The night before Joe Halderman was busted in a sting operation for trying to extort David Letterman out of $2 million, the Late Show aired a parody of a Geico ad that seems, in retrospect, rather prescient.
The skit comes to us by way of Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart, who credits one of his readers for picking up on it. It showed Letterman in one of those Geico ads where a wad of money with eyeballs follows people around to the tune of Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me." Letterman notices the eyeballs on his desk, picks up a book, and smashes them. Blood spills out from beneath the book, the end. (Barnhart's YouTube page, where he posted the video, is here.)
It's sort of an odd skit to air the day before the arrest of a man who showed up outside Letterman's home in the early morning hours and threatened to reveal intimate details about his life if he didn't pay up. But as tempting as it is to believe that Letterman was acting out his revenge fantasies on his own show and sending a coded warning to his tormentor, we have to agree with Barnhart's conclusion that the skit is almost certainly a lovely coincidence: The extortion plot was closely held information at World Wide Pants, and it's highly unlikely that staffers were tossing ideas about it around the writer's room.
What isn't highly unlikely, however, is that the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz would pen a scolding and schoolmarmish column arguing that Letterman has gotten a pass from the press for dipping his pen in the company ink. Lo and behold:
If Letterman were the chief executive of a defense contractor, instead of a TV production company, would the media critics be so quick to let him skate on sleeping with the help?
You know, he's got a point. What if Letterman were a Catholic priest? You think Monsignor Letterman would get such soft coverage if he were sleeping with a nun? Or what if he were Stephanie Birkitt's father? Kurtz's incisive counterfactual has exposed the media-critic punditocracy for the hypocrites they are, because they insist on treating David Letterman as a private citizen who wasn't elected and receives no taxpayer dollars and broke no laws and wasn't married at the time the affairs were alleged to have happened and therefore was sadly free to do with his dick as he pleased, instead of treating him like a defense contractor, which would be much more satisfying for Howie Kurtz.