Let’s break it down: David Letterman is guilty of carelessness. Nothing more. He’s not a pervert. He’s not a sexist, racist, woman hater, pedophile or rapist.
The comedian, which means somebody who tells jokes for a living, made an off-color (and funny) remark about “Palin’s daughter” getting impregnated by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez during the 7th inning stretch.
It was a similar joke that had been made by almost every TV comic and snarky blogger across the nation since Bristol Palin bounced into the national spotlight in mid 2008. But Letterman got caught in No Man’s Land when it turned out Bristol was not in attendance that fateful afternoon in the new Yankee Stadium.
Oops. Palin was with her 14-year-old daughter Willow. Not Bristol.
If you watch the original video clip or read the transcript, it’s obvious Letterman was cracking on Bristol. You know, the same person the Palin family paraded in front of television cameras before the November election—when she was only 17 years old. The same girl who recently made all the media rounds in defense of abstinence-only education, despite having a baby out of wedlock before graduating high school.
The real guilty party here is Letterman’s sloppy research staff. Somebody wrote that joke but never confirmed whether Bristol was indeed at the Stadium.
But Letterman is the general, it's his show, and he made the “factually incorrect” joke. The Palin clan pounced on a golden political opportunity. Who was going to defend sexual jokes about 14 year olds? Nobody. David Letterman had no defense -- and they knew it.
I don’t blame the Palins. This is what politicians do. They pick their spots and capitalize. Sometimes it gets nasty, but it's part of the game. This was a no-win situation for Letterman, and the Palins suddenly had lots of support.
The problem I have is with the phony outrage. Can't you see that Sarah Palin is too smart to know that Letterman was targeting Bristol—not her 14-year-old Willow? The governor from Alaska has been milking this thing, and the phony outrage brigade surrounding her is still trying to capitalize on the media circus by pretending the joke was about somebody else.
Palin got her pound of flesh. Letterman has now apologized twice for an unintentional mistake. Palin has reportedly accepted. Let’s move on and wait for the next big screw-up. It won’t be long before Conan is in the crosshairs.