This isn't the first time David Letterman has crossed the boundaries of good taste and been needlessly crude and demeaning to women, and it probably won't be the last. He's been doing it for years, only he used to recognize it himself and make amends quickly.
In 1999, a band that I worked with for many years, Sixpence None The Richer, appeared on Letterman's couch, and its very married and very sweet lead singer Leigh Nash was asked by the host to explain the meaning behind the band's name. As the visibly nervous and anxious Nash attempted to explain, Letterman interrupted: "Are you staying in town?" When she hesitated, unsure where the question was leading, he continued, "Could I drop by the hotel?"
Leigh didn't demand an apology, but her sweet and innocent response as she looked behind the couch to her bandmates for help and then shyly looked back at Letterman spoke volumes and shamed the talk show host into responding: "I'm being needlessly coarse. I'm sorry."
You can see the whole encounter, Letterman's boorishness and Leigh's classiness, here.
Palin may be overplaying her hand a bit byinsinuating that Letterman can't be trusted to be near her 14-year old, but Letterman needs to stop with the smart-aleck explanations and offer the same apology to Willow Palin and her family that he once offered to another sweet, young woman a decade ago: "I'm being needlessly coarse. I'm sorry."
Mark Joseph is a film producer and marketing expert who has worked on the development and marketing of 25 films. His most recent book is The Lion, The Professor & The Movies: Narnia's Journey To The Big Screen.