Reports have surfaced that David Letterman offered yet another apology to Sarah Palin at this afternoon's taping of his show set to air later tonight. He couldn't have made a bigger mistake.

By apologizing again, not only is Letterman giving legitimacy to Palin's ridiculous claims that his "perverted" jokes inspire sexual mistreatment of women, but it also breathes new life into an issue that had sort of fizzled out of the news cycle over the weekend. Besides, does he really think that Palin will ever accept any apology from him? Of course not! This will just give the media another opportunity to stick cameras and microphones in Palin's face so she can continue to bray on and on and on about "ole David Letterman" being a dirty old man. He'd have been much better off ignoring it and letting all of this fade away, as it was already beginning to do, but instead he winds up essentially vindicating Palin's unwarranted indignation instead.

Regardless, here's what Letterman said at the taping of his show today, which is set to air later tonight:

"All right, here - I've been thinking about this situation with Governor Palin and her family now for about a week - it was a week ago tonight, and maybe you know about it, maybe you don't know about it. But there was a joke that I told, and I thought I was telling it about the older daughter being at Yankee Stadium. And it was kind of a coarse joke. There's no getting around it, but I never thought it was anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure in fact that she is of legal age, 18. Yeah. But the joke really, in and of itself, can't be defended. The next day, people are outraged. They're angry at me because they said, 'How could you make a lousy joke like that about the 14-year-old girl who was at the ball game?' And I had, honestly, no idea that the 14-year-old girl, I had no idea that anybody was at the ball game except the Governor and I was told at the time she was there with Rudy Giuliani...And I really should have made the joke about Rudy..." (audience applauds) "But I didn't, and now people are getting angry and they're saying, 'Well, how can you say something like that about a 14-year-old girl, and does that make you feel good to make those horrible jokes about a kid who's completely innocent, minding her own business,' and, turns out, she was at the ball game. I had no idea she was there. So she's now at the ball game and people think that I made the joke about her. And, but still, I'm wondering, 'Well, what can I do to help people understand that I would never make a joke like this?' I've never made jokes like this as long as we've been on the air, 30 long years, and you can't really be doing jokes like that. And I understand, of course, why people are upset. I would be upset myself.

"And then I was watching the Jim Lehrer 'Newshour' - this commentator, the columnist Mark Shields, was talking about how I had made this indefensible joke about the 14-year-old girl, and I thought, 'Oh, boy, now I'm beginning to understand what the problem is here. It's the perception rather than the intent.' It doesn't make any difference what my intent was, it's the perception. And, as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it's not a very good joke. And I'm certainly - " (audience applause) "- thank you. Well, my responsibility - I take full blame for that. I told a bad joke. I told a joke that was beyond flawed, and my intent is completely meaningless compared to the perception. And since it was a joke I told, I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke. It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault. That it was misunderstood." (audience applauds) "Thank you. So I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke. I'm sorry about it and I'll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much." (audience applause)

Meanwhile, a very Drudge-esque "Fire David Letterman" website has sprung up on the internets, with a protest planned outside of his studio for tomorrow. Do you think the leaders of the "Fire Letterman" movement are going to back off in light of this apology? Of course not! The site was created by Palin documentarian John Ziegler, a Los Angeles-based talk radio host who Palin says tipped her off to Letterman's jokes last week, so you can bet that this is all being planned and coordinated by Sarah Palin and her cronies.

Rather than settle an fading issue with a gentlemanly apology, we believe that David Letterman may have just opened up another can of worms for himself.

UPDATE:Here's the video of Letterman's apology:

David Letterman's Apology [TV Week]