Tonight, why not make it an Al-Jazeera night?
Control Room is now available for rental or purchase on your preferred format. And one of its "stars," former United States Marine Corps press officer Josh Rushing, will be a guest on Nightline this evening. Here's what the daily email says.
His job was to give the Pentagon's version of events on the ground. In the build-up to the war with Iraq, during and after the war, he was available for briefings and interviews on the U.S. Military's perspective on the war. He was based at U.S. military headquarters in Doha, Qatar, but he didn't have much experience with people from the Arab World. So, he threw himself into their culture and was assigned to the Arab Network Al-Jazeera as a press liaison. Tonight, a journey through varying perspectives on the war
"Mosques bombed as fighting rages in Falluja." "Battle rages in the center of Falluja". "Iraqi troops find Hostage slaughterhouses." Three different headlines. Three approaches to the same story. Three news organizations: Al-Jazeera, the BBC and ABC News. These are all reports from today, the fourth day of fighting in Falluja. American and Iraqi troops continue to battle Iraqi insurgents for control of the city. So how are the facts reported? Is it straight journalism? Slanted for a particular audience? Or merely emphasizing different facts? We'll show you three reports on the fighting to see similarities and differences in the reporting and its presentation.
Then we'll turn to Josh Rushing who was until a few weeks ago a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He was a press officer for the Pentagon in Doha, Qatar before the war with Iraq and during the U.S. invasion. He was assigned to be the press officer for the Arab Network Al-Jazeera's correspondents covering the U.S invasion of Iraq. At first Mr. Rushing did what most military press officers do; he gave information about the war to journalists from the Pentagon's perspective. But over the course of a few weeks, Mr. Rushing got to know the correspondents of Al-Jazeera, and through a series of briefings, interviews and informal conversations, he started to see a different perspective on the war. What he didn't know was that the evolution in his thinking was actually captured on videotape by a roaming documentary crew. He ended up being the star in the critically acclaimed "Control Room" documentary about the war in Iraq. As word got out and he began to do interviews about his experience, the Marine Corps instructed him to decline interview requests related to the film. For a variety of reasons, Mr. Rushing resigned from the Marine Corps in early October.
Tonight Ted Koppel sits down with Mr. Rushing for his first television interview. He'll explore how Mr. Rushing's thinking evolved, how he handled being told by the military not to do interviews and how he views the coverage by the various media of the current fighting in Falluja.