Josh Rushing Biography
Josh Rushing is an American broadcast journalist and photographer. He co-hosts the Emmy-winning Fault Lines, the flagship Al Jazeera English show about the Americas. He is also a former officer of the United States Marine Corps (USMC).
Josh Rushing Age
Josh was born on 24 July 1972 in Lewisville, Texas, United States. As of 2018, he is 46 years old.
Josh Rushing Height
There is no provided information about his height, this information will be updated soon.
Rushing ImageJosh Rushing
Rushing Control Room
It Only Looks Like Truth If You Believe It ‘Control Room’ Reminds Us
peaking to reporters at CentCom in Qatar, 700 miles outside Baghdad just after the war in Iraq started, the US Press Officer, Lieutenant Rushing, lays out the parameters for questions.
He’s not looking to get into details, where missiles are landing or how many Iraqis are in dead or wounded; he’s looking for a bigger picture. To this end, he announces he’s ready to discuss the US desire to “bring freedom, that’s what we’re really here to do”.
In this brief scene, Control Room lays out the difficult relationship between government officials and journalists. Jehane Noujaim’s 2004 documentary focuses on efforts to report on the war in Iraq, positing Al-Jazeera as an alternative organization to US news agencies whose access to information is limited, in part by system of embedded journalism during the war.
In the 15 years since the film’s release, of course, the problems of gaining access and deciphering truths have only escalated. The rise of social media, alternative facts, and charges of “fake news” — not to mention deliberate obfuscation by authorities — all make it that much harder to report news.
Rather than attempt to discover or even postulate a broad truth, Control Room — which is screening today at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village, New York, as part of the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series, followed by a Q&A with Rushing and producer Rosadel Varela — takes as its object a small piece of the news making and news reporting apparatus, which is to say, Al-Jazeera, the Arab television network that has been accused repeatedly by US officials of being “pro-Saddam” (or, as Donald Rumsfeld calls it, “the mouthpiece of Osama Bin Laden”).
Such allegations, the film suggests, are at once banal and inevitable: they are part of the American war effort, which, as Al-Jazeera senior producer Samir Khader observes, entails controlling media and producing propaganda. His remark does not demand or assume a specific agent in this process: all war is always supported by propaganda. It only looks like truth if you believe it.
This generalization is the film’s less neatly consistent subject matter, aside from Al-Jazeera during the war against Iraq. Objectivity in news and documentary is impossible. This understanding leads to repeatedly articulated frustrations for interviewees like Lt. Rushing and Sudanese-born Al-Jazeera correspondent Hassan Ibrahim, who form the film’s emotional bookends. Each is worried by what he sees in different ways, and each provides the film with an alternative perspective on what seems simple: the horrors of war.
Noujaim structures her film so that events appear to unfold before the camera’s objective eye. President George W. Bush appears on US television to declare the inevitability of his intentions (if Saddam Hussein and his sons do not fulfill their “responsibility” to leave Iraq, “We will rise to ours… The war is directed against the lawless men who lead your nation, not you”), Iraqis and especially Iraqi journalists respond to the ultimatum (“Mr. Bush is talking about peace. What peace?”), and the shock and awe campaign begins.
With footage and interviews shot at CentCom and at the Al-Jazeera offices in Baghdad, Control Room tracks how “control” of imagery and ideas is crafted and lost, by the US military as much as by anyone who might try to oppose that awfully imposing, well-funded, and oddly unified view. That’s not to say that spokespeople for both/all sides don’t expose narrative inconsistencies.
Ibrahim pronounces his frustration over Arab anti-Semitism: “Everything in the Middle East is an Israeli conspiracy,” he sighs. Noting that Arabs tend to see images of Israeli attacks on Palestinians as of a piece with US attacks on Iraqis (wounded children, burned out buildings, exploded cars), he asserts that “People are against this war, and people matter.”
Rushing, for his part, is enthusiastic that some reporters appear to like him. “If I were a woman,” says one Arab reporter, “I would marry you.” Yet he confesses that he’s troubled by his own reactions to pictures of atrocities: where he’s unmoved by the sight of Iraqi casualties, he’s horrified by the bodies of US troops.
“That upset me profoundly,” he says. “It makes me hate war, but it doesn’t make me believe that we’re in a world that can live without war yet.”
Here Rushing cites the footage on Al-Jazeera that incited so much US outrage, long before the abuses at Abu Ghraib Prison were revealed. Declaring the Iraqis’ actions and moreover, the network’s decision to air the images, as breaches of the Geneva Convention, Rumsfeld and company were quick to decry to the immorality and inhumanity of the “enemy” (“We expect those people to be treated humanely, just like we’re treating the people that we have captured humanely”). At around the same time, the film points out, 40 million Arab viewers (the number who have access to Al-Jazeera) were also seeing images of US troops forcing women to the ground, searching citizens’ homes for “terrorists” and “insurgents”; this footage includes the soldiers’ shouting at detainees (“Face the fucking front!”), in a language that many Iraqi citizens don’t understand.
When Iraqis begin to burn US and UK flags in protest (“Welcome to my house, Mr. Bush! Do you have a warrant?”), rather than welcoming collation forces with cheers and flowers, Rumsfeld appears on television again. “We know that Al-Jazeera has a pattern of playing propaganda over and over again,” he says. “We’re dealing with people that are perfectly willing to lie to the world to attempt to further their cause, to the extent that people… are caught lying and they lose their credibility. One would think that it wouldn’t take ultimately very long for that to happen, dealing with people like this.”
One would think. Control Room includes as well some images that will be familiar to US viewers of CNN and Fox News, recontextualized. Jessica Lynch’s rescue, as many consumers around the world have already come to believe, was a diversion — for what purpose is not entirely clear, whether to detract from slowdowns in the war or, as Rushing explains, from the coalition forces’ plans at that moment (to keep the forward movement of troops off TV, make up a story about a brave woman’s rescue).
Or again, the infamous deck of playing cards (the “Most Wanted” Iraqis) is introduced at a CentCom briefing as if it will answer all sorts of questions. When reporters endeavor to get copies of the deck, or even to see who’s in it, they are told that there’s only one deck, and it can’t be spared. Reporters cannot see it, only glimpse it in passing. The metaphor is striking, if clumsy. The “Most Wanted” story looks poorly planned, even as propaganda. CNN’s Tom Mintier is among those journalists most outraged by the superficial spectacle.
But while Control Room is adept at revealing such nearly comic ineptitudes of the US military news machinery, it closes with the tragic story that drove Al-Jazeera out of Baghdad, the missile launched at the network’s Baghdad offices, that killed a correspondent. As his fellow journalists worry about his family’s pain and their own safety, they also call for an honest investigation into the attack, an investigation that reveals how such a thing could happen (the stories conflict, some suggesting that US troops thought they were being fired on by someone in the building). That no such information is forthcoming only underlines the adage that truth is war’s first casualty, as truth and war are inscribed by media.
Its own status as media isn’t lost on Control Room, as it considers its own sources and stories. So too did one of its subjects, Lt. Rushing. On leaving the Marines after 14 years of service in 2004, Rushing became an award-winning journalist and photographer, first for Al-Jazeera (he helped to start Al-Jazeera English in 2005) and later, for Huffington Post and his own online site, JoshRushing.com.
For the rest of us, revisiting Control Room as we encounter so many broken promises, dangerous corruptions, and increasing assaults on journalism, its argument and insights only seem more acute, and tragically, lasting. The threats revealed then have become today’s daily chaos.
Josh Rushing Al Jazeera
Josh Rushing Fault Lines
Josh Rushing Career
Rushing enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1990 and completed basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California.
He was selected for Public Affairs and attended the Defense Information School (DINFOS) in 1991. He was selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP) and studied at the University of Texas at Austin where he received a dual degree in Ancient History and Classic Civilization in 1999. Rushing became a Mustang upon his graduation from UT and moved to Quantico, Virginia, to further his military officer training at The Basic School (TBS). Though slated to be a Marine Corps aviator at TBS, a hearing loss prevented Rushing from completing flight school. Instead, he returned to Public Affairs and reported to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California. Rushing moved to Los Angeles in 2002 where he represented the Marine Corps in Hollywood in the Marine Corps Motion Picture and Television Liaison Office.
Aware of future military operations in the Middle East, Rushing volunteered to deploy with forward units before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Rushing was assigned to United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in Doha, Qatar, during Operation Iraqi Freedom where he served as a spokesperson to General Tommy Franks. Unbeknownst to him, an independent film, Control Room, captured his efforts to communicate the American message on Al Jazeera Arabic. The documentary debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004 and enjoyed theatrical release across the world. After the Pentagon ordered him not to comment on the film,he left the Marine Corps after 14 years of active duty service in October 2004 and later helped start Al Jazeera English in 2005.
Josh Rushing Interview
The 60-second interview: Josh Rushing, Al Jazeera America correspondent
CAPITAL: Why tackle the issue of college football? Was there a moment that struck you as being a tipping point in saying “this is a story we need to cover?”
RUSHING: We’ve been watching this story develop for about three years, but now seemed the time to look at the state of play inside college football because there are a handful of cases coming to a head right now in various courts that could fundamentally reshape the relationship between the N.C.A.A. and college athletes. There’s a long history of critics of the N.C.A.A. going back decades, including W.E.B. DuBois and Upton Sinclair. What’s different about now is that players themselves are rising up.
CAPITAL: Were there any surprising things you learned during your reporting?
RUSHING: I’m a longtime fan of college football. I always saw it as this mostly harmonious ecosystem of the N.C.A.A., conferences, schools and players. But in reporting this story, I quickly came to realize this ecosystem was far from harmonious. There’s a power imbalance inside college sports, and the athletes don’t have a voice.
So I had to ask myself, Am I a part of the problem? Because what it’s really about at the end of the day are the big bucks coming in from the television contracts. Those TV deals are valuable because of the number of people interested in watching—and I am one of those people. I can understand why the players want to have more control over their own fates. But I’m still a fan of the game. Not one of the players I spoke to wants the game to go away. They want to play—and I still want to watch.
CAPITAL: How open were players and coaches in discussing the subject of paying or unionizing student athletes?
RUSHING: In our experience, players were very open to discussing the ideas of compensation and union representation, those for it and those against. Coaches, schools, divisions and the N.C.A.A. were more difficult to get on the record. Partly, I assume, for legal reasons. As these cases wind through the legal system, everyone is aware that whatever they say could end up in court. I suspect there might be another reason as well. If the N.C.A.A. is pressed on these issues, they often claim that they are simply a membership organization, so ultimately these decisions are up to the conferences and the schools. But if you press the conferences, they say that they are a membership organization and the authority lies with the schools. If you ask the schools, they often say that there needs to be change, but that’s up to the N.C.A.A.
CAPITAL: Other channels, like ESPN and Fox Sports, have lots of journalists on staff, but also have high-priced TV deals with the N.C.A.A. Do you think you and Al Jazeera are positioned to cover the story in way that others can’t or won’t?
RUSHING: I can’t say for Fox Sports, but it seems that ESPN faced this challenge when it partnered with Frontline for “League of Denial.” You’re right, Al Jazeera America holds no rights to any sports leagues and can report this story with no concern about conflicts of interest. I also think Al Jazeera is well positioned for this story because it is a network that has made the explicit decision to focus on the human element in storytelling. The fact that the players are advocating for themselves is a compelling element that makes this an undeniable human drama.
CAPITAL: The N.F.L. has been in the news for concussions, F.I.F.A. for corruption and the N.C.A.A. for its treatment of student athletes. Do you think that sports leagues and organizations are facing more scrutiny than they ever have before? Or is the scrutiny a response to the actions?
RUSHING: The amount of money involved in the sports industry continues to climb. The N.C.A.A.’s assets have skyrocketed in the last two decades. As that money plays a larger role, the institutions that govern various sports will face greater scrutiny—as they should.
CAPITAL: Based on your reporting, do you think the N.C.A.A. will change the way it handles student athletes compensation?
RUSHING: As a result of the slew of cases that the N.C.A.A. faces in court, I believe the N.C.A.A. will change. It will have no choice but to change.