Christine O’Donnel and the First Amendment – Part two


A week ago, Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who has become the poster child for upstart, anti-incumbent candidates, lectured her opponent on the meaning of the First Amendment. Today, she threatened to sue a Delaware radio station if a video of an interview with her was posted online.

It was posted online (available only on Facebook, however)

Things were going well for O’Donnell until the show host, who up to then had seemed to be a sympathetic interviewer for O’Donnell, asked for specifics of where she’d cut a county budget. (Scroll to 11:30). When things got tense, a campaign manager and other campaign officials entered the studio (a no-no for most radio stations), and began writing notes to her. As the show ended, he allegedly told the station the campaign would “crush” the station if the video aired.

Says the radio station:

WDEL’s attorney asserted that the interview and video were in compliance with all applicable laws, was clearly protected free speech under the First Amendment, and that the campaign had no grounds to demand the station withhold it from the public.

After seeing the video the attorney for the O’Donnell campaign contacted WDEL’s counsel again to apologize for charges made by their campaign manager. The attorney agreed that there was no legal issue with the video and expressed regret for the incident.

For the record, MPR does not allow campaign staff to be in the studio when show hosts interview candidates.