Christine O'Donnell Will Crush You

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 27 2010 1:10 PM

Christine O'Donnell Will Crush You

This is not a model of how to handle the media:

In a Tuesday afternoon appearance on WDEL, O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for U.S.Senate, answered a variety of questions from listeners as well as the host. The audioand video of interview segment was broadcast live on WDEL 1150AM and streamed onWDEL.com, the station's website.

At the conclusion of the interview, a representative from the campaign who had been inthe broadcast studio with O'Donnell asked that the video be turned over to the campaignand not released. He stated that the videotaping had not been approved by the O'Donnellcampaign.

O'Donnell also told show host Rick Jensen that she would sue the radio station if thevideo was released.

WDEL routinely posts audio and video podcasts of interview segments on WDEL.com.O'Donnell's appearance on WDEL in September had also been recorded and posted on the web.

O'Donnell's campaign manager, Matt Moran, called WDEL and demanded that the video beimmediately turned over to the campaign and destroyed. Moran threatened to "crush WDEL"with a lawsuit if the station didn't comply... After seeing the video the attorney for the O'Donnell campaign contacted WDEL's counselagain to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager. The attorney agreed thatthere was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident.

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Remember, it was another radio host, Dan Gaffney, who subjected O'Donnell to a tough interview before the primary, and she accused him of becoming a plant for then-GOP frontrunner Mike Castle. It was the conservative media, here and in the Weekly Standard, which first grilled O'Donnell and made the case that she was not a fit candidate for the Senate. But it was the louder conservative media -- Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh -- that bailed her out, and created the pleasant but misleading fiction that it was only "establishment" types and liberal whiners who doubted O'Donnell.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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