There have been so many confessions and apologies by public figures that I am offering PT blog readers a table for cataloging their favorites.


The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, February 23, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at

How to Chart Public Confessions

With the nonstop flow of public apologies and confessions, from Elliot Spitzer to Tiger Woods, people need help in placing these. With the following convenient table, you can now locate where your favorite star, idol, or public figure fits:

Table of Confessions (Select one from each column)
Field Action Mood Venue Result
Sports Infidelity-sex Contrite News conference Resign-fired
Politics Financial Stonewall-minimize Press release Divorce
Media Drugs-alcohol Tearful-soulful TV interview Rehab
Entertainment Performance enhancement Humorous Congressional hearing Time-out
Business Mate abuse Defiant Own show Carries on

Now let’s see where to place your favorites:

David Letterman: Generally regarded to be among the most successful confession-apologies, Letterman, a media professional, got out in front of the curve, confessed (while minimizing) his infidelities in a humorous way on his own show.

Larry Craig: You may recall, Craig was the conservative senator caught in an airport bathroom soliciting male sex. He defiantly called a press conference to deny everything, stayed in office, but resigned rather than run again.

Elliot Spitzer: Politician caught in infidelity-sex scandal, contritely confessed at a press conference (wife by his side) and resigned.

You're getting the hang of it, right?

David Vitter: Conservative senator from Louisiana was contrite (but minimizing) for an infidelity-sex scandal while confessing (wife by his side) at a press conference and carried on.

Chris Brown: Singer arrested for beating his girlfriend, Rihanna, who stonewalled in a TV interview and took a time out.

Mark McGuire: Baseball star who stonewalled in front of a Congressional hearing over his performance-enhancing drug use and took a time out.

John Edwards: former Senator and presidential candidate, stonewalled his infidelity then minimally confessed in a TV interview, but more came out and his wife divorced him.

Mark Sanford: Governor of South Carolina, soulfully confessed his infidelity at a news conference (wife not present), but was insufficiently contrite, and his wife divorced him.

Patrick Kennedy: Kennedy-family congressman who ran into a traffic barrier in the wee hours immediately went to rehab for substance abuse relapse (thereby turning a crime into drug problem ), confessed soulfully to his long-time addiction, and remained in office.

Lindsay Lohan: Entertainment figure, drugs, admission of problem through press agent, rehab (but, long-term, carried on, which is typical).

Lloyd Blankfein: CEO of Goldman Sachs, defiant over his firm’s role in financial collapse while being bailed out and continuing to take immense bonuses, and stayed in power.

Rick Wagoner: CEO of GM, stonewalled in front of Congress after seeking a bail-out while flying to Washington in a private jet; President fired his ass.

Go ahead, pick your own favorite and place him or her in the table.

Oh, Tiger Woods? Sports star caught in infidelity-sex scandal, contrite in front of press conference (wife not present), rehab-time out.

One last thing – we’re still waiting for someone to confess to something we didn’t already know about. That would be a real confession. Of course, that will never happen.