NBC Reporter Throws Around Conservative Label but Can't Call Rangel A Lib

NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, on Wednesday's Today show, in reporting on yesterday's primary results threw the conservative label around, as she identified several Republicans that way, but for some reason couldn't manage to attach the "liberal" label when it came time to talk about ethics challenged New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel.

O'Donnell began her piece noting that "Democrats are suddenly very excited" about their chances of winning the open Delaware Senate seat due to "the conservative rebellion" that led to Christine O'Donnell's win in the GOP primary, adding that the "conservative" O'Donnell "was propelled by several Tea Party groups." O'Donnell even relayed Democratic spin that O'Donnell was "an ultra right wing extremist." However when it came to talking about Rangel's primary win the NBC correspondent didn't bother to attach an ideological label, merely calling him "20-term Congressman Charlie Rangel." In total, Kelly O'Donnell used the "conservative" label five times in her piece but never once indentified any of the Democrats brought up in her story as a liberal.

The following is the full O'Donnell story as it was aired on the September 15 Today show:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: But let's begin with the results of the final primaries before November's midterm elections and what they mean for both parties. We're gonna talk to Christine O'Donnell about her surprise victory in Delaware, in just a moment. But first NBC's Kelly O'Donnell has the latest. Kelly, good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "Life Of The Tea Party, Upset Win In GOP Race For Biden's Senate Seat"]

KELLY O'DONNELL: Good morning, Meredith. Well the Tea Party has toppled conventional wisdom again and here in Delaware, the result is both shocking and convincing because it wasn't close. The most popular Republican in the state, Mike Castle, he is out. Democrats are suddenly very excited and O'Donnell says don't count her out in a fight to get the seat that Joe Biden held for 36 years.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Delaware have spoken.

KELLY O'DONNELL: The conservative rebellion rolled over Delaware's Republican Party brass.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: Don't ever underestimate the power of we the people!

KELLY O'DONNELL: An upset hard to imagine just a few weeks ago. Conservative Christine O'Donnell was propelled by several Tea Party groups and that movement's most famous figure.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: You betcha! There's another woman I gotta thank. You betcha! Thank you Governor Palin for your endorsement.

KELLY O'DONNELL: O'Donnell was ridiculed and written-off by other Republicans as unelectable. She had never won before, but knocked out Congressman Mike Castle who had never lost in a dozen races. Castle did not offer his congratulations.

REP. MIKE CASTLE: The voters in the Republican Party have spoken and I respect that decision.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Castle had called O'Donnell unqualified.

(Begin ad clip)

ANNOUNCER: She didn't pay thousands in income taxes.

(End clip)

KELLY O'DONNELL: Animosity was so intense, the state Republican Party paid for robo-calls where O'Donnell's past campaign manager attacked her.

(Begin clip of robo-call)

UNIDENTIFIED CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I found out that she was living on campaign donations, using them for rent and personal expenses while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt.

(End clip)

KELLY O'DONNELL: O'Donnell denies misusing funds. She claims her own financial hard times actually help her understand voters' anger.

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: A lot of people have already said that we can't win the general election. I know.

KELLY O'DONNELL: Democratic officials are gleeful and called her an ultra right wing extremist. Ironically, her supporters used an Obama slogan to predict victory in November.

O'DONNELL SUPPORTERS AT RALLY CHANTING: Yes We Can!

KELLY O'DONNELL: Turning to New Hampshire's GOP Senate primary, a tight race too close to call. Former state attorney general, Kelly Ayotte, the choice of both the Republican establishment and Sarah Palin against a Tea Party endorsed conservative activist Ovide Lamontagne. On to New York, where the Republican nominee for governor is another Tea Party conservative. Real estate developer Carl Paladino over the party favorite former Congressman Rick Lazio, while New York Democrats stood by 20-term Congressman Charlie Rangel who's accused of House ethics violations. Rangel beat back several challengers.

REP. CHARLIE RANGEL: I go back to Washington stronger than I have ever been.

KELLY O'DONNELL: And back here in Delaware, Democrats didn't have a primary fight for the Senate seat, so Chris Coons is their candidate in November. O'Donnell who has worked as a media consultant for conservative non-profit groups says that she is hoping to get donations, even though the national party is reluctant to get behind her. And she also hopes to get the endorsement of Mike Castle. That has not happened. She is calling for unity, isn't sure if she can expect it but says the Tea Party is behind her.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.