The FishbowlDC Interview with Al Jazeera English’s Josh Rushing, a Former U.S. Marine


Say hello to Al Jazeera English’s Josh Rushing.  He hosts Al Jazeera English’s Fault Lines, an award‐winning show on the Americas. His reporting spans the criminalization of the mentally ill in the U.S. and President Obama’s “surge” approach in Afghanistan, to more recently, a marijuana farmer with seriously big-ass plants that would blow your mind. In June 2007, he released his first book, Mission Al Jazeera: Build a Bridge, Seek the Truth, Change the World. A 15‐year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was in the doc Control Room, which depicted his struggles as the U.S. military’s lead spokesperson to the Arab world during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Rushing has a weird phobia. It has to do with “too many people on a floor,” like at a dance club. “I get really freaked out if I think there are too many people on it.” He has no qualms, however, about war zones, public speaking and going on TV. He describes war as “an addiction,” but is glad to no longer be in the military. “I like being in an organization where everyone is dedicated to a single mission,” he says. “The problem in the military is, you don’t get to pick your mission.”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Clearly some kind of beer. On special, and draft.

How often do you Google yourself? Doesn’t everyone have a Google alert these days?

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? Saying “no” to the director of Al Jazeera English who wanted me to film something. It was something kind of contrived and I just wasn’t comfortable with it. He has moved on to another part of the company – probably not far enough that he won’t call me after he sees my interview.

Who is your favorite working journalist? David Grann. he did a great piece on  guy who was killed on Texas Death Row.

Do you have a favorite word? I don’t in fact have a favorite word.

Who would you rather have dinner with – First Lady Michelle Obama or Bestselling Author and former V.P. candidate Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama. I find Sarah Palin annoying. She just seems so self aware to the point that it creates a disingenuous quality to the point of being egocentric. All her little catch phrases are annoying. God, that would horrible. Sorry for the rant, deep into a moment about Sarah Palin.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Whatever the IT guy gives me. I’m constantly breaking my BlackBerrys for whatever reason.  When I got out of a car it fell into a puddle, a deep puddle. It could have happened to anyone. There happened to be a puddle right outside my car door. Just don’t tell the IT guy that!

When did you last cry and why? I didn’t cry for a long time. I went to the doctor recently and found out I had dry eye. The last time I was in an interview with a father who watched his son get executed on death row. When he broke down,I cried, my cameraman cried. It was pretty hard not to.  On a flight to Seattle, I cried wildly. The flight attendant had to check on me. I had just broken my foot, was loaded on Vicacdin and headed to Seattle on a book tour. I was watching a movie, “Away from Her.” I was crying in the first act. I think I was scaring people on the plane.

What swear word do you use most often? Clearly fuck.