Matt Lauer can't seem to catch a break: First, a certain couch-hopping A-lister called him glib. Now, according to Sarah Palin, he's "extremely naive."
That is, per the Alaska governor, if he believes David Letterman's explanation Wednesday night that the host's admittedly "questionable" and "borderline" jokes this week were directed at 18-year-old daughter Bristol, and not 14-year-old Willow.
Letterman quipped that the Palin family went to a Yankees game and "there was one awkward moment during the seventh-inning stretch: Her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez."
That, says Palin, "crossed the line."
"I would say you and anybody else are extremely naive to believe that very convenient excuse of David Letterman's the other day," Palin said on Friday's Today show. "It took a couple of days for him to think of that excuse—no, he wasn't talking about my daughter, my 14-year-old that was with me at the game, he was talking about some other daughter."
Meanwhile, if Letterman was looking for support from Lauer, the late-night host was no doubt sorely disappointed.
While Lauer did question Palin's disproportionate response to the Late Show host's jokes (she referred to them as "sexually perverted"), he disputed Palin's theory that Letterman had gotten a free pass from viewers or the media for his late night jabs.
"I'm not sure you can be so easy to say he's gotten away with it," Lauer said. "I think he will pay some sort of a price for this, Governor, because I do think a lot of people feel the joke was in extremely bad taste, no matter which daughter he was referring to."
So much for bros before...well, speaking of that.
Palin noted at the outset that the first she heard about the off-color remarks was while giving a radio interview earlier this week (we're sensing a trend), when she was questioned about one of the jokes on Letterman's "Top 10 Highlights of Sarah Palin's Trip to New York." Coming in at No. 2 was "bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her 'slutty flight-attendant' look."
Palin said her first reaction was, "Hey, don't disparage flight attendants, we love them."
It was only later she heard the joke about her daughter and the dallying Yankee star.
"It's quite a sad commentary on where we are a culture, as a society, to chuckle and laugh through comments such as he made the other night," Palin said.
"It's not acceptable. No wonder girls have such low self-esteem in America when we think it's funny for a so-called comedian to make such a remark as he did and to think that it's acceptable.
"This so-called humor, I don't find it humorous."
Palin also attempted to defend the family statement on the matter released Thursday.
"The Palins have no intention of providing a ratings boost for David Letterman by appearing on his show," the Palins said in response to the host's invitation to sort out the mess on air.
"Plus, it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman."
Asked if she stood by her response or believed it was in any way appropriate to insinuate that Letterman could not be trusted in the company of a 14-year-old girl, Palin stood pat.
"Take it however you want to take it. It's a comment that came from the heart," she said before trying to soften its wildly overswung blow.
"Willow no doubt would want to stay away from David Letterman after he made such a comment.
"It's not in bad taste, it's not in bad taste. Maybe he couldn't be trusted because Willow has had enough of those comments and maybe Willow would want to react to him in a way that maybe would catch him off guard. That's one way to interpret such a comment."
As for how the whole situation came about in the first place, Palin placed some of the blame on the what she sees as two double standards in the media: First, that President Barack Obama, referred to by Palin as "the candidate who must be obeyed," said family was off-limits, but the same courtesy was not extended to the "other side of the ticket."
Second, that Letterman was allowed to make such jokes in the first place, what she called the public's "acceptance of a celebrity being able to get away with a disparaging comment."
Still, for all her talk, Palin said she neither wants nor expects an apology from the chat host. But she hopes he issues one all the same.
"He doesn't have to apologize to me, I would like to see him apologize to young women across the country for contributing to that thread in our culture that makes it sound like it's OK to talk about young girls in that way."
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