More disturbing than Letterman's behavior and acknowledgement of sex with subordinates (it wasn't a confession in the religious sense of the word because an honest confession usually leads to repentance and we are a long way from that with these cultural polluters) was the reaction from the studio audience. When Letterman mentioned that a man -- allegedly "48 Hours" producer Robert Halderman -- had tried to extort $2 million from him in return for the man's silence, Letterman transformed himself into a victim and the audience laughed and applauded. He said he wanted to protect his wife, the women with whom he had had sex, himself and his job. I can hear my late father now: "If you want to protect yourself, you should not engage in behavior that puts you at risk. That would be the best protection" Dad was so old-fashioned and so right.
Stephanie Birkitt, who was described by The New York Times as "Letterman's long-time personal assistant," is one of the women alleged to have had a sexual relationship with Letterman. She has appeared in numerous skits on the show. Apparently the casting couch lives at CBS.
A Washington Times headline revealed the shallowness in our moral water table: "Letterman's TV Affairs Admission Called Adept PR Move." It's all about public relations and survival these days, not contrition and repentance.
The legalities of all this have yet to be worked out, but as Halderman's lawyer said last week, what is known is not all that will be known. That will keep the tabloids busy as they seek to talk to the women involved. But this should be a reminder to the rest of us that television has become a rude and unwelcome guest in our homes. If my children were young, I would get rid of it. It has little that is worth watching and a lot that is harmful to what remains of the rapidly unraveling moral fiber of America. In fact, a strong case can be made that so much of what is on TV is aiding and abetting the unraveling.
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