Conservatives label him as 'anti-patriotic'
By David Edwards on 10/5/2005, 9:20am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

Marine Captain Josh Rushing has taken a job reporting for an Arab news network which is drawing criticism from some conservatives. He was recently interviewed by NBC's Today Show.

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The Arab language news network Al-Jazeera has plans to begin broadcasting an English-language channel by Spring of 2006. The network already had 30 to 50 million viewers in the Arab-speaking world. The network has been called propagandists, liars and terrorists by many neocons like Donald Rumsfeld and Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly. Even so, Al-Jazeera is almost certain to be a popular news alternative for many English-speaking viewers when it launches.

In 2003, the U.S. Military opened the Central Command (CENTCOM) in Doha, Qatar, as a base of operations and a media stage for the Iraq war. Marine Public Affairs Officer Josh Rushing was assigned to be the media liaison for the Al-Jazeera network.

As media liaison for Al-Jazeera, Rushing gained notoriety with the network's audience. Rushing became best known for appearing in the Egyptian documentary "Control Room" which focused on a behind-the-scenes look at Al-Jazeera's reporting of the Iraq war.

Recently, Rushing ended his service with the Marine Corp. and has accepted a job with Al-Jazeera. As America's media has picked up the story, debate over Rushing's relationship with network has increased. Today, the right-wing blogger Debbie Schussel writes:

Rushing was looking for a job because he was essentially fired from the U.S. military after his moronic starring role in the Al-Jazeera propaganda fluff film, "Control Room."

Rushing has the intellect of Anna Nicole Smith and the politics of . . . well, Al Jazeera. Maybe that's why Al-Jazeera just hired Rushing to be it's American propagandist . . . er, correspondent.

An opinion by Linda O'Brien published in USA TODAY takes a more positive view:

I was genuinely thrilled to read that Rushing is continuing his commitment to enlarging his understanding of the Muslim world and its understanding of America by joining Al-Jazeera's new English-language news channel.

USA TODAY's article made it clear that Rushing's decision required both courage and unusual personal integrity. I wish there were many more people like him in the public sphere, and I'm looking forward to watching his continued growth.

Is this former Marine being used by Al-Jazeera for propaganda or is he essentially doing Karen Hughes' job by bringing positive American voices to an Arab-based news network?