The fallout over David Letterman’s tasteless joke about Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter has spun out of control ever since it hit the airwaves on June 8, 2009. "One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game," Letterman said, "during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."In the midst of the chatter, reactions by the Palin family, and finally an apology by Letterman on the Late Show June 15th, the furor escalated to the point where protesters gathered across the street from New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater on June 16th, holding signs that read “Dirty Ole Man” or “We are ALL the Palins,” and wanted CBS to penalize, suspend, or fire Letterman. I’m still waiting for Janeane Garofalo to claim that this protest was about racism and the protesters are all “racists”! I must say that this particular news story was over-inflated by many, including the media, and I feel that Letterman’s final apology is sincere, I don’t think he should be fired, it’s time to change the channel on this one! However, I do believe this opens up a bigger issue: the children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to crude jokes and satire.
That being said, no gossip story is complete until The View, starring Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Whoopi Goldberg, and Sherri Shepherd, puts its two cents in the pile.
The View, the value of which I don’t see, but which I happened to catch on the news, started off pretty fair and reasonable, with a very accurate reaction to Letterman's joke by Barbara Walters, “There is something about talking about anybody's child, I mean, however you feel about Sarah Palin, she is — and the family, they are a devoted family. You can say anything you want about me. We — I’ll say this: don't talk about my child. And that is something that I guess even humorists have to understand.”
But it quickly digressed, with Behar continually clawing at the Palins and Bristol, complaining, “no, it's the hypocrisy” and “they preach abstinence then she gets knocked up, that’s the joke.”
Although Hasselbeck and Shepherd tried to set Behar straight, she didn’t get it. Give that woman a dictionary! Hypocrisy is the false claim to, or pretense of, having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings.
First, when Bristol Palin got pregnant she was not publicly preaching abstinence, she was trying to follow her family values and some sense of morality. Second, it is not hypocrisy when you are a parent teaching values to your kids and they happen to break the rules. It’s no different than if you teach your kids to say “no” to drugs and they try them anyway, does that make you and your family hypocrites? NO, but it would be hypocritical to tell your kids not to do drugs while you are sitting there toking on a bong! I wonder what Behar would have to say if Michael Phelps starting doing ads against drug use? Probably nothing! Bristol Palin is not claiming high morality; she is accepting responsibility for her mistake, with the hopes that other teens won’t make the same one! Is that hypocrisy? I think not. There is nothing false in a scenario about a young girl who made a misstep (a big one at that) by not following her family’s belief that abstinence is the best means to prevent pregnancy (and other obvious problems), wanting to make it right, and trying to educate others on the consequences that stem from teen pregnancy.