Battlepanda: <i>Control Room</i> Marine joins Al Jazeera


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Control Room Marine joins Al Jazeera

If you've seen the excellent documentary Control Room, you would know that Al Jazeera is not the cloven-hooved peddler of hate that people in the U.S. often think it is. Certainly not more biased than the paragon of objectivity that is FOX news.

One of the most compelling figures in Control Room was Josh Rushing, a military public affairs officer at the time. There were many memorable exchanges in the film between Rushing and Hassan Ibrahim, the ex-BBC Sudanese journalist (and a real character.)It goes without saying that Rushing was completely professional in doing his job of propounding the military point of view in the movie. And nobody who have seen the documentary can honestly daub him as an American-hater. But his increasing doubts about the way the press for the war is handled comes through in the movie. Now in an ironic twist, he will be joining his old sparring partners at Al Jazeera:
One reason he wanted to leave the Marine Corps, says Rushing, is that his superior officers had forbidden him to speak to the press. He was torn between his loyalty to the Corps and his duty as a citizen. "I felt like I had a platform and something to say. I thought it would be a missed opportunity to say, take a public relations job in Houston, which I was about to do."

The journalists at Al Jazeera-International, says Rushing, are a mix of nationalities and most in the Washington Bureau come from established outlets like CNN, BBC, Britain's ITN and even Fox News. Rushing thinks that diversity will be part of Al Jazeera-International's appeal. "I'm an American and proud of it. If that affects my objectivity, then so be it," said Rushing.

If you haven't seen Control Room yet, please do so. It is unquestionably the best film to have come out of the Iraqi conflict thusfar.