Blackwater USA has hired the PR firm Burson-Marsteller (B-M) for crisis management, following a September 16 incident in which the company killed 17 Iraqi civilians, according to the Iraqi government's investigation. "The State Department, which pays Blackwater hundreds of millions of dollars to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq, has stringent rules barring the private security contractor from discussing with the media the details of its work," reports AP. These constraints make it "difficult to repair a corporate image." B-M's Robert Tappan is working on the firm's Blackwater account. Tappan manages B-M's lobbying subsidiary, BKSH & Associates, and is a former State Department official. BKSH helped Blackwater founder and head Erik Prince prepare for his October 2 testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Public relations executives had conflicting advice for Blackwater. "They need to help people understand that as you attack Blackwater, you're really attacking soldiers," suggested Beau Phillips. But Richard Levick of Levick Strategic Communications warned that "figuratively wrapping your company in the American flag" doesn't work so well when an unpopular war is involved.
- About Us
- Press Room