Last night's "apology" to Gov. Palin by comedian David Letterman "is slippery and Clintonian" but Gov. Sarah Palin "was right to rise above it and accept it," Media Research Center President Brent Bozell noted in a statement released today.
While the CBS "Late Show" host issued what many are calling a full and complete apology to Gov. Palin, Mr. Bozell argued it is far from an unequivocal apology:
Letterman's ‘apology' is slippery and Clintonian. He talked about the ‘perception' of his joke three times in his statement. He then goes on to say twice that he was ‘misunderstood.'
There's no perception, no misunderstanding. The public understood exactly what he said - joking about statutory rape - and was outraged. It was David Letterman who misunderstood who was in the audience, as if making a degrading joke about an 18-year-old girl is much more acceptable than taking the cheap shot at her 14-year-old sister.
It's noteworthy that Mr. Letterman didn't take the opportunity to apologize for describing Governor Palin as looking like a ‘slutty flight attendant.' That kind of insult apparently continues to be acceptable in his world.
The transcript of Letterman's statement delivered last night follows (emphasis ours):
"... 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."