I've been watching with some amusement the growing controversy regarding David Letterman's jokes about Sarah Palin's daughter. I watched the now-famous non-apology and I thought he handled it pretty well. I might have actually gone in a different direction, though, if the facts support it.
You see, my guess is that the jokes were written by someone or several folks who didn't bother to check on which daughter was traveling with Palin. So they wrote a bunch of jokes that were fair game for an eighteen-year-old but not a fourteen-year-old. Dave could have gone on the air and said something like this:
"We've been getting a lot of calls and emails and reading in the press the comments about former VP candidate Sarah Palin complaining about the jokes we made about her visit to New York, some of which included jokes about her daughter. According to Govenor Palin, those comments were directed at her fourteen-year-old daughter, Willow, and the govenor has called me a pervert and her husband has accused me of promoting the rape of fourteen-year-old girls.
"Nothing could be further from the truth.
"I am completely aghast at the concept that anyone out there thinks these jokes were about Willow. I would never joke about a young girl in such an inappropriate manner. I am a parent and I completely understand the powerful emotions such comments would bring about in the Palins...if I were actually talking about the fourteen-year-old daughter, Willow.
"Which, of course, I wasn't.
"You see, we're running a talk show here, where we tell jokes. This isn't THE NEW YORKER or THE NEW YORK TIMES. So sometimes our fact-checking isn't the best. You see, we thought it was the other daughter traveling with the govenor. You know, Bristol, the eighteen-year-old daughter, the one of legal age, and also, not coincidentally, the one who got knocked up and had a baby out of wedlock. The jokes, which we admit might have been a bit tacky, were aimed at her. But, then again, have you been watching our show? Because not being tacky isn't exactly something for which we are famous.
"So, to the Palins, and to Willow, I apologize. I absolutely wasn't talking about Willow and I wish her well and hope that she understands that sometimes people make mistakes. Just like her parents did, when they didn't teach her sister, Bristol, to be safe and use birth control if she was going to have sex with her boyfriend.