Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell didn’t get too much national media coverage before upsetting the Republican establishment and winning the Delaware primary in September. But since then, O’Donnell’s been all over the news—confirming she’s not witch, questioning the separation of church and state, appearing in newly surfaced “Politically Incorrect” clips from the late ’90s, and starring in a salacious Gawker story.
In fact, O’Donnell has vaulted from zero national name recognition to garnering more coverage than any other 2010 candidate, according to research provided by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.
“The amount of coverage she’s gotten in a short amount of time is dramatic,” said PEJ Associate Director Mark Jurkowitz.
The PEJ tracks news coverage from 52 news outlets across five platforms—broadcast networks, cable news networks, online outlets, newspapers and talk radio. The nonpartisan organization looked back at all election stories from the beginning of the year through Oct. 31 and tallied those in which the 2010 candidate was the lead newsmaker, featured in more than half the story.
Well, I guess media is more even fond of self-abuse than I thought. Seriously, there is zero justification for this. O’Donnell was never close to winning and the controversies around her were tabloid-ish and/or inconsequential. There’s absolutely no justification for the disproportionate amount of coverage O’Donnell got, especially after the primary.
On the other hand, maybe the GOP should run a distraction candidate in every election. The media can gravitate toward them and that will keep the media from doing what they have in past elections, which is spending their amounts of time and energy irrationally tearing down GOP candidates who have a shot at winning.