It's not surprising Andrea Mitchell found the best angle on the Abdul Rahman case was the another-problem-for-Bush angle. (Isn't that always their favorite angle?) My friend Cam Edwards trekked to the Afghan embassy protest, and reports the NBC producer on the scene was there, and intensely interested in getting anti-Bush soundbites:
Media turnout was good. There were, by my count, four television cameras there, including one from NBC Nightly News. The producer for Andrea Mitchell, a guy named Carl, kept asking question after question designed to elicit a critical response towards President Bush. Finally I had to say something.
So I said this isn’t a conservative vs. liberal issue, or even a Christian vs. Muslim issue. It’s a human rights issue. And I said if the media ignores the reality of Abdul Rahman being put to death because of his religious beliefs because they’d rather portray this as “Conservatives angry at the President”, then they’re falling down on the job.
Of course it’ll probably get chopped up like a Chef soundbite on South Park, and I’ll be speaking out in favor of clubbing baby seals or something. I’ve got the blogosphere to back me up on this one, however.
Cam points out Mary Katharine Ham at Hugh Hewitt's site backs him up:
As was to be expected, the MSM reporter kept turning away from Abdul Rahman and toward President Bush-- more specifically, he was pretty obsessed with the fact that a bunch of conservative, Christians were calling on Bush and the State Dept. to be tougher on the Afghan government than they have been.
But Cam set him right with a great quote that I don't imagine you'll see on TV:"This is not a political issue. This is about a man in Afghanistan who is going to die because he believes in Jesus Christ...It's a human rights issue...There are political overtones to everything, but that's not why we're out here. That's not why President Bush should act...If y'all turn it inot a political issue--conservatives vs. Bush or conservatives vs. liberals-- then you will have failed to get the message out."
Cam said what most of us were thinking. The guy was just trying so hard to make it a conservatives vs. Bush issue that he was missing the whole man-about-to-die-for-his-religious-beliefs aspect of the story.
I don't think NBC is wrong to assert that the crowd that assembled outside the embassy was conservative. I do think it's odd that when NBC covers protests attended by liberals, they cast it as idealistic, and don't tend to employ liberal labels and suggest "base" troubles for Democratic politicians.
Finally, let's ask this question: does Mitchell believe that only conservatives find a cause in opposing the execution of Christian converts in Muslim countries?? As one sign at the protest suggested: "Even the ACLU doesn't hate Christians this much."