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Wag the Blog Redux: Palin vs Letterman



Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and comedian David Letterman. Photos by Rick Wilking of Reuters and John Paul Reuters/CBS

A week after cracking a joke about the daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, late night comedian David Letterman formally apologized last night.

"I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception," Letterman said. "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."

This should (one hopes) bring an end to this drama. But, before we close the books, we wanted to revisit the Fix community's reaction to the back and forth.

Last week we asked Fixistas to sound off on whether Letterman was wrong in making the joke and whether Palin's response was purely a mother defending a child or rather a bit of political gamesmanship.

Post Digital intern Emily Canal sorted through the more than 500(!) comments and plucked the best of the best.

Here they are:

"I am a fan of Letterman and enjoyed seeing his show live in March. I do think he went too far with his jokes about Palin's family, though -- while Dave admitted the jokes were tasteless, it would have been more accurate to say that they were mean spirited.
Having said that, Palin's perpetuating response is over the top because Letterman was doing jokes, not serious commentary. Each time she speaks on this topic, thereby keeping it in the news, she seems more and more self serving at the expense of the family she is purportedly trying to protect."

Posted by: jrosco3

"So if comedians made crude, tasteless 'jokes' about the Obama girls, will all of those who think this type of 'humor' is acceptable defend comedians' right to joke about sexual innuendos aimed at the Obama children? Or, would that be tagged as racist when it's actually misogynistic? I fear that too many people don't understand that permissive comments such as these devalue all women and girls. It's too bad that many feminists don't see that disrespectful remarks about any female is unacceptable. Letterman crossed the line and owes a stronger apology than I think he will offer."

Posted by: annetta3

"It was the Palins who dropped their kids into the shark tank of the public realm, which is where the likes of Leno, Letterman, and Conan feed freely. And an 18-year old is an adult, so I guess Bristol is technically fair game. But, still, this joke makes me cringe. It's easy to poke fun at the Palins -- so easy that it's hard to know when you've crossed the line. Adult or not, teenagers getting knocked up is not very funny. Otherwise, I think Letterman is hilarious."

Posted by: dognabbit

"Letterman was not out of line with his jokes. Palin has used her daughter as a prop, trotting her out everytime she has a 'family values' statement to make. If her daughter lived a private life, protected from the public eye then, yes, Letterman would have crossed the line. But Palin ensures her daughter is in the public eye, thus making her fair game for late night jokes, however tasteless."

Posted by: DanielfromCanada

"Letterman has a young son named Harry. Suppose someone made a horrible sexual joke about his son, would Letterman like it? Of course not. No one wants their child made fun of. Letter[man] is no longer funny, just mean."

Posted by: edgar_sousa

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 16, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

Dave Letterman needs to be fired just like Don Imus. How would the letterman defenders and lovers feel about him saying the same about their sister, daughter, mother or wife. Come On - get with the program. Letterman is a perverted Comedian
and needs to be punished for it. Remember this was not a stand up joke. It was written by the joke writers at CBS, passed by the review editors of CBS and then read off of a cue card - all of CBS is at fault, but letterman the pervert read it on national TV.

The sponsors of his show need to withdraw their advertising from this kind of idiot!

Posted by: fgalus | June 17, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Levi Johnson should be on for raping Bristol Palin, unless Sarah claims it's OK and proof that Retardicans are rapists and child molesters. Posted by: Rush_Limbaugh
-----------
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAA
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA

ONLY A ROCK COULD COME UP WITH THIS KIND OF IDIOTIC COMMENT.

Posted by: opp88 | June 17, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Posted by: drindl
------------
DUDE CLINTON'S DAUGHTER IS FINER THAN FROG HAIR SPLIT THREE WAYS... THATS FREAKING FINE.

DUDE...ARE YOU COMPARING CHELSEA WITH BRISTOL?

YOUR COMPARING A LAMBORGHINI WITH A PINTO!

Posted by: opp88 | June 17, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

PALINS DEVOURED BY ALASKAN WOLVES.

Posted by: opp88 | June 17, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

DID YOU SEE THOSE UGLY ACE WOMEN PROTESTING IN FRONT OF LETTERMANS PLACE OF WORK?

LETS GO PROTEST IN FRONT OF THESE FUGLY ACE BEEEEOTCHES PLACE OF WORK... DON'T THOSE FUGLY ACE BIIIISHES WORK.

TO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS.

LET IT BE KNOWN THAT DAVID LETTERMAN IS MY HERO.

Posted by: opp88 | June 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Late night comedian makes tasteless joke.

Rightwingers' world crumbles.

Get over it, people. Where was your outrage when no less than JOHN MCCAIN said -- when Chelsea was 14:

Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.

Posted by: drindl | June 17, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Geez, Palin never said boo when SNL, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno et al made similar jokes. A quick Google will bring up the other jokes, a couple which are more "distasteful" than Letterman's. Her 10 minutes is the sun is about over.

Posted by: ILDem | June 17, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Không người này muốn truyền với em nên tất cả mọi người biết rồi em là thằng ngốc.

Tôi nói rồ, tôi nói lại, xin ra đi và không bao giờ đi về.

Thằng ngốc ngu dại.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 17, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

And to think how many times I lowered myself to responding to that sponge-brain. What the hell could I have been thinking ...`

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

What's worse: 200 rapes per year or 2,000 rapes per year?

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Miller123:

Sure, per capita, smaller States seem to be a problem until you realize there are THOUSANDS of forcible rapes in bigger States. What's next, some false story about Gov. Palin charging victims for rape kits?

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

And current and former officials from Palin's administration confirmed that an ambitious plan to tackle the crisis has apparently sunk into doldrums after arriving at the governor's office.

==

No doubt she's concerned that too strong an outrage over rape might in some way encourage abortions among raped women.

And she would probably rather leave the matter to the "privit secter"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Now Palin can be a voice in the state that leads the country in rape and sexual abuse of woman and children. She won't have to go far. She can see it from her window...its Alaska.
What's happening in Alaska is more serious than Letterman's joke.

ABC)Alaska leads the nation in reported forcible rapes per capita, according to the FBI, with a rate two and a half times the national average – a ranking it has held for many years. Children are no safer: Public safety experts believe that the prevalence of rape and sexual assault of minors in Alaska makes the state's record one of the worst in the U.S. And while solid statistics on domestic violence are hard to come by, most – including Gov. Palin – agree it is an "epidemic." Despite the governor's pro-family image, public safety experts and advocates for women and children struggled when asked to explain how Palin's leadership has helped address the crisis. And current and former officials from Palin's administration confirmed that an ambitious plan to tackle the crisis has apparently sunk into doldrums after arriving at the governor's office.

Posted by: MILLER123 | June 16, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

nancytropoli:

It doesn't necessarily have to be a SEXUAL joke to be similarly unacceptable -- perhaps something about their mixed race -- let's see if Letterman ever goes there.

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt Obama's daughters would get pregnant accidentally. They have good parents, have been well-raised, and they're smart.

Bristol has a fou8l-mouthed foul-minded opportunist for a mother, has been raised by a clod-stupid family, and from all indications she herself is a cow.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

nancytropoli:

You are aware that Obama "thrust" his daughters into the limelight last year, too, right? So, he put them in the public eye. "Fair game" you say -- they missed school too -- would a similar "joke" about Sasha and/or Malia be appropriate then?

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin should have thought about protecting her family before she thrust them into the limelight last year. When she pulled her children out of school to hit the campaign trail attending numerous campaign events, invited or not, Palin was putting them in the public eye. Fair game.

==

And "poor innocent child" Bristol has been cashing in on Mom's notoriety promoting the same phony sex education that failed in her case.

These people are trash.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin should have thought about protecting her family before she thrust them into the limelight last year. When she pulled her children out of school to hit the campaign trail attending numerous campaign events, invited or not, Palin was putting them in the public eye. Fair game.
If she was really concerned about her family, they would have stayed home going to school like the Obama children. Letterman jokes are tasteless and funny. His apology was even funny. Go Dave!

Posted by: nancytropoli | June 16, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

I'd hardly call him a major GOP strategist. Also, he sort of apologized. He's sorry that he offended anyone.

You know, I wonder why people bother with non-apology apologies. They are transparent as hell. Why not just lie about having genuine contrition?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2009 7:40 PM
______________
You're right. It was the standard non-apology apology. I am sorry if anyone was offended by... As if it was the fault of the target of the slur.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 16, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"Why aren't they talking about the insult to Michelle's ancestors the other day by a major GOP strategist. No apology so far in either case."

I'd hardly call him a major GOP strategist. Also, he sort of apologized. He's sorry that he offended anyone.

You know, I wonder why people bother with non-apology apologies. They are transparent as hell. Why not just lie about having genuine contrition?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Sure, truble2301, just as soon as your side stops making fun of her family.

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Waaaaaaaaaaaa, so the raping of Bristol Palin by Levi Johnson is no big deal? What a sick family! I guess that explains your the conservative logic: http://www.armchairsubversive.org/ and why this is no big deal.

Posted by: Rush_Limbaugh | June 16, 2009 6:42 PM"
_____________
Rush, you have turned over a new leaf. Congratulations. I like your style. I'm going to keep an eye on you.

But lose some weight, dude.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 16, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you are extending this woman's 15 minutes of (totally undeserved) fame. I can only imagine the heat put on Letterman to apologize--if you want to do some real journalism, find out WHY Dave, who doesn't seem like a wimp, apologized.

How is it Palin does not have to apologize to Obama for (allegedly) calling him S@mbo or to musician Gregory Charles Royal for what she (allegedly) said to him (which I can't repeat here)?

Why isn't the MSM, including the Fix, talking about the GOPer who just created the montage of Presidents photos that shows BHO as a sp--k? Why aren't they talking about the insult to Michelle's ancestors the other day by a major GOP strategist. No apology so far in either case.

The good news for O-Nation is: thanks to the MSM chasing this phony story, Palin will probably be the nominee in 2012; she is clearly the favorite of "the Base," the Von Brunn crowd. Wink. Wink. You betcha. The biggest electoral blowout in modern history.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | June 16, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

bid = big (darn Spell Checker ; )

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Rush_Limbaugh:

If Levi had "raped" Bristol, that would indeed be a bid deal. You see, in Alaska, the age of consent is 16. In New York, however, sex between Willow (14) and A-Rod (34) would be statutory rape. Did you know that Willow was the only Palin daughter at the Yankee game in question?

As long as you answer my questions in a civil manner, I will always return the same common courtesy.

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

R_L: lest we forget, this is a family that walks on all fours when away from reporters.

Don't bother with JakeD, he's one of three people (along with king_of_zouk and scrivener50) who only come here to bust up the discussions with baiting remarks. If they get responses, things fall apart here. That's what the "civil" admonition is about.

The fact that Bristol Palin managed to get preggers after an "abstinence-only" education and then went on the stump promoting the sexual pedagogy that failed in her case is a joke waiting to be told.

The fact that her mom has the crudest mouth in politics makes her crocodile tears yet another. Letterman should have told her to take an effin' walk.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Levi Johnson should be on http://www.armchairsubversive.org/ for raping Bristol Palin, unless Sarah claims it's OK and proof that Retardicans are rapists and child molesters.

Posted by: Rush_Limbaugh | June 16, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Sure, truble2301, just as soon as your side stops making fun of her family.

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Waaaaaaaaaaaa, so the raping of Bristol Palin by Levi Johnson is no big deal? What a sick family! I guess that explains your the conservative logic: http://www.armchairsubversive.org/ and why this is no big deal.

Posted by: Rush_Limbaugh | June 16, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Sara, your daughter was raped by Levi, and you're going after David Letterman? you an anti-Semite?

Posted by: Rush_Limbaugh | June 16, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Sure, truble2301, just as soon as your side stops making fun of her family.

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop giving Caribou Barbie the attention she clearly is so desperate for?

Posted by: truble2301 | June 16, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

For all the protestors

– it’s not like Mr. Letterman started a war that cost over 4,000 young Americans their lives (and many Iraqis)

– its not like Mr. Letterman requested a memo that redefined torture to avoid the Geneva conventions and then permit and/or order prisoners to be tortured (in violation of everything this country stands for)

– its not like Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien joked back in 2008 that John Ewards knocked up Bristol (before Bristol became national abstinence spokeswoman). Oh wait, they did. Should we fire all comedians?

A little perspective goes a long way.

Posted by: jonas3 | June 16, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Letterman was so out of line on this one... WE didn't "misunderstand" the joke... it was crude, insensitive and wasn't even funny. He's really scraping the bottom of the joke pile. He deserved every twit of criticism he got. What a dufus. By the way, bringing your child with you on trips does not mean they become "bait" for dirty old men.

Posted by: jeandulaney | June 16, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Emily Canal:

As I said on that thread, sorry you had to wade through all of that ; )

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I know that I keep the discussion "civil".

Posted by: JakeD | June 16, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

ANOTHER Palin posting?!? Aren't there more important things going on right now than the checkout-counter saga of this horrid woman and her rapidly-growing white trash family?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 16, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Remember, we're keeping it civil!

Posted by: DDAWD | June 16, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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