every turn. AND an apology is just the starting point for a better course of action.
After a mere three months, these blogs have changed my life. They have changed the way I think about myself and the world. They have made me a better writer, artist, and person. Yes, I think even personal blogging comes with an element of responsibility to its audience to stay true. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for calling me out, and for helping me grow, and thank you for helping me honor Michael Mcarthur's life.