Blackwater Remains in CBS’s Doghouse Despite Heroic Rescue

Just one day after taking heat from the media and congressional Democrats, Blackwater USA rescued Polish Ambassador Edward Pietrzyk from an insurgent attack in Iraq. But the October 3 “Evening News” used the incident as an opportunity to attack civilian 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 also included a September 16 incident in which Blackwater was blamed for killing “as many as 17 Iraqis,” even though the actual circumstances are inconclusive. The contractor could be saving the federal government a lot of money by providing a service that if done in-house by the State Department could cost $100 million more. NBC “Nightly News” provided much more favorable 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 on the October 3 “Nightly News.”