What Letterman is doing is mobbing, not humor — today's action to FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN targets sponsor Johnson & Johnson

by CynthiaYockey on June 21, 2009

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David Letterman’s attacks on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her daughters on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on CBS on June 8 and 9, and his sham apologies on June 10 and June 15, are grounds for persuading CBS to fire him. He made degrading sexual remarks about Gov. Palin and joking about her daughter being raped in front of her. He played his insincere apologies for laughs and used them to throw salt in the wound. The bottom line is that his attacks were not only degrading to ALL women, but also were a warning to any politician he disagrees with that he will treat them — and their children — the same way. His behavior is sexist because his remarks were degrading and humiliating on the basis of female characteristics. What he did was bullying because he was humiliating an adversary who cannot fight back.

But what Letterman did also can be called mobbing.

Wikipedia cites the book Mobbing, Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace (p. 21, 2005) for the first use of the term being applied to animal behavior:

“In the sixties, the eminent Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz used the English term mobbing to describe the behaviour that animals use to scare away a stronger, preying enemy. A number of weaker individuals crowd together and display attacking behavior, such as geese scaring away a fox.”

Wikipedia notes that the Royal Society for Protection of Birds describes mobbing as it is done by birds:

Mobbing is a noisy, obvious form of behaviour that birds engage in to defend themselves or their offspring from predators. When a predator is discovered, the birds start to emit alarm calls and fly at the predator, diverting its attention and harassing it. Sometimes they make physical contact. Mobbing usually starts with just one or two birds, but may attract a large number of birds, often of many species. For example, a chorus of different alarm calls coming from the same tree is often a good sign of a roosting owl or a cat.

Mobbing behaviour has been recorded in a wide range of species, but it is particularly well developed in gulls and terns, while crows are amongst the most frequent mobbers. In addition to flying at the predator and emitting alarm calls, some birds, such as fieldfares and gulls, add to the effectiveness by defecating or even vomiting on the predator with amazing accuracy… [my emphasis].

Wikipedia notes:

Research into the phenomenon [of mobbing by humans] was pioneered in the 1980’s by German-born Swedish scientist Heinz Leymann, who borrowed the term from animal behavior due to it describing perfectly how a group can attack an individual based only the negative covert communications from the group.

… German, Polish and several other European languages have adopted mobbing as a loanword to describe all forms of bullying including that by single persons. The resultant German verb mobben can also be used for physical attacks, calumny against teachers on the internet and intimidation by superiors, with an emphasis on the victims’ continuous fear rather than the perpetrators’ will to exclude them.

… in workplace psychology [mobbing] narrowly refers to “ganging up” by others to harass and intimidate an individual.

Mobbing is also found in school systems and this too was discovered by Dr. Heinz Leymann. Although he preferred the term bullying in the context of school children, some have come to regard mobbing as a form of group bullying. It is interesting to note that a German born doctor practicing in Sweden chose the English term “Mobbing” to describe this social phenomenon. As professor and practicing psychologist, Dr. Leymann also noted one of the side-effects of Mobbing is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is frequently misdiagnosed. After making this discovery he successfully treated thousands of mobbing victims at his clinic in Sweden.

In the book MOBBING: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace, the authors say that mobbing is typically found in work environments that have poorly organized production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management and that mobbing victims are usually “exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication.” [Emphasis mine.]

For the sake of emphasis, let me repeat the most important points:

  1. Mobbing is a form of bullying by a group to  harass and intimidate an individual.
  2. The intent is to drive away the individual.
  3. Mobbing starts with one or two persons sounding the call to alert the group to attack.
  4. Mobbing typically originates among groups “that have poorly organized production and/or working methods and incapable or inattentive management” — this doesn’t always define liberals and liberalism because they can organize grievances extremely well, but I can’t resist taking the shot.
  5. “… Mobbing victims are usually ‘exceptional individuals who demonstrated intelligence, competence, creativity, integrity, accomplishment and dedication.,”
  6. One of the side effects of mobbing for the mobbing victim is post-traumatic stress disorder.

What Letterman was mobbing and he did it to Gov. Palin, her teen-age daughters, to all women, and to both the male and female conservatives and/or Republican in the public arena with whom he disagrees. He can’t be dismissed as one individual trying to destroy just a few women because HE WAS TALKING TO AN AUDIENCE OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND INCITING THEM TO BEHAVE THE SAME WAY TOWARD THE SAME TARGETS.

We must and can defend ourselves with a consistent, persistent campaign as described here (my “Fire David Letterman Kit,” part two) and here (HillBuzz on the importance of persistence) and here (www.firedavidletterman.com, a list of the sponsors and contact info) to GET DAVID LETTERMAN FIRED NOW. Getting David Letterman fired is our notice that the sexism, the bullying and the mobbing of Letterman and his ilk are career suicide — since they are not refraining from these tactics because they are wrong.

We must persist in persuading Letterman’s sponsors to pull their ads, convincing celebrity guests to refuse to appear on his show and informing CBS that the ONLY cure for their hemorraging money and prestige is to FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN!


Hot Air has the latest scoop on sponsors that have dropped Letterman.

And Big Hollywood seems to have had the scales fall from its eyes regarding Letterman by the end of the week — or Eric Golub has, because he’s a long-time fan who is now saying, “Dave, You’re Fired.”

As Stacy McCain noted “On Relentlessness,” over at The Other McCain, yes, I am, and you will be, too, when we win this battle and you learn for yourself how good it feels to know you’ve gained the knowledge for life of how you can make the bullies stop.


I just checked my e-mail and found the following e-mail from Michael Patrick Leahy of FireDavidLetterman.com stating that the focus on Monday, June 22, is on getting Johnson & Johnson to stop advertising on “The Late Show with David Letterman”:

Subject: Start Calling Johnson & Johnson first thing tomorrow morning 973-385-4370

Please rev up your phones and emails!

Tomorrow, (Monday, June 22, 2009) all day, starting at 8 am EDT we will be targeting Letterman advertiser Johnson & Johnson exclusively.

Here are the numbers to call and email addresses :

Johnson & Johnson (Listerine. KY Brand, and Aveeno)

Main Number: 1-888-222-0182 (Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products)

Kristina Chang, Public Relations, 973-385-4370, kchang12@conus.http://www.facebook.com/l/;jnj.com

Steve Schonberg, Edelman PR, 212-704-4494, stephen.schonberg@edelman.com

Please be polite and respectful, but make your point:

Our message:

We are asking Johnson & Johnson to make a public statement on Monday, June 22, that the company is stopping ALL advertising on “The Late Show with David Letterman” immediately until CBS has held Mr. Letterman to the same degree of accountability to which the company held Don Imus.

Until Johnson & Johnson makes such a public statement, our message to them is clear. We won’t buy their products and we will make a point of going into every grocery store in the country and telling that same message to the manager of the local grocery store.

Please email me or message me here with the responses you receive from Johnson & Johnson. My email is michaelpatrickleahy@gmail.com .

We’re targeting Johnson & Johnson on Monday, rather than Kellogg’s for one very simple reason: Over the last 2 weeks, Johnson & Johnson has been the single largest advertiser on “The Late Night Show with David Letterman.”

Friday night, June 19, they ran spots for Listerine, KY Brands, AND Aveeno, and have been regularly running spots on Letterman since Wednesday June 10.

Kellogg’s ran a Mini-Wheats spot on June 11, and we know they didn’t run spots on June 12, 15, 16, and 19. We don’t have data on the 17th and 18th for Kellogg’s yet. So, for the time being, we’re giving Kellogg’s the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks for all your help on this important project!

Best Regards,


(Note: I fixed punctuation in Mike’s e-mail and inserted the full name of Letterman’s show.)

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Justin Case June 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

Cynthia —

Oh C’mon!!!

You said: “He made degrading sexual remarks about Gov. Palin and joking about her daughter being raped in front of her.”

No. No he didn’t. And you know very well he didn’t. And Governor Palin knows he didn’t say that. AND you know he didn’t even mean to imply that. You know David Letterman, a professional broadcaster of 30+ years, did not make joking remarks about anyone being raped. Stop it. Seriously. If you are just going to lie (or at the very least, deliberatley mislead people), then how are you ever to be taken seriously?

Secondly, I read your definintions of Mobbing. To call this Mobbing is a stretch, at best. Lets explain mobbing for the cheap seats: “Mobbing” is basically when a bunch of ding bats at work (or in high school) start making fun of the smart kid because they feel threatened. For an example, think about the way Biff attacked George McFly, and then his friends joined him, in “Back to the Future.” That is Mobbing.

Letterman is not a peer of Palins. He is not a co-worker or a classmate. What he did is not Mobbing. Was it agenda-based political satire from a bully pulpit, at times very disrespectful and in poor tatse? Perhaps. But it is not bullying or mobbing or being meanie.

And honestly, I can’t believe you are still trying to drum up attention to your otherwise interesting blog over this dead issue.

(BTW, I liked reading the stuff that was up yesterday, by who I assume was your father, about Evolution and scientific theory. Good stuff.)

.-= Justin Case´s last blog ..Gay Marriage =-.

adagioforstrings June 22, 2009 at 4:48 pm

“You said: “He made degrading sexual remarks about Gov. Palin and joking about her daughter being raped in front of her.” No. No he didn’t”

Yes, David did. His statement, written by a staff of paid, professional writers, was about the 14 yr old Willow, the only daughter to accompany Gov Palin to NY. An adult male having sex with an underage girl is the text book definition of statutory rape. CBS tacitly admitted this by deleting David’s statement about Willow & only his statement about Willow from their transcript that is published in the New York Times. Despite being made aware that his “joke” about the statutory rape of Willow was inappropriate, Dave told another “joke” about Willow in his Tuesday monologue.

Justin Case June 22, 2009 at 7:02 pm

It was not about Willow. Let me type it again for the folks in the back of the room:

(Sorry for the caps)

It was a pop culture reference. It was a joke about the most publicly visible and well known daughter, Bristol, who is over 18 and is the national spokesperson for teen abstinence. It was a POP CULTURE reference about one of most recognizable and memorable things regarding the Palins–the very public display of the unplanned pregnancy of the unmarried daughter of a conservative politician.

It was a bad joke. But it was NOT meant to promote or make fun of the statutory rape of a 14-year old child. And you know perfectly well it was not meant that way. Or… wait a second… you do know this by now, right? Or are you still so blinded by your quest and misdirected vengeance that you fail to acknowledge the truth. Even the Governor herself has acknowledged by now that the joke was not meant toward Willow. How can you not know this? You obviously have internet access. Google it.

Was it a bad joke? Yes. But was he saying, “Hey look, isn’t raping a child funny”? Oh c’mon! After hearing (of) the apology, the Governor finally understood what was meant by the joke. She then stated she was not pleased about any jokes being directed toward any of her children, but she accepted the apology.

So get over it. Just change the channel.

.-= Justin Case´s last blog ..Gay Marriage =-.

smitty June 22, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Lady, your work is inspirational. I posted a summary of your Letterman posts, with an introduction as to why I feel your efforts are so important.
Thank you,

marybel June 22, 2009 at 10:16 pm


You know, Justin, I don’t know how you can write that with a straight face. And even if Davey meant it to be about the 18 year old, it is only marginally “better,” and you know it. The governor might accept the “apology,” just to be gracious, but I certainly don’t. How come is rape about an 18 year old morally that much better than rape of a 14 year old?

As a mother of daughters I am certainly appalled. David Letterman, delivering a “joke” that was rehearsed is far worse than anything Imus did in an extemporaneous, off-the-cuff fashion. Letterman should not only be ashamed of himself, but he should be fired twice because his intentional remarks were indecent, scurrilous, and abhorrent.

Joan June 23, 2009 at 12:07 am

Justin, like the other liberal nutcases is desperate to get you to stop. Nice one Cynthia, your efforts and the efforts of everyone else go up his a$$ a mile.

I laughed hysterically at his comment how the campaign is taking on water like the Titanic-that was posted hours after the 3rd sponsor in less than a week yanked ads from letterman. If it keeps up at the same rate, Letterman will be fired in a month with a bonus firing of the head of CBS!!! I’m almost embarrassed for Justin at how he is humiliating himself. Can’t you lefties come up with something new and not so “Intitute of mental health”. It’s quite pathetic.

Mark E. Gillar June 23, 2009 at 1:47 am

While I agree that Letterman didn’t mean the joke to be about the rape of a 14 year old girl, he did mean it to attack the still young 18 year old daughter of Sarah Palin simply because he perceives Palin to be a threat to the chosen one in 2012. Justin I have a question for you. Does the fact that Bristol became pregnant while unmarried make her someone that is such a whore that she would have public unprotected sex with a professional baseball player in the middle of Yankee stadium during a game? If so, might I suggest that we make remarks that Letterman’s wife Regina is also capable of such acts. She became “knocked-up” to use the popular liberal term by Letterman when they were not married and she is over 18. Using the rules of Letterman and other liberals like yourself , she should be a fair target for all the slut and whore jokes we can think of. Your thoughts Justin??? By the way Justin, is it just me or did Dave not make such jokes about Jamie Lynn Spears???

We do need to continue our efforts to encourage Late Show sponsors to pull their ads. It would be best if we contact the same sponsors on the same days. Here is a proposed schedule.


I also have added an email blaster to my site that makes it easy to contact most of the Late Show sponsors with the click of a single button. Unlike other blasters I’ve seen on the net, the email is sent from your email address not that of the website.


Keep up the good work Cynthia

Mary June 23, 2009 at 8:54 am

Keep up the good work! I absolutely love it. Letterman really crossed the line with his demented “joke.”
I note that the libnazis love to malign those whom they are truly afraid of. In this case, it’s an intelligent conservative woman, which is . If she was black, they’d be making slave jokes and calling her a “house negro” like they did to Condi Rice.
Party of tolerance, indeed.

Doug June 23, 2009 at 8:56 am

You’ll disregard it because it’s the Times, and therefore MUST be wrong, but to read a thoughtful, intelligent, logical analysis of Letterman’s Palin joke read Randy Cohen’s The Ethicist column here: http://ethicist.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/the-ethics-of-lettermans-palin-joke/?hp

As he says: “A joke is a form of fiction, the punch line a contrivance: the bartender was not actually talking to the duck. A premise, too, can be invented: a man with a duck did not really walk into a bar. Letterman’s premise was that Bristol attended a Yankees game. If reality muddied things, that is an aesthetic flaw, not a moral transgression.”

David Letterman should not and cannot be held to the same standard as a politician or representative. He is a comedian. A joke is a piece of fiction, not a speech or a policy idea.

To say that this joke is politically motivated, or even satire, is ridiculous. The joke is about Alex Rodriguez being a slut and the Palin women being easy-to-knock-up.

And besides, no one was defending Monica Lewinsky from blowjob jokes, and no one has criticized Jay Leno from making what is, on paper, the exact same joke back in September.

Cynthia Yockey June 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm


I’ve always been amazed that men prize the experience of fellatio, yet demean the men and women who do it. What’s up with that? Think about it — there are NO words with any kind of a negative connotation for the men and women who perform cunnilingus. Men really need to re-think their approach to this.

I can’t recall any specific Monica Lewinsky jokes, and I’m sure it — I was going to write “still sucks to be her,” but um, on second thought, I’ll complete the thought by saying “is annoying that her very name cracks people up and she creates a stir wherever she goes.” However, as I recall, the jokes were primarily at the expense of Bill Clinton. And lots of the comedians I saw on TV were defending him.

But regarding the erudite essay by the Invalidation Troll — no sale.

I’ll tell you what, though. If you think Letterman’s remarks are so harmless, I would LOVE to see a video of you on YouTube saying the exact same jokes as David Letterman but substituting Michelle Obama and Malia and Sasha for Gov. Palin and Willow and Bristol. I challenged Steven Crowder to do it, but he seems unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. I’m sure you are made of sterner stuff.


jeff June 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Cynthia, excellent post…and good work. I found my way here after reading your comment at Jenny’s. The only exception I took to your entire post was the presumed association you gave CBS and the concept of “prestige.” There’s very little prestigious about the numbnuts that tolerated Dan Rather’s outright lies regarding President Bush. Their agenda, along with fools like Justin above, is all about mobbing those on the right, and getting and keeping power. Power for their side is power for them.

And any fool that legitimizes or excuses rape, whether of a child or a young adult, is unfit for decent society. Calling them icons of “Pop Culture” and hence, fair game for mean-spirited attack, is just dispicable. Justin and his pals at the daily kos or huffpost or moveon are the *real* ones who deliberately mislead and lie (some of whom can even spell “deliberately”) and are the masters of present-day mobbing. No wonder his panties are all bunched up, when you so capably call a spade a spade.

Consider me a fan, and one who has boycotted Letterman for decades,

BIOYA June 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm

That thing from the NYT was funny. the writer is still writing comedy in his defense of Letterman. It was like a Monty Python sketch.

These pedophiles, child molesters and sexual deviants stick together. It says alot about a person that defends rape talk. He, like other pedophiles that identify with Letterman don’t seem to grasp that it is not about Palin. It was repulsive and reprehensible to the entire female gender. No doubt Randy and his ilk think rape shouldn’t be a crime.

Nope, no one is stopping, no matter how hard you try and make it go away. You guys have tried to spin it into anything than what it is. Your contortionist act fools no one. Nope, decent and intelligent people everywhere see letterman and his defenders exactly for what they are

Duke June 23, 2009 at 4:55 pm

I’ve read Cohen a few times. As an ethicist, he’s a bit challenged IMHO. Comedian or not, this is about enforcing standards of public decency. You may or may not agree with the line we draw, but we are free citizens acting out of conscience.
The thing is, even if you disagree with WHERE we are drawing the line today, surely you must agree that there should be SOME line of public decency. If not here, where? If not now, when? Friends, now is the time to take a stand. There is no absolution for being a crass bully just because you’re a comedian, singer, or whatever.
This is your world. Shape it or someone else will. To those who think this is not the proper issue or person, well then I”m that someone else.
To the rest of you who are taking on the responsibilities of citizenship, please include Kim Kadlec in your letters to C-suite people at J&J. She’s VP for J&J’s worldwide media operations, and came there from NBC Universal. Should be a natural to see things from our perspective and be in a position to unilaterally do something about it.

Justin Case June 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Marybel wrote: “How come is rape about an 18 year old morally that much better than rape of a 14 year old?”

If the joke was about the 18-year old, then why do you still deduce that the joke was about rape???

In case you don’t get my point, allow me to explain:
The only reason people claimed the joke was about rape in the first place was because they MISTAKENLY THOUGHT he was talking about a 14-year old. Thus, sex with a 14-year old, even if consensual, would be STATUTORY rape. If it was not about the 14-year old, then why do you still claim he made a joke about rape? Did you even hear the joke?

See. This illustrates one of my points. The anger and rally cry involved over all of this nonsense seems to be so much more important than the actual truth — “Facts be dammed, there are still far too many windmills to slay to be worrying about silly things like facts.”

But hey, keep pushing that rubber tree folks.
(You guys crack me up! LOL!)
.-= Justin Case´s last blog ..Gay Marriage =-.

Doug June 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Hey Cynthia,

Thanks for taking the time to personally address my post, I appreciate that you’re at least willing to consider an outside viewpoint.

Two quick points:

In defending jokes referencing Bill Clinton’s oral sex endeavors with Monica Lewinsky, you not only make an oral sex joke yourself, but by doing that you’re tacitly saying “Jokes about public figures engaging in sex are alright.” So assuming we’re talking about Bristol, who is a public figure, who has appeared on numerous morning shows to promote abstinence, the joke is fair, if mean-spirited. And do you really want to eliminate ALL mean-spirited, cutting commentary from the world? As a side note: if you honestly think that David Letterman meant to imply that a 14-yr old girl was raped by Alex Rodriguez there is no reason for anyone to take anything you publish on this blog seriously.

Second point: The hypothetical Sasha/Malia argument is preposterous. But it’s worth examining because it’s one of the only pillars the loony right is clinging to in this situation. If Sasha or Malia Obama were 18yrs old, as the Palin daughter the joke was intended for is, and had gotten pregnant out of wedlock as both David Letterman and Bristol have, and had gone on GMA to promote abstinence only education then YES the joke would be in horrible taste but a legitimate commentary. And honestly, even it that situation the joke would probably never be considered. Not because it’s not appropriate, but because instead of poking at a vice-presidential candidate who claims to be representative of the country’s morals, it could be seen as a commentary on African-American society as a whole instead.

So the joke is in poor taste. And if you never want to hear anyone called “slutty,” not even Charlie Sheen, then you should boycott your ass off. If you don’t want the difference between any public figure’s claims about morality contrasted with their actual actions, then yes, boycott away. But if you’ve realized that it was just a bad joke, poorly researched and apologized for and accepted by the persons involved then what are you doing with yourself?

Doug June 23, 2009 at 8:13 pm

OH! And I just thought of muff-diving and carpet-munching as demeaning terms for cunnilingus.

Justin Case June 23, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Joan said: “I laughed hysterically at his comment how the campaign is taking on water like the Titanic…”

You laughed out loud at my Titanic quote? Good. Glad to make you smile. 🙂

But I hate to break it to you, my point was not about your campaign. My point was about this issue in general. It’s water under the bridge. Apology accepted by Governor Palin. So the relevance of this proverbial ship has sailed. Everyone knows there was no rape joke. Was it a bad joke? Yes. Was it a rape joke? Nope.

Yet, you keep trying to get him fired. It saddens me to think you would have any level of success trying to get someone fired by accusing a man of making rape jokes who DID NOT MAKE A RAPE JOKE. In fact, it saddens me that you would even try. If you simply don’t like him, fine. If you have always thought he is a mean spirited, misogynistic, unfunny bully, fine. But if you want advertisers to pull ads over this specific event, that is just wrong.

And if you really think this is still gaining steam and Dave is actually fired within one month from today, as you hope will happen, I will post a “Mea culpa, I was wrong” post in ALL CAPS on the top of my blog and leave it there for a week.

Don’t hold your breath for that one. 🙂
.-= Justin Case´s last blog ..Gay Marriage =-.

Duke June 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Justin, allow me to reprise some facts you may have overlooked. The context was that Gov. Palin, plus one and only one of her daughters, were at one and only one Yankees game. The ‘joke’ was that A-Rod knocked up Palin’s daughter DURING THE 7th INNING STRETCH. It could ONLY have referred to the 14 year old Willow, she was the only daughter there at that 7th inning stretch. Those are undisputed facts. If you believe the after-the-pushback excuse that Letterman thought it was Bristol at the game, I’ve got some hot Phoenix real estate to sell you. Letterman’s second apology said he thought Gov Palin was at the game with only Rudy Giulliani. Because his after-the-fact excuses shift in an inconsistent manner, it is reasonable to discount every one of them as self serving lies. The timing of his apologies, and the tone of the first one, well support the self-serving lies conclusion.
Here are some more facts. We like Palin. If you don’t, well I’m sorry but it changes not a thing. Because we like her, we will not allow this creepy person who is well beyond his comedic prime to try to drive her from the public stage by making her family subject to indiscriminate and public attacks. There’s no joke in the knocked up daughter trope, it is an attack meant to degrade and embarass. Imagine you at that age having to face your classmates after being the subject of an attack like that, just because your mother was a politician. Just a bit unfair, don’t you think? Think Willow wishes that her mommy never became Governor? Think Sarah doesn’t know it? Think Letterman or his writers intended that result?
If Letterman didn’t go beyond the slutty stewardess crap, I still may not think its funny but me and many others like me would not be out to terminate his career. Family is off limits. Letterman broke that unwritten rule. Now he’ll be spending more time with his own, involuntarily, beginning in August.
This is not anger, it is justice. I intend to serve it up cold.

Doug June 23, 2009 at 8:46 pm

OK, Duke is super koo-koo, so I’m back before I thought I would be.

Who did you think was at the game, Duke, before you jumped on the irrational hate band wagon? If you read the New York papers like I did, you might have seen this article in the New York Daily News, dated June 8th. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/06/07/2009-06-07_palin_hits_nyc_and_yankees_game.html

This is fairly representative of the coverage Palin’s visit got in New York City. No where in the article does it mention Willow. I can’t find an article about her visit that does. If I were flipping through the paper, looking for material for jokes, a 14-yr old girl would never enter into my mind in association with the Palin visit. Sarah Palin would enter into my mind.

What would enter into my mind, is this statement from the article:

“We brought her here because of her advocacy and her stance as a parent,” said Walter Stockton, head of the group that honored Palin. “Whether she was a Republican or Democrat really didn’t matter to us.”

Whether she was a Republican or a Democrat didn’t matter to the joke-writer, either. Sarah Palin is famous for running for vice-president with a SURPRISE-pregnant daughter. A-Rod is famous for being a slut. Put the two together and you get a joke.

Cynthia Yockey June 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm


Your premise seems to be that the attack on Gov. Palin as looking like a “slutty flight attendant” and ANY JOKE ABOUT HER DAUGHTERS are both acceptable. My premise is that neither is acceptable and Letterman should be fired for attacking Gov. Palin and her daughters.

The test you can use to prove your point is to make a YouTube video using Letterman’s exact words, his snide mannerisms and fake remorse, but substitute the names of Michelle Obama and Malia and Sasha for the Palins’ names. Go ahead, make the video, post it and prove how benign Letterman’s jokes were.

I’m really puzzled why no one has had the courage of their convictions to do this yet. Any thoughts?


Justin Case June 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm


The joke was about the public’s “perception of promiscuity” of A-Rod and about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. That’s it. Period. (As Doug points out in the comment above).

I know you WANT the joke to be more than that. You want it to be about statutory rape. And sadly, I think you still believe it was aimed at Willow. It would be so convenient and add so much fuel to the fire if it were…. but it was not.

Everyone knows it was nothing more than a pop culture reference to A-Rod and Bristol Palin You can keep spouting all those irrelevant facts… but it was a joke, which are not based on facts, as pointed out in a recent NY Times article.

It is like saying: “A bird walks into a bar and says ‘I’d like a grasshopper.’ ”
FACT: Birds rarely walk into bars.
FACT: Birds can not speak.
FACT: Birds would not know there was a drink called a grasshopper.

…Shall I continue?

Thank you ladies and germs. I’ll be here all week! 🙂

(Cynthia: You just moved the goal post… again. I could swear you were trying to get Letterman fired over a rape joke? Well, we all know there was no rape joke. So you and your cohorts can drop the Letterman “Rape-gate” routine. We get it… you don’t like him. He’s a meanie. Ok.)
.-= Justin Case´s last blog ..Gay Marriage =-.

Cynthia Yockey June 24, 2009 at 12:49 am


Your fact-proof screen is working. So there’s that.


Rosita June 24, 2009 at 1:23 am

Ok, this is absolutely excellent. Cynthia, I went to the Letterman protest. I’ve been operating off Hillbuzz and through email. I’m going to start physically writing, after reading your Kits. This ends here. This ends now. Sexually demeaning young girls not acceptable. Demeaning working women not acceptable. Demeaning Sarah Palin. NO. THIS ENDS HERE. THIS ENDS NOW. I am as pissed off as any Sharptonite, I just need a crew. And I needed some direction. So this is excellent.

Doug June 24, 2009 at 8:11 am

Cynthia is definitely picking and choosing her battles, because to look at the big picture would be to admit she was wrong to begin with.

The reason no one is taking you up on your YouTube proposal is that it doesn’t make any sense. It wouldn’t even prove your own point. Any joke about an 18-yr old who is a public figure is acceptable — yes. Where was the outrage about Britney Spears jokes? Where was the outrage when Christina Aguilera was routinely called a slut on Saturday Night Live and other programs? Why doesn’t it bother anyone when people make jokes about Madonna looking slutty? Because these women, like Bristol, have made their sexuality part of their public image. The only difference is that Sarah Palin has become some kind of voodoo doll-like totem for all the hopes, dreams and illogical fantasies of the wackadoo right wing and SHE MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COSTS! And lord knows she can’t protect herself! She needs the help of legions of deluded bloggers! She accepted his apology but even she in all her wisdom couldn’t understand the epic battle of good and evil waged every night at 1130 on CBS.

Cynthia Yockey June 24, 2009 at 10:02 am


Obviously you are ignoring pretty much everything I’ve written. If you haven’t read all my “Fire Letterman” posts, then do so. If you have, read them again until you understand the point: what Letterman did was not a joke, it was a vicious attack ON EVERYONE HE DISAGREES WITH AND THEIR CHILDREN!!! Children are non-combatants. It is hostage-taking to hurt people and try to drive them from the public arena by harming their children. HE ATTACKED TEEN-AGE GIRLS REPEATEDLY AND THAT ALONE IS ENOUGH REASON TO FIRE HIM!

The words “public figure” have a legal definition in libel and slander law. Gov. Palin is a public figure, but her children did not enter the public arena on their own initiative. I doubt that legally they are public figures.

If you do not grasp how viciously sexist Letterman’s attacks were, you have a fundamental dis-connect in your understanding of women. If you are interested in addressing that to improve yourself, I suggest you start with learning that women are NOT objects to be moved around at your whim or servants who exist only to do your bidding and please you. If that advice is too abstract, I have a straight friend who sums it up this way: “Women are not mommies you can fuck.”

Letterman MUST be fired. Letterman CAN be fired. Letterman WILL be fired.


Rosita June 24, 2009 at 10:42 am

Stephen Schonberg email address failed. 🙁

Cynthia- what about protests/actions? Picketing company HQs or stores?

Doug June 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

You’re deluded if you think anyone is taking your claims seriously. No advertiser has made any statement against Letterman and they’re carefully wording the statements they do make to avoid offending fans of Letterman and fans of Palin.

Since you brought it up, wikipedia defines “public figure” as someone who has “thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved.” If you don’t think Bristol Palin is a public figure, visit the Candies Foundation website here: http://www.candiesfoundation.org/ where they proudly announce that Brisol Palin has been hired as an AMBASSADOR to PUBLICLY PROMOTE ways to combat TEEN PREGNANCY. Please tell me how that is not CHOOSING to enter the PUBLIC DISCOURSE.

David Letterman had Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner as a guest on his show last night. Does she not understand women, either? Is that why she agreed to go on the vicious sexist’s tv show?

Cynthia Yockey June 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm


OK, Bristol has a new job in the public arena. You still don’t seem to grasp why vicious sexist jokes are grounds for dismissal. Did you do the reading assignment?

Regarding Justice O’Connor, if Letterman is having guests like her on as human shields it means he’s sinking and sinking fast.


Doug June 24, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Not a new job: she’s had it since May 6.

And I did re-read some of your old posts about this and saw that you’d previously listed “Four big reasons to get David Letterman fired.” Each one doesn’t make any sense.

Your first reason was that it was a rape joke about a teenage girl, which we’ve already decided is an absolutely ridiculous claim. The joke was meant to be about Bristol. Even if you’re taking every aspect of the joke literally, not as a piece of fiction but as “reporting,” you’ve got a huge problem: the entire Palin family left the baseball game during the 6th inning. That means not only was Bristol not there during the 7th inning stretch, neither was Willow. So there was no “rape joke”. There was no underage Palin in the stands when the fictional knocking-up occurred.

Your second reason is “conservatives AND our candidates will be attacked by millions of his imitators” if we don’t stop this. How is that grounds for firing? How can a man be held responsible for the actions of those “imitating him.” At any rate, this goes back to the rape joke point — there was no rape joke, so no one can imitate a rape joke.

Third reason: “If we do not show our conservative leaders that we have their backs, the best and brightest of them will find other careers. ” Again, what the hell does this have to do with David Letterman? He can’t control whether or not people decide to run for office. You are making zero sense here.

Fourth reason: “Knowing you have this kind of power FEELS AWESOME!” OK, so maybe using the word “reason” was a poor choice on your behalf. You’ve only listed one reason David Letterman deserves to be fired — you think he made a rape joke. The other three reasons are reasons getting him fired will help your loony tunes cause, or help your own self-esteem.

Quick question that you haven’t answered:

Do you still believe that David Letterman intended to target a 14-year old girl with his joke? Even though Willow wasn’t at the game during the seventh-inning stretch when Dave joked that the daughter was “knocked-up”?

Cynthia Yockey June 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm


Willow IS the 14-year-old who attended the Yankees game.

I am certain that Letterman’s attack was sexist and intended to destroy people he disagrees with. He was so deranged in his quest to do that that he went after CHILDREN. He must be fired. He will be fired.


Doug June 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm

OK, so you don’t think there was a rape joke. Excellent! You are making real progress!

Also, Willow was at the GAME, yes, but LEFT THE GAME before the “seventh inning stretch,” mentioned in the joke. It’s splitting hairs, yes, but that’s what the raisinbrains who first made this about Willow were doing, too.

I am feeling really good about where we are now. You’ve realized there was no rape joke and are now just attacking a man who has different political views than you do.

I will pay you $500, via paypal, if David Letterman is fired over this. Are you willing to make the same bet?

Cynthia Yockey June 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm


There absolutely was a rape joke.

You are not bright enough to grasp that you have taken all of the time I am willing to spend on you. You have gone past reasoned dialog to troll determined to dominate people and force them to be obedient to his will. Get a life. And don’t come back.

Letterman is going down.


Joan June 24, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Cynthia, as an ex- liberal, have you ever seen people like Doug and Justin turn themselves into pretzels to try and make this into anything but what it really is? Talk about a contortionist act

3 sponsors dropped and it’s not working, so you might as well stop. They really are putting in a huge effort to make people stop, insults, snark, etc. You can almost see the smoke coming out of their ears that it isn’t working.

Keep lying to yourself boys, you seem to be good at it

Duke June 24, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Doug, I’ve read over your posts and it seems your position is summarized as you give Letterman the benefit of the doubt that the joke was not about Willow, and since it must have been about Bristol then it’s OK. From my perspective, that premise lies on sand and even accepting it, the conclusion fails the common sense test.
As to the premise, allow me an analogy, a well established legal principle whose purpose is straightforward. Say you’re responsible for a car accident, a minor fender bender, but the passenger in the other car dies from it. Hits his head on the dash, which would give you or me a bump but this passenger has a thin skull and it killed him. You are fully liable, regardless that it was a minor accident and that the passenger had an unusually eggshell thin skull. The principle is you take the victim as he is, you don’t get the benefit of some average person standard or that you thought the people in the other car were of average vulnerability. Letterman made a joke about Palin’s daughter at the game. Willow was the one actually at the game. If Letterman f#’ed up on the facts, well that’s his fault. Willow did nothing to contribute to her abuse on Letterman’s show. Now if you want to give Letterman the benefit of the doubt, that means you’re OK with Willow suffering the abuse that falls to her from Lettrman’s mistake. Your premise is unworkable because the party at fault gets off scott free while the innocent party suffers.
Now for the conclusion, that if the joke were about Bristol it would be OK. I disagree. I think it is reprehensible for a 60 year old comedian with a national show to target the 18 y.o. daughter of a governor. You seem to think its relevant that she may qualify as some public figure, but that matters solely for the burden of proof in a civil libel suit, not here. So it seems you conclude that because they’re both adults, its OK and no holds barred. I choose a more civil society. Letterman at 60+ far outmatches Bristol at 18 in the experience dept. Paris Hilton is a different story, she put herself out there voluntarily as a public sex figure, and for an extended period of time. Not so Bristol. Letterman’s show also insulates him from any recourse by Bristol, who has no show or public pulpit of her own. The deck is so stacked in Letterman’s favor agaisnt Bristol that I say it is not OK for him to single her out for attack.
Big picture though Doug, we’re not talking legal jeopardy for a bad joke here, we’re talking private citizens standing for a line of decency. I don’t understand why you have such a problem with that. You avoid that little matter and try to condescend to Cynthia on her own blog. Are you on Letterman’s payroll? Because it seems you’re spending an awful lot if time telling us “Hey, you shouldn’t do anything about it if you’re offended!”

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