Just days after being caught in a sort of skipping-CD mode in a nationally televised debate with her Democratic opponent, Christine O’Donnell has embroiled herself yet again in a controversy about the First Amendment. The surprise Republican Tea Party candidate, according to CNN, has reportedly threatened to sue a Delaware radio station over a videotape of an interview she participated in on “The Rick Jensen Show” Tuesday. O’Donnell’s camp claims they wanted the videotape because they had not agreed to the taping prior to the interview. WDEL is standing on its First Amendment rights.
But what could be the problem with WDEL videotaping the interview? Was she having a bad hair day? Worse — was she dressed like a witch?
An O’Donnell aide first demanded that the video be turned over to the campaign because it had not been agreed upon beforehand. Christine O’Donnell herself followed, threatening to sue the station if it didn’t hand over the videotape. WDEL reported that they also later received a phone call from the O’Donnell campaign field manager, Matt Moran, who threatened to “crush” the radio station with a lawsuit if they did not turn over the video.
WDEL got their attorney involved and he quickly informed O’Donnell and her campaign that the station was protected under the First Amendment to videotape the interview, which they did as a matter of practice, often using the footage on their station website.
According to WDEL, O’Donnell’s attorney soon called and apologized for what CNN described as “the uproar and the threat of litigation.”
On Wednesday, O’Donnell campaign spokesman Doug Sachtleben issued an e-mail statement: “Prior to the WDEL interview, we asked the show’s host if the video camera would be in use. The host never gave a straight answer and due to the constraints of live radio, the interview began without the campaign getting a straight answer or granting permission for the use of the camera. That’s what we talked about after the interview.”
Talked. Threatened. To-may-to. To-mah-to.
Still, the latest dust-up involving a tenet of the First Amendment, all of which she proudly stated she knew in an post-debate ABC interview where she defended her repetitive questioning in the debate of whether or not the phrase “separation of church and state” was in the First Amendment, casts a shadow on the supposed Constitution “expert” and scholar. The freedom of speech and of the press are two of those clauses she claimed to know so well. But “knowing” and being able to recite is somewhat different than “comprehending” those clauses for practical usage.
Perhaps someone should introduce O’Donnell and her campaign members to the word “suppression.” It is something that, as a Tea Party-endorsed candidate, she should eschew.
If nothing else is accomplished in the Delaware senatorial campaign (besides establishing that Christine O’Donnell is not a witch), the Tea Party-backed candidate will have made certain that everyone knows she is a scholar and an expert on the Constitution of the United States.