Tuesday, June 16, 2009

suddenly it matters

"Sarah Palin is going to drop the first puck at the Philadelphia Flyers hockey game. Then Palin will spend the rest of the game trying to keep the hockey players out of her daughter's penalty box."
a joke told by conan o'brien, last october. when bristol palin was 17. palin didn't seem to object to the many, many jokes told about her family back during the campaign.
It's conceivable that Palin was aware of the late-night jokes made about her daughter during the campaign and wanted to fight back, but kept quiet as a strategic matter, says Tim Graham, the director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog organization.

A more cynical view may be that Palin had more than enough media attention last fall, and that her Letterman broadside was designed to renew attention when the spotlight is dimming. Palin may even have been aware of a Gallup poll released last week showing that she attracted less than 1 percent of Republicans who were asked to name the "main person who speaks for the Republican Party today."
does sarah palin's political strategy really matter here, in the grand scheme of apologies and taking offense? nope. (and listening to last night's apology, it sounds as though letterman has had a little diversity training on the subject.)

it's ultimately about intent and impact. in the end, it doesn't matter "what you meant." it isn't for the offender to judge whether or not someone should be hurt or offended. the intent may have been innocent, but it's the impact of the words that one needs to take ownership of, responsibility for.

last night, david letterman did just that.

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