Tuned In

Piers Morgan and Christine O'Donnell's Mutual Aggravation Society

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Because the whole world (where “whole world” = media-obsessed people like me) seems to be talking about it this morning, I feel obligated to post the video of former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell walking off the set of The Piers Morgan Show on CNN last night.

Though honestly? I’m more interested in why in the world anyone asked Christine O’Donnell to walk on the set of The Piers Morgan Show on CNN last night. O’Donnell was overcovered to begin with as a long-shot Senate candidate last fall, much of the coverage focused on goofy sideshows like her claim to have “dabbled” in witchcraft as a teenager.

Now? Well, she’s one more former-notable peddling a book, and in this case a former-notable who’s notable for having lost an election. And now she’s also notable for having walked out on Piers Morgan, a situation I doubt that either she or Morgan is unhappy about this morning.

I’m not saying that O’Donnell walked off the show premeditatedly (though it’s ironic that one hallmark of her Senate candidacy was ducking or canceling major-media interviews). It’s quite possible that she took genuine offense at Morgan’s line of questioning; he asked her her views on gay marriage, and she said she didn’t want to talk about them, though she admitted she does so in her very book.

So, to take the walkout seriously for a moment: I would hope that everyone who reads this blog realizes that the obligation of a press interviewer is not to ask you only those questions you want to be asked. (It’s true that celebrity publicists sometimes try to work out “ground rules” for interview questions, and it weakens journalism every time a reporter agrees to them to get access.) An interviewer does not work for the person he or she is interviewing. If O’Donnell wants to say “no comment,” fine, but I don’t see the argument that her beliefs on a political issue are irrelevant, when the only reason the public cares about her is that she was once a political candidate.

But even assuming O’Donnell acted from genuine pique, I doubt this “controversy” exactly hurts her. It’s not exactly like I would ever have blogged about this show if she hadn’t. Yes, the walkoff will lose her respect, chiefly among people who didn’t respect her much to begin with, but I’m guessing that the segment of the public O’Donnell wants to connect with is OK with public figures who stick it to the “liberal” (i.e., non-Fox) media.

And as for Morgan? He’s now the cheeky, tough interviewer who provoked Christine O’Donnell to dramatically stalk off the set, and here I am telling you that. So my only remaining question about Morgan and O’Donnell is: who owes whom the bigger gift basket?