Despite his vow not to discuss his sex scandal too much, David Letterman used this evening's Late Show to do just that and offered his requisite apology. It's a three-pronged effort that's a bit confounding, but, ultimately, convincing.

  • Now, Letterman couldn't just go out there and apologize. He needed to make sure people knew he knows he look like a hypocrite, so he poked fun at himself, as he's done to so many politicians, like Mark Sanford. Said Letterman, "I'd give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian trail." Awww, shucks. How can people stay mad at that? His first mission — self-effacement — was a success. But then there's the business of his wife.
  • Yes, short-sighted "victim" Letterman took some time to offer an on-air apology to his wife — "So let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me" — but it was really for women everywhere, who may still be mad about that whole Sarah Palin/rape scandal. According to one audience member, women in the studio were sighing their approval. All in all Letterman's doing well, but it's the thrust of his apology that has us scratching our heads.
  • Letterman's very sorry to his staffers, he says, because he didn't foresee the media "furor" over this scandal, nor did he envision the vultures circling his studio to scoop up lurid tidbits. Or some such nonsense, which smells like bullshit to us. Letterman's been in the business for what might as well be forever. He knows how this media thing works.
  • It's more likely Letterman's offering this staff-centric contrition to both come off as a man of the people (not some lech who uses power for pleasure) and to keep his underlings under his control. It's a bit of bread and circus for the CBS army. Clever move, Letterman! Your so-called ignorance makes for a great mea culpa.