Former “Nightline” reporter Dave Marash — who produced some of the more memorable, touching, edifying segments for ABC’s “old” Nightline — is joining Al-Jazeera’s “24-hour English-language network, to be launched this spring,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Meanwhile, former host Ted Koppel has joined both the Discovery Channel and NPR.

In an interview Thursday, Marash, 63, described his new position as “the most interesting job on Earth.”

Calling Al Jazeera “a thoroughly respectable news organization,” Marash, who will co-anchor the news from the network’s Washington studio, said the new show aimed to “win the high end. We want to give the most sophisticated, most nuanced and most global view of the day’s events.” … continued below (along with the soooo predictable nasty comments from a ‘winger) …

Writes Dave Lasky The American Thinker blog (odd choice for the name of this blog):

Well, I always thought Nightline was Al Jazeera-light, but can a reporter, whose reputation relies on honesty and not hyperbole, independence and not corruption, honestly describe his job with an Arab propaganda effort as “the most interesting job on Earth”?

How about medical researchers? How about leaders of nations? How about activists in honest aid groups serving in lesser-developed nations? The list can go on and on…but this shameless rhapsodizing over Al Jazeera leaves in bad taste in one’s mouth.

Al Jazeera keeps hiring Western Correspondents (David Frost)….what is their goal? Credibility and influence with Western audiences, despite a history of cooperating with terrorists?

Fishbowl DC has a slightly more balanced view of Marash’s move. The LAT story continues:

Al Jazeera, which is based in — and financed by — the Persian Gulf nation Qatar, has been denounced by Bush administration officials for what the State Department characterized as its “inflammatory” reports. On a number of occasions, it has been the first to broadcast communications from leaders of Al Qaeda. Other Arab nations, notably Saudi Arabia, have complained about the independence of its reporting.

Al Jazeera’s new English-language network, going head-to-head against CNN International and the BBC World Service, will include four hours of programming from Washington, co-anchored by Marash and an as-yet-unnamed woman.

Riz Khan, a former BBC reporter who most recently was host of the CNN International talk show “Q&A,” has also joined the staff, along with his CNN producer, James Wright, and Kieran Baker, a former editor and producer for CNN. Also on board is Josh Rushing, a former Marine Corps information officer in Iraq who was featured in “Control Room,” a 2004 documentary focusing on Al Jazeera’s coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. … (LAT, via Memeorandum)

When I posted the news of Ted Koppel’s departure from Nightline here, no one expressed much sadness. But I feared that we’d lose the ground-breaking reports that made Nightline stand out from the crowd — unforgettable stories such as those on starving North Korean children struggling to stay alive in China, a clever architecture professor who taught his students how to build dirt-cheap homes for the poor, and so many other memorable discoveries from around the world. The new Nightline format — with 3 to 4 stories per night — isn’t the same, particularly with the addition of the tawdry Martin Bashir, but it isn’t a disaster either.

Still, I’m very much looking forward to Al-Jazeera’s upcoming 24-hour English language channel, and I am very impressed that Al-Jazeera chose to hire such a veteran reporter despite his gray hair and his tummy. Marash knows how to tell a story, and he’s covered the news from all over the world. I hope I can get this new channel through DISH satellite.

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