Let's be honest, news that GOP candidate Christine O'Donnell had bailed on Fox News Sunday over the weekend represented a humiliating setback not just for Chris Wallace, who lost out on a rare chance to generate ratings for his perennial last-place Sunday program, but also for the whole Fox News team, which is essentially sponsoring O'Donnell's candidacy.
Yes, O'Donnell also gave Bob Schieffer's Face the Nation the slip over the weekend. And yes, O'Donnell's campaign floated the implausible excuse that the candidate could not do the Sunday morning shows in Washington, D.C., because she had to be back in Delaware for a Sunday afternoon event. (Has O'Donnell never ridden Amtrak?) But it was O'Donnell's decision to stiff Fox News that caused the most commotion, and likely the most headaches inside the cable network.
Why? Because now Fox News has to explain to viewers why O'Donnell is ready to serve in the U.S. Senate even though she's not ready to appear on Fox News Sunday.
It's the latest twist that makes events so strange and messy for Fox News, though. Because the fact is, in recent months there had been either a spoken or unspoken campaign agreement in play: Fox News would promote a select number of high-profile Tea Party candidates who in return they would essentially appear on Fox News exclusively, where they would not run the risk of being asked any questions from non-partisan reporters, and where they would be given the chance to fundraise on the air. Now O'Donnell has mucked up the agreement, apparently unprepared to even appear on Fox News programs. Or more specifically, unprepared to appear on certain Fox News programs.
Suddenly, Fox News has to explain why O'Donnell was so eager to appear on Sean Hannity's show, as well as on Fox & Friends, but refused to sit down with Wallace. (O'Donnell has also rejected requests from Bill O'Reilly to appear on his show, according to that host.)
I repeat: Fox News has a Christine O'Donnell problem.
Read the entire Media Matters column, here.