There’s absolutely no question that Pain & Gain director Michael Bay said to Miami Herald critic Rene Rodriguez that “I apologize for Armageddon” — here’s the mp3 of Bay blurting out these exact words — but he meant the hyper-fast pacing of that 1998 blockbuster and not the film as a whole.

Pain & Gain director Michael Bay at last night’s Los Angeles premiere.

Two days ago I reported that Bay had “literally apologized” to Rodriguez in a 4.21 Miami Herald piece “for the frame-fucked, machine-gun cutting of Armageddon.” But then other outlets ran this and sloppily made it sound as if Bay was apologizing for the entire damn thing. And then Bay said on his website that he’d been misquoted by Rodriguez.

In a piece called “I’m Proud of Armageddon,” Bay said Rodriguez had gone “too far in reporting false information. He has printed the bare minimum of my statement which in effect have twisted my words and meaning. What I clearly said to the reporter is [that] I wish I had more time to edit the film, specifically the the third act. He asked me in effect what would you change if you could in your movies if you could go back. I said I wish we had a few more weeks in the edit room on Armageddon.”

Here, again, is the line in which he says the phrase “I apologize for Armageddon.” (I’ve tried six times to post a somewhat longer passage in which Bay talks about the process of cutting Armageddon‘s third act, but the damn thing won’t play.) Bay can’t deny what he said, but the mainstream press — not Rodriguez — did distort his meaning by implying Bay was apologizing for making a crappy film or something. Which he certainly didn’t do.

The Bay apology story is apparently being covered on tonight’s Access Hollywood (which goes on at 7:30 Eastern). Rodriguez offered to let Access Hollywood record his tape of Bay saying what he said but the staffer he spoke with declined, apparently deciding that running a transcript of the conversaton would suffice.