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I think that this is too much sucking up.
You took this the wrong way - no one expects an affiliate manager to suck up, or pander, to publishers.
However, the least we expect is respect for our profession - as I've said recently in another thread, we can work 100 hours and make $0. We deal with issues that are sometimes beyond
our control - google algorithm, SEO, tax
issues, and rules that change without warning.
To blame a publisher for lack of conversion, and demand an explanation, shows a lack of understanding and respect for what we do every day.
Merchants are partners, NOT employers - we don't report to them.