As part of her final push to overcome a big deficit in the polls, Delaware's GOP Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell took a page from Barack Obama's 2008 playbook and made a half-hour infomercial to sway undecided voters. The ad buy was too late for the local network affiliates, so O'Donnell bought time on a public access channel instead. What happened next? Either a "self-inflicted disaster" or an egregious case of "media bias," depending on your perspective. Here's a chronological look at what went wrong:
O'Donnell reserves several half-hour slots on Channel 28, a Delaware public access station, for $2,500.
Oct. 29, 5:00 p.m.
The agreed upon deadline for getting Channel 28 station chief Tim Qualls the infomercial, according to Qualls.
Oct. 30, 11:00 p.m.
The O'Donnell campaign drops off the tape at another station employee's house, says Qualls.
Oct. 31, 9:30 p.m.
Qualls gets the infomercial DVD.
Oct. 31, 11:33 p.m.
Another program is playing on Channel 28. O'Donnell tweets: "Okay... this is NOT our show! Must be a programming mix up. We will get back to you...."
Nov. 1, 10 a.m.
The next scheduled airing of the infomercial, according to the O'Donnell campaign.
Nov. 1, 10:12 a.m.
O'Donnell tweets: "This isn't our show either! We are told channel 28 'forgot' to air it... both times... even though we paid for the time slot last week." Qualls later tells Politico's Ben Smith that nobody at the station "forgot" anything — the infomercial wasn't broadcast in the first two slots because it was received so late.
Nov. 1, 10:29 a.m.
O'Donnell tweets: "Dirty politics again? I'd like to think the County run station really did just 'forget' even though we reminded them this morning." Qualls later tells The Washington Post that he's a Republican who supported O'Donnell, but "She's lost my vote."
Nov. 1, 3 p.m.
The infomercial finally airs on Channel 28, with five more broadcasts scheduled.
Nov. 1, 5 p.m.
O'Donnell tweets: "Channel 28 has really pulled through for us... Thank you Channel 28."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The world is on fire and neither Democrats or Republicans have a clue
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- How Democrats might goad the GOP into shutting down the government
- Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: Why postal banking won't work
Subscribe to the Week