Moyers Gives Liberal Author 40 Minutes to Bash Blackwater in Interview
Jeremy Scahill, author of âBlackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army,â said recent media interviews with Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater USA, âwould make the barons of the Soviet media empire blush with embarrassment for how this was handled,â on PBSâs âBill Moyers Journal.â
Scahill appeared on Moyersâ October 19 show to discuss Blackwater USA â an entity with which he clearly has an ax to grind.
âPrinceâs P.R. advisers then launched a round of press interviews where Prince, armed with this video of his men rescuing a Polish diplomat in Baghdad, could make his case on his terms,â Moyers said. âAs the press was helping him spin his story, he was blaming the press.â
Scahill echoed Moyersâ sentiments.
âBut there is also something that sort of reminded me of Jack Nicholson in âA Few Good Menâ where he's talking about I eat my cereal, you know, meters away from Cubans who want to kill me,â Scahill said. âWhere Erik Prince uses terms like the bad guys and our blood runs â runs red, white and blue.â
According to Scahill, Prince is ideologically driven to spread religion.
âWell, I mean, I believe that Erik Prince is an ideological foot soldier,â Scahill said. âAnd I do believe that heâs a Christian supremacist. And I think it's very easy to explain that.â
However, Princeâs company, Blackwater USA, performs a service for the U.S. government more efficiently and at a lower cost than the government could on its own.
âWell today, the head of the diplomatic security service for the State Department, which would be the group that would be doing this if it weren't Blackwater, said it would actually cost them more than that â about $500,000 to train and equip its guards and send them to Iraq,â ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl said on the October 2 âWorld News with Charles Gibson.â
According to Gibson, the federal government is paying Blackwater about $400,000 per Blackwater employee. Assuming the cost savings are around $100,000 per employee, for 1,000 Blackwater employees that are in Iraq as reported by the October 2 âCBS Evening News,â the government is saving $100 million by hiring the private contractor.
Still, Moyers framed the issue as Prince making off with American tax dollars as if it were some sort unscrupulous practice: âErik Prince is the man who assembled a private army in Iraq with tax dollars, provided by the U.S. government â you.â
Since Princeâs Blackwater USA has been on the ground in Iraq, not a single dignitary has been killed by a terrorist attack. In fact, the private defense contractor made a daring rescue of the Polish ambassador on October 3.
But thatâs not good enough for Scahill.
âOh, yeah,â Scahill said. âYeah. And of course, and â you know, the Republicans in Congress during the hearings said that's the statistic thatâs most important. But the question needs to be asked, at what price?â
So, itâs curious as to why Moyers would refer to Scahill in his introduction as âa one-man truth squad,â when he clearly has an ideological tilt. However, the Business & Media Institute has documented that balanced, objective journalism hasn't exactly been a staple of Moyersâ show.