Blackwater USA, now one of the media’s favorite targets, can’t seem to get any credit even when something goes right.
The company, once described as “an entirely new type of war profiteer” by CNBC contributor Jon Markman, saved Polish Ambassador Edward Pietrzyk just one day after taking heat from the media and congressional Democrats.
The October 3 CBS “Evening News” used the rescue as an opportunity to assess all civilian defense contractors in Iraq.
“Blackwater has a perfect record when it comes to protecting American diplomats,” CBS correspondent David Martin said. “But private security firms, not just Blackwater – but other contractors seen here firing on Iraqi vehicles for no apparent reason – often undermine the larger mission of the American military – protecting the population and winning hearts and minds.”
“Evening News” also trotted out one of Blackwater’s biggest critics, Peter Singer of the liberal Brookings Institution.
“They're engaging in a pattern of abuses that soldiers would be held accountable for,” Singer said. “And yet our military effort is being blamed for it.”
CBS, for the second day in a row, brought up a September 16 incident in which Blackwater was blamed for killing “as many as 17 Iraqis,” even though Blackwater claimed they acted appropriately when they came under fire from insurgents.
“Evening News” reported that the dysfunctional Iraqi government claimed Blackwater decided to attack police abruptly and without reason. However, the FBI has not even begun its investigation to determine who was at fault.
"NBC Nightly News” and ABC “World News with Charles Gibson” provided much more balanced coverage to the defense contractor.
“[W]e have a situation here where one group of Blackwater employees is being investigated for possible crimes while another one tonight is being celebrated for the heroic rescue of the Polish Ambassador,” NBC correspondent Richard Engel said.