Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Control Room" Marine Goes to Work for al-Jazeera

This story must have slipped past me until this morning. Former Marine Josh Rushing is going to be a journalist for the al Jazeera network. He will be part of an English-language network they are developing. Why is this significant? Rushing was featured prominently in the very interesting documentary Control Room. This is a controversial move on his part, but I'll be interested to see how it pans out. The loonies at Accuracy in Media have already expressed their displeasure.

(Sidenote: I'm not sure whether I care less about what the crackpots at the late Mr. Irvine's AIM say or less about what the crackpots at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting say. It's always a close race, and I guess it depends what the topic of the day is. Besides, both chose the names of their organizations with predetermined, homonymic acronyms in mind, and that immature practice is Teh Lame. I long for the days of NATO and NASA when institutions had enough sense of their own importance that they would introduce their own acro-name into popular parlance without relying on a lame description fitted around the spelling of an already-existing word with positive connotations.)

But back to Mr. Rushing. For the record, I do not think he is being played by propagandists (although I encourage him to keep his eyes open, just in case), and I think he has the potential to give a valuable American perspective to viewers around the world. Excerpts from USA Today article:

But Rushing, who will appear on a global, English-language news channel the network hopes to start by spring, considers his decision to work for Al-Jazeera noble, not seditious. "I've given my entire adult life to the health and well-being of this nation," Rushing says. "I wouldn't do anything to threaten that. What the Marines trained me to do was to represent the best of what America stands for to a foreign audience. That's exactly what I'm going to do."

The network has been hiring staff for more than a year. A spokeswoman, Katie Bergius, said in an e-mail that the channel is "over halfway there" in hiring the "hundreds" of people it will need. In past statements, the network has said it will need about 200 staffers.

So far, Bergius said, Al-Jazeera has hired reporters and producers from several Western competitors, including the Associated Press, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcast Corp., CNBC, CNN and Fox News.

Lastly, if you have not seen Control Room, you'd be doing yourself a favor to check it out, whether you end up agreeing with everything you see or not.


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