An angry mob convened outside the "Late Show" studio Tuesday to demand that CBS "fire David Letterman." In addition to missing a more significant protest about the rape of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Palin defenders once again resorted to hate speech to take down a Palin foe. They called Letterman's son, who was born out of wedlock, a "bastard," his wife a "slut" and Letterman himself a "child abuser" and "a verbal pedophile." And this was after Letterman apologized for his joke about Sarah Palin's daughter, saying it was "beyond flawed" and could not be defended.
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So was Palin's campaign against the Letterman joke an altruistic defense of her family, or yet another political maneuver to use her family to remain in the spotlight?
During the campaign, a handful of late-night comedians made remarkably similar jokes about Palin's daughters. Here's Jay Leno on September 2:
Governor Palin announced over the weekend that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter is five months pregnant. And you thought John Edwards was in trouble before! Now he has really done it.
Why make a stink now and not during the campaign? As Kevin Drum points out, Palin was once again motivated by politics, "looking for some free publicity, and getting her supporters worked up over a supposed insult from a dissolute member of the East Coast liberal elite played directly into her standard class resentment schtick."
The irony of this whole episode, of course, is that it has been great for Letterman's ratings, elevating them above the consistently-dominant "Tonight Show," which is now led by Conan O'Brien. This is why Letterman owes Palin a thank you, not an apology.