Did Delaware TV Station ‘Forget’ to Air Christine O’Donnell Ad?

November 2nd, 2010 1:21 PM

Perhaps there is a bit of witchcraft to be found amongst the Christine O’Donnell camp after all.  Problem is, it appears to have generated from an independent television station in Delaware, who somehow managed to make the Republican Senate candidate’s 30-minute television advertisement disappear.

The Washington Post reports that O’Donnell, running short on time to have her ad aired on networks in the Philadelphia and Delaware markets, turned to public television as an outlet.  She urged supporters at a Tea Party Express rally to tune in to her ad on Sunday night.  Just prior to the airing, O’Donnell excitedly tweeted to her followers, “1 minute until the premiere of our 30 minute feature. Tune in to meet all the heartwarming people I've met on the campaign trail. Ch. 28.”

But alas, it was not to be. 

On Monday, the O’Donnell camp issued a press release stating the ad would appear again that morning.  It did not.

Tim Qualls, Executive Producer at Delaware Channel 28, claims that the ad did not air because O’Donnell’s campaign failed to deliver the video by an agreed upon deadline.  But at least one source at the station claimed that they simply “forgot to air it.”

Christine O'DonnellQualls denies this, pointing the finger for the mix-up directly at O’Donnell’s people:

“It was all their people’s fault,” he said. 

But why would an employee at Delaware Channel 28 declare that they had forgotten to air the advertisement – twice?

Hot Air’s Ed Morrisey says it’s possible, albeit, a little odd. 

“A last-minute buy from a client would come at a premium price,” he said.  “And one might expect a cable provider to treat it with more care.”

Rush Limbaugh isn’t buying the ‘we forgot to air it’ defense.  He believes that it is impossible, with today’s television technology, to forget running an ad that had been bought and paid for.

“They say they forgot.  As someone in broadcasting, I can tell you there's a thing called the Traffic Log of each day's program with the commercials that are supposed to run. Computers do it these days.  Maybe in Delaware they're not that far advanced in this TV station, but there's no ‘forgetting.’ There's no ‘forgetting’ to run an ad, believe me. There's only a purposeful omission.”

Still, Qualls insists that there was nothing malicious about the omission, and that blame lies with either the O’Donnell camp or with employees from Comcast where he leases the time for channel 28.  He insists that he needed the video delivered to him by Friday because he was to be away for the weekend.  However, a campaign staff member delivered the tape to a channel 28 employee Sunday evening.

While a spokesman for O’Donnell seems to be toning down the rhetoric on the intentions of the station and their producer, they haven’t backed down from the fact that the ad was not aired as scheduled.

"The half-hour long special from the O'Donnell campaign was not aired as scheduled on Sunday night and Monday morning. Delaware 28 Executive Producer Tim Qualls … was apparently unaware of the campaign's transaction last Friday between a local third-party buyer and Channel 28 employees.”

Fox is reporting that all seems to have been resolved between O’Donnell and the station.

“O'Donnell campaign spokesman Doug Sachtleben issued a statement after the first airing saying that Qualls had explained to the campaign that he was out of the area for the weekend because of a family illness and didn't know the campaign had managed the transaction on Friday between a local third-party buyer and Channel 28 employees.”

If the employees at Channel 28 were competent enough to handle a $2,500 ad sale during Quall’s absence, should they not have been capable of airing the ad during that time as well?  Or did the employees involved essentially take the money and run?

Rusty can be reached at The Mental Recession, or via Twitter @rustyweiss74