…is that he never made one. In all the outraged coverage of the incident, you think someone would have bothered to mention that little nugget of information.
I watched the clip everyone’s linking to. He made a joke that implied that a player for the Yankees (who is good-looking, quite successful, and has been caught fooling around in the past) left the field in the middle of the game and had sex with Sarah Palin’s daughter. The exact words were “her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez”. Not a single word about rape, and, in fact, one could easily reverse the outrage by pointing out that these people are insisting that sex between a light-skinned female and a dark-skinned male must be rape.
Letterman and his writers obviously thought they were talking about Palin’s adult daughter, an unwed mother who was knocked up by an athlete. They’re guilty of being too lazy to check which daughter attended the game, or perhaps of not even knowing that there was another daughter. But that’s all.
If you happened to know (as Letterman and his equally-clueless writers obviously did not) that the daughter at the game was 14 years old, you could interpret it as a statutory rape joke, but I haven’t seen anyone say that. Unless something’s been edited out of the clip (and I got it from a site that was feeling the rage), there’s just no rape in this “rape joke”.