I agree with your analysis of the conversation, but disagree with your conclusion that he shouldn't apologize.
He used a term he shouldn't have, and his use of it has hurt many people. Even though he could have never anticipated that his son would betray him to the National Enquirer, he ultimately said those words and therefore does owe an apology to those he hurt. However, as I wrote in my column, the condemnation should end there.
Btw, I don't think an apology makes him weak at all.
Neither do most of Larry King's viewers. But then they aren't his peers, and they don't understand his background.
There's something wrong when a man is forced to apologize to the whole world for what was said in a private conversation, in which he had an expectation of privacy.
Well at least he hasn't checked into some kind of rehab (yet).