A week after his offensive “joke” about Willow Palin, David Letterman decides to apologize for real this time as the New York Daily News reports:

No more stupid apology tricks.

Comedian David Letterman issued a full-throated mea culpa for delivering a raunchy joke at the expense of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s daughter, saying he takes "full blame" for the "bad" joke.

"I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception," he said on Monday’s show. "And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke."

"It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault that it was misunderstood," he said.

"So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I’m sorry about it and I’ll try to do better in the future."

I’ll update with the video later, as well as, Governor Palin’s response.

Update: My thoughts… I was going to update this a little later, but Strabo asked:

Considering your strong personal feelings about it, Shane I wonder what you own personal reaction to the apology is?

Initially I’m thinking, too little too late, because I believe the apology is more because he got called out, not likely remorse.  I also am considering that Don Imus was fired from CBS Radio even after he apologized, and I would say that for consistency’s sake CBS should probably fire him.

Obviously it doesn’t really matter what I think though, I’ll defer to the Palin family.  I’m sure they’ll likely be gracious and accept his apology.  I believe that comments and jokes of this nature really need to stop.  It only contributes to misogyny which seems to be ok for those on the left provided it is directed toward conservative women.

Full transcript from Newsday.com:

Letterman: “All right, here – I’ve been thinking about this situation with Governor Palin and her family now for about a week – it was a week ago tonight, and maybe you know about it, maybe you don’t know about it. But there was a joke that I told, and I thought I was telling it about the older daughter being at Yankee Stadium. And it was kind of a coarse joke. There’s no getting around it, but I never thought it was anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure in fact that she is of legal age, 18. Yeah. But the joke really, in and of itself, can’t be defended. The next day, people are outraged. They’re angry at me because they said, ‘How could you make a lousy joke like that about the 14-year-old girl who was at the ball game?’ And I had, honestly, no idea that the 14-year-old girl, I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the Governor and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani…And I really should have made the joke about Rudy…” (audience applauds) “But I didn’t, and now people are getting angry and they’re saying, ‘Well, how can you say something like that about a 14-year-old girl, and does that make you feel good to make those horrible jokes about a kid who’s completely innocent, minding her own business,’ and, turns out, she was at the ball game. I had no idea she was there. So she’s now at the ball game and people think that I made the joke about her. And, but still, I’m wondering, ‘Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?’ I’ve never made jokes like this as long as we’ve been on the air, 30 long years, and you can’t really be doing jokes like that. And I understand, of course, why people are upset. I would be upset myself.

“And then I was watching the Jim Lehrer ‘Newshour’ – this commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, ‘Oh, boy, now I’m beginning to understand what the problem is here. It’s the perception rather than the intent.’ It doesn’t make any difference what my intent was, it’s the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it’s not a very good joke. And I’m certainly – ” (audience applause) “– thank you. Well, my responsibility – I take full blame for that. I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It’s not your fault that it was misunderstood, it’s my fault. That it was misunderstood.” (audience applauds) “Thank you. So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I’m sorry about it and I’ll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much.” (audience applause)

What are your thoughts?

2nd Update: Here is video from last night.

HT: Bluegrass Pundit

Governor Sarah Palin issued a statement this morning via Facebook:

"Of course it’s accepted on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve.

Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America’s Right to Free Speech – in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."

HT: Josh Painter

17 comments
  1. Patience is one of many virtues I haven't attained:) thanks for the response!

    Personally, I despise any sort of humor based only on shock value, but it is good that he apologized, better late than never. Now I'll be impressed if we see a concerted effort towards using less crude humor, but I'm not going to hold my breath for that!

  2. I think he was aware the 14 year old was at the game with Palin – and that's why the reference about Alex Rodriguez and the child at the game. I think my most heated indignation is still past because he was more direct in his apology. Yet, I think he went so far that he will not regain positive status with me and for me, personally, his comedic career is over. I guess I am not so stern that I would continue to demand his resignation or firing. I think his ratings will suffer, however.

  3. I'd say I'd stop watching his show, but the fact is I stopped watching it back in high school (80s). I'd say I lost respect for him, but I never had any toward him to begin with.

    I do hope that he does suffer some natural consequences regardless of whether he is fired or not. He obviously is feeling some heat or else he wouldn't have made the apology.

  4. What people fail to say is that Letterman had his son out of wedlock and Obama's Mamma did too. They love to pick on Palin. What is the old saying out not throwing stones if you live in a glass house??

  5. My thoughts?

    “I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the Governor and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani”

    OK. If she's there w/Rudy, why joke about a daughter at all? She has three daughters. If you're going to be 'classy', or Letterman classy, and pick on the one who's 'of age', why not identify her.

    My thoughts?

    Too little, too late, still not an APOLOGY, more like an explanation. “I didn't mean for all you ignorant people to take it this way, and I apologize for your misunderstanding of my joke.”

    My thoughts?

    BS. Palin was in New York for the Autism Walk, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AK. Every article I saw referencing the governor specified that she was there with 14 year old Willow.

    Bah.

  6. Now that Gov. Palin has accepted Letterboy's apology, someone suggested that the rally scheduled for today be turned into a pro-Palin rally instead of an anti-Letterman rally. Even in NY Gov. Palin has a lot of support, witness the 20,000+ who turned out to see her in Auburn, and the warm reception she received on Long Island at the Autism walk.

  7. It'll be interesting to see how this continues to play out. I think Governor Palin made the right choice to apologize and let it go.

    That doesn't mean Letterman's off the hook though.

  8. I agree that he shouldn't have tried to explain himself. Even if he truly didn't know ignorance is not an excuse. Also it doesn't really matter since it was inappropriate either way.

  9. I believe Letterman's story and think he should be forgiven for the “joke” about Willow. If you've watched everything he's said on this, it's clear he never considered whether or not any of the family was, in fact, with Governor Palin at the Yankee's game. That was a stupid mistake, yes, not to find out who was there with her, but I don't think they even knew who was there with her.

    Letterman says he intended to be joking about Bristol, so you can reasonably debate against him that he should never have made the “joke” about Bristol, either.

    Letterman is in that crowd who has no idea that there are Palin supporters keeping up with every activity in which she's involved — hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who knew IMMEDIATELY (unlike Letterman who hadn't even checked) that it was Willow who was at the game with her. If you try to understand what was actually going through Letterman's mind, it was not, in any way, what we all perceived it to be.

    Governor Palin herself kind of laughed off Letterman's “flight attendant” comments, but didn't, at the time, know about the other “joke” about the Yankees game. Governor Palin was rightly outraged and also has done nothing wrong in her response. Everyone was right to be angry, but he has given an explanation that I believe, has said that he would never have made a joke like that about a 14-year-old, and has apologized. For that, he should be forgiven. For his not understanding that he shouldn't have said it about an 18-year-old, either, he should be educated.

    It's clear that Letterman went into that joke operating on the notion that most people think Bristol is promiscuous in a manner that can be demeaned even by leftists. If that is the case, those people would have found the joke to be funny. Letterman doesn't say anything unless he thinks it's going to get laughs.

    This is all very revealing, Shane, and I think where the conversation on all this needs to go now. Is abstinence “realistic”? Or not? Leftists say it's not realistic. At the same time, if an eighteen-year-old is pregnant out of wedlock, she's suddenly a harlot who can be joked about in her “harlotry”. Understand where this leads us? It leads us directly into abortion.

    So, yes, I forgive Letterman for his apology that it was perceived as a joke about statutory rape. Now let's hear him apologize for promoting abortion among young women by making it okay to humiliate those who get pregnant. I'd be glad to explain to the truly clueless how that contributes to abortion, but I think most people can figure it out.

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