Guess Which Candidate Got The Most Press Coverage In 2010

She didn't gain national prominence until late August, and she's going to most likely lost by a wide margin tonight, but Christine O'Donnell received more coverage from the media than any other candidate running in 2010.

It was Christine O’Donnell:

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.

This is especially true considering that O’Donnell really didn’t burst on to the national scene until  just a few week before the September 14th Delaware primary. The first mention of Christine O’Donnell here on OTB was in this post on August 31st, which noted the fact that Tea Party Express had just announced that it was following up it’s surprise success in Alaska’s August 24th primary with an endorsement of O’Donnell over Mike Castle.

In that time, there have been 89 posts here that have mentioned O’Donnell in one context or another, but that’s nothing compared with the press attention, which was second only to that given the President of the United States:

Putting this in perspective, of course, it’s simply absurd that a candidate who has consistently trailed her Democratic opponent by double digits in a state with a smaller population than eleven U.S. cities would get this much attention. The reasons for this are numerous, but generally fall into two categories. First, O’Donnell has a history of making provocative statements that provide good fodder for cable news shows that often have very little real news to cover in the 24/7 news world that we live in. This is especially true given the literal library of material that Bill Maher released from the vaults of Politically Incorrect for his own reasons. Second, she’s an attractive female and that always makes for good television.

One would hope that this would be a lesson to the national media and that the amount of attention that they’ve given to a candidate who will most likely be making a concession speech within an hour or so after the polls close tonight will cause them to reconsider the way they cover politics. The truth is, of course, that it won’t because people like O’Donnell and Palin make for good television, and they will continue to get far more coverage than they probably deserve.

H/T: Dave Weigel

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. The available video (and the way Maher released it) is a major part of the story.

    Also: she was arguably the most significant nominee in a contested Senate election, as her winning meant an almost certain R pick-up (and maybe the one that could have given the Reps control of the Senate) became a stone cold lock for the Dems.

  2. RWB says:

    Looks like Sarah Palin will have some competition for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

  3. TG Chicago says:

    In that time, there have been 89 posts here that have mentioned O’Donnell in one context or another, but that’s nothing compared with the press attention….

    If you want to prove this point, create a comparable graph using OTB posts. Surely you can agree that 89 posts in about two months is an awful lot, right?

    If the coverage of O’Donnell was overdone, then first get the log out of your own eye before looking at the press’ eyes.