Strange Trip: Dave Marash Goes From "Nightline" Reporter to Al-Jazeera Anchorman

While Ted Koppel is signing up with NPR and the New York Times, another veteran of his classic "Nightline" has found a new gig. Reporter Dave Marash is signing up with the English-language version of al-Jazeera. As Newsday's Verne Gay reports this morning, Marash insists that despite al-Jazeera's reputation as a mouthpiece for al Qaeda terrorists, "conventional and, dare I say, informed opinion is that the channel is thoroughly respected."

Dave Marash, the veteran "Nightline" correspondent who left the program late last year, has landed at Al-Jazeera International, the new English-language news channel that will be spun off from Al-Jazeera later this spring....

Marash - who will be chief anchor and correspondent based in the 24-hour channel's Washington bureau - said yesterday, "I really don't know the [format] details yet," but that four hours each day would be devoted specifically to news out of Washington. He will also co-anchor a full-hour regular newscast from 7 to 8 p.m.; his co-anchor has yet to be appointed.

The Arabic-language Al-Jazeera - although hugely popular throughout the Arab world - was controversial for its alleged anti-U.S. bias since 9/11. "I don't think [the controversy] is entirely dead and gone," Marash said. "But conventional and, dare I say, informed opinion is that the channel is thoroughly respected."

Marash used to be an anchor with NBC's Washington affiliate, WRC-TV before making the jump to Nightline.

UPDATE: In May 2004, Marash filed a report for ABC's Good Morning America that took at face value a video purportedly showing a "wedding party" that was bombed by U.S. forces in Iraq. As Marash told it, whether true or not, the video was a "public relations disaster."

"A debate about the authenticity of this tape will continue," Marash conceded, "but many people in this part of the world are already accepting it at face value, creating yet another public relations disaster for the United States."

As MRC's Brent Baker noted at the time, other networks were already reporting that the U.S. Army had found weapons, explosive and drugs, indicating that the site was perhaps not the festive wedding that the video purported to depict. For more on that story, see the May 25, 2004 CyberAlert.

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