Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin accepted David Letterman’s apology “on behalf of young women, like my daughters, who hope men who ‘joke’ about public displays of sexual exploitation of girls will soon evolve.”
Her supporters vow to continue to protest this evening, but what else could she have done but accept the apology? He did it twice, although the first time was much more tinged with humor than last night. Most media feuds have a short shelf life, primarily because the longer they go on, the more the public starts to think that they aren’t really real and are merely publicity stunts.
This kicks the wind out of the feud, but it doesn’t mean it’s over. Palin undoubtedly will talk about it more when asked, and, in addition to revving up her base, she’ll probably be treated with kid gloves for a while on Letterman. Embassy Suites pulled advertising because of the complaints, but it was from CBS.com, not the show itself.
Her statement went on: “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.”
Letterman said in his apology: “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.”
For all the effort among the Palin camp to make Letterman out to be lecherous, I still don’t see how he’s lost this feud. As for calls of him being fired, it’d be quite expensive for CBS, which just signed him to a new contract. The coup for Letterman will be to get Palin as a guest on his show, which would be a ratings event in a time of increasing competition. and I won’t be at all surprised if it happens.
Alan Schroeder writes in Politico, “Which brings us to the fundamental problem faced by all politicians who engage in sparring matches with high-profile entertainers: no matter the circumstances, victory almost inevitably goes to the entertainer.
“Pop cultural history abounds with instances of pols butting heads with popular show business figures. In the 1970s Richard Nixon got so exercised by the stars of stage and screen that he put ten of them on his enemies list; when their names were revealed he looked not only vindictive but also downright delusional – Carol Channing? Dan Quayle sparked ridicule for lobbing grenades at Murphy Brown, a fictional character on a fictional television show (ironically, that flare-up also dealt with unwed mothers.) The first President Bush decried the “incivility” of The Simpsons, and in the show’s next season he turned up prominently as the butt of a joke.”