What to Make of Levi Johnston's Apology to the Palins

"I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true"

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When Levi Johnston's relationship with the Palin family soured in the aftermath of the 2008 election, he launched a bruising media blitz filled with embarrassing revelations about the the former governor and her family life. Now, he's taking it back:

Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.

His apology has animated Palin's right-wing supporters and inspired others to question Johnston's motives:

  • He Made Mistakes, He's Asking for Forgiveness, writes John Hinderaker at Powerline: "Levi Johnston was an Alaska teenager pursuing the same ends as pretty much every other teenage boy, when he was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight at the worst possible moment. We can all sympathize with that, if not with what followed, as, after the election, Johnston fell in with liberals who used him as a tool to attack Sarah Palin. Now Johnston, apparently sadder and wiser, has admitted that much of what he told the liberal media about the Palin family was untrue."
  • Don't Give Him Too Much Credit, writes Josh Duboff at New York Magazine: "While it's nice to think that Levi finally got contemplative about the damage his comments may have caused, the move seems more like the kind of gesture a 20-year-old would think was totally going to help win back his old girlfriend." Brian Moylan at Gawker agrees. "This probably has less to do with Levi doing the right thing and more to do with those rumors the couple are back together."
  • A Case Study in Poor Journalism, writes Carissa Mulder at Big Journalism: "It would seem obvious to any observer of human behavior that a disgruntled, publicity-hungry former fiancé is not the most reliable source for information about anyone. Caution is doubly warranted when the information offered is about a high-profile, controversial politician. Unfortunately, the media didn’t exercise the same level of skepticism a normal person would exercise when listening to gossip about his or her neighbor. Vanity Fair published a piece entitled 'Me and Mrs. Palin,' in which Johnston “turns a number of commonly held beliefs about the former governor – the purportedly loving wife, devoted mother, and prolific hunter – upside down. Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan, Palin conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, had a field day with Johnston, even anointing him 'The Real Rogue of 2009.'"
  • He Probably Just Needs the Money, writes Aleister at American Glob: "Call me cynical but I have to wonder if Levi Johnston is just broke and looking at what Sarah Palin made last year. Faced with few other prospects, he’s $uddenly very $orry."
  • Seriously!? writes a sardonic Diane Suffern at Hot Air: "I’m shocked, Levi.  You mean all that time you were pretending to be naked in Playgirl, whoring around with Z-listers like Kathy Griffin, soaking in the attention from Palin-hating liberal Hollywood, you were just trying to cash in on your 15 minutes by shaming the mother of your child?  I’m so disillusioned.  If I can’t trust you, who can I trust?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.