New York Times media columnist Bill Carter reports:
David Letterman directly apologized to Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughters on his program Monday night, saying he took responsibility for a joke that had offended Ms. Palin, her family, and her supporters.
Mr. Letterman opened the desk portion of his show with the apology in which he said he wanted to say he was sorry to “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.” Two weeks ago on his “Late Show” program on CBS, he had joked about Governor Palin attending a Yankee game with her daughter.
Up against a planned Tuesday rally calling for his firing and a boycott of Letterman’s sponsors by Sarah Palin supporters and others, the late night talk show host apparently decided that he had gotten himself into a war he could not win.
“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,” she said.
“Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction,” Palin said. “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.”
Embassy Suites had yanked its advertising from CBS’ website, as company spokeswoman Kendra Walker explained:
“We received lots of e-mails from concerned guests and we assessed that the statement that he made was offensive enough to our guests and prospective guests that we elected to take the ads down,”
CBS executives, meanwhile, insist that they put no pressure on Letterman to apologize and that there has been no real impact on advertisers from the protests. And if you believe that, they have some slightly used Letterman jokes they would like to sell you.
Radio talk show host and documentary film maker John Ziegler, contacted before the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate issued her statement of acceptance, had said that a “Fire David Letterman” rally scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in New York, would go on as scheduled.