Letterman apologizes for joke, but Palin supporters vow to continue fight
Under fire for a risque joke last week, David Letterman has apologized to Gov. Sarah Palin and her supporters. But a group urging CBS to fire the host says it's still not enough.
On CBS' "Late Show" tonight, Letterman says he's sorry about a monologue earlier this month in which he joked that New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez impregnated Palin's daughter during a game. Letterman has said he intended the joke to be in reference to Palin's 18-year-old daughter Bristol, but Gov. Palin actually attended the game with her 14-year-old daughter Willow. Some critics have accused Letterman of joking about statutory rape.
"I told a bad joke," Letterman told viewers at an afternoon taping. "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."
He concluded, "I'm sorry about it and I'll try to do better in the future."
However, the Los Angeles talk radio host behind the group firedavidletterman.com told The Times that Letterman's apology falls short.
"I'm glad he's acknowledged we're right," said John Ziegler, a creator of the film "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted" and who this month began a new show on KGIL. "I think it's a good first step in the right direction, but I don't think it's enough." Part of the problem, he added, is that Letterman made a "horrendous attempt at an apology" last week, when he devoted several relatively light-hearted minutes to the controversy, invited Palin on his program and repeated the joke.
Ziegler said he was not sure what sanction Letterman should face, but options should include suspension and firing. The host could also donate to a charity of Gov. Palin's choice, he said. Meanwhile, the group is still planning a rally Tuesday outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, where Letterman tapes his show.
CBS did not respond to a request for comment beyond Letterman's remarks.