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David Letterman Wins Ratings War Again, Thanks Largely To Palin

Based on the ratings from last evening, David Letterman appears to be building a clear and steady ratings lead over Conan O'Brien as the Sarah Palin controversy along with some big name stars has helped Letterman cement his recent ratings gains. At the same time, Sarah Palin appears to be using the Letterman controversy to create some sort of values campaign issue. The reality is that both have emerged as gaining something from the controversy.palin-letterman.jpg

The truth is that comics tell many jokes, many of which may not always be in the best of taste. Sometimes cheap jokes get cheap laughs. And comedy cannot always be so concerned about hurt feelings. However, Palin's fight with Letterman doesn't appear as real genuine here, and certainly seems more contrived than anything. Palin also hoped to get some political mileage out of another David Letterman joke about her buying makeup at Bloomingdales to get that "slutty stewardess" look, but Palin failed to rally a mob of pitchfork carrying slutty stewardess types with this phony victim's rant as much as her phony victim's rant about the mild Alex Rodriguez joke garnered.

Palin's complaints about the Letterman joke appear to be more of the same old right wing culture smear politics that attempt to falsely blame popular culture for causing crimes such as rape just as much as those old 1930's smears by the old Ku Klux Klan against minorities, claiming that just the very presence of minorities contributes to rape. Whenever the far right wants to obfuscate an issue, they holler rape, much as some lunatic would holler fire in a crowded theatre hoping to create some havoc.

The fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin is a pretty insignificant politician that only speaks for a small fringe of supporters. And it is unclear whether she will even run for re-election for Alaska governor in 2010. However, odds are that she is putting together a presidential bid to nowhere for 2012. But at least David Letterman is laughing. His ratings are way up. And he is cementing a position as the new king of late night TV once again, which he lost a few years ago to Jay Leno as Conan O'Brien struggles to build a new audience for his 11:35 version of the TONIGHT SHOW.


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Rating: 5/5 (3 votes cast)


Comments (12)

andrew:

"Palin's complaints about the Letterman joke appear to be more of the same old right wing culture smear politics that attempt to falsely blame popular culture for causing crimes such as rape just as much as those old 1930's smears by the old Ku Klux Klan against minorities, claiming that just the very presence of minorities contributes to rape. Whenever the far right wants to obfuscate an issue, they holler rape, much as some lunatic would holler fire in a crowded theatre hoping to create some havoc."

This is deranged even by the usual subterranean standards of this blog.

Rich Fader:

Ah, but Sarah Palin is not the one who made a crack about a young Hispanic male raping a young white girl. David Letterman is.

Reagan:

Culture smear? So, any stupid joke can be instantly considered part of American culture?

Good thing there is a bit of a democratic process and time for reason to take hold involved with that (determining our collective culture). Letterman smeared the joke himself when he finally apologized. She simply gave him a slap for what he said. And you want to cane her for it? His apology vindicates the slap he got. Let it rest. It's over, isn't it? Dave so much admitted that what he said was basically stupid. Why can't you?

What happened to the "words have consequences" mantra of a couple weeks ago?

Lee Ward:

I think many have missed the point Palin made - painfully - poignantly - that's she a professional victim.

"Oh look how they are beating up on me"...

How sad for Palin to be reduced to falling over and playing the victim to gain sympathy.

Reagan:

I recall you making the case for Hillary Clinton being a victim of media bias during the last Democratic party nomination cycle.

So, now the media doesn't play favorites and use their power in order to make one person look good and the other look bad?

I don't concede your assertion that she is laying out a victim card. She may be shedding light on the double standard, but she sure isn't claiming to be a 'victim' of anything.

She gave a couple of great speeches, for sure... but, that and executive experience does not a President make. Oh, that's right. She ran as vice president. Next to a left leaning "Republican" Presidential candidate at that.

Maybe I'll get to know more about the person that almost got John McCain (R?) elected President. Keep 'em coming. They are showing us what backbone is.

They lost 48 to 52 when it was supposed to be much worse. Who knows what percentage of that 48 was all Sarah Palin.

I simply voted against someone (again). It will be interesting to learn more about her.

Lee Ward:

I haven't seen any bias in the coverage of the Palin/Letterman kerfluffle, nor have I seen any credible claims by others backed up with any evidence.

"Maybe I'll get to know more about the person that almost got John McCain (R?) elected President. Keep 'em coming. They are showing us what backbone is."

There are religious extremists who would vote for McCain/Palin simply because of Sarah, but that's already part of the remaining 20 percent (or is down to 18% now?)

I don't see Palin drawing votes away from Obama. Anyone crazy enough to support Sarah Palin was also crazy enough to support McCain -- or at a very minimum they would have stayed home and not voted at all.

I sincerely hope Sarah Palin gets on the 2012 Presidential ticket, I really do.

drlava:

Wasn't there supposed to be a protest by Palin-ites at the Ed Sullivan Theater last night?

I would have loved to have seen that group.

I think it's great that in America we can have Americans that because of our proud men and women in our armed forces in uniform have the right to speak freely and exorcise their God given rights in this great country of America to appreciate the men and women who keep us safe and our children.

Bunker:

Wait.

Conan just took the 18-49 Rating from Dave.

Dave took the overall rating.

That to me is at best a loss, but at worst a draw for Conan.

Come on Paul, I loved your article on canceled shows this year (RIP The Unit and Sarah Conner), but anyone who knows TV as well as you do to write that piece knows that the 18-49 trumps overall numbers (especially 18-49 females).

I like Dave but have always liked Conan more, so take my views with a grain of salt. To use boxing terms I look at it like Dave has won the belt by default with Leno retiring. I like the fact that Conan is hanging tough in the early rounds and see it as a sign he will beat the old pro very soon. Tonight's demographic win is a nice shot and a standing 8 count for Dave.

Dave's Palin joke was horrible. He should have just said "I thought Bristol was at the game and I am sorry" it would still be bad but people would forgive him. Most of the people that watch Dave are not bible thumping Repubs. But the joke and two apologies were so bad that he is losing the demographic he used to own.

Palin accepted his apology and defended free speech. I liked that and wish some of the people that were rabid about Mel Gibson or Don Imus had the smarts to do the same thing as the "slutty flight attendant".

Bunker:

Above should have said "That to me is at best a loss, but at worst a draw for Dave."

drlava:

I had averaged IQs of Palin-ites at around 80. After viewing this video I am guessing that they average out about where the tea-baggers are, around 65.


http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/06/video_rabid_letterman_protesto.html

ed davis:

By marginalizing people, you also insinuate that Sir Isaac Newton was a moron, drlava. He is in the same group of people that believe in or have believed in God, you know.

LiberalNightmare:

So who was lifted higher by the story?

Dave Letterman the sorta funny guy with a late night tv show for the past 25 or so years, bypassed for the tonite show and now in a ratings race with Conan O'Brian?

Or Sara Palin the "pretty insignificant politician that only speaks for a small fringe of supporters" who has been the top of the news cycle for the past week?


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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