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Code Pink Punks 'Politico' in Blackwater Hoax

by
Joe Strupp

NEW YORK - With all of the news about Blackwater USA's problems, it wasn't a surprise that a fake story about the company creating a "Department of Corporate Integrity" would make it on to several valid news sites.

CBS News and Politico.com were among the victims of the fraud, reportedly perpetuated by Code Pink, according to Politico, which posted a correction today. CBS reprinted a Politico story on its site.

"In this business, you sometimes come across news items and think, 'You couldn't make that stuff up.' Well, sometimes you can," Politico reported in its note. "Code Pink today pulled off a hoax that pulled in Politico and a number of other news outlets when it ginned up a fake release, saying that Blackwater USA was creating a new 'Department of Corporate Integrity' that would put the 'mercy back in mercenary.' That should have been a tip off."

"We do some silly things, but we didn't do that," Anne Tyrrell, a spokesperson for Blackwater USA, told Politico.

The full original story read as follows.

Not to worry... Blackwater USA's got the whole oversight thing taken care of.

Responding to rising criticism of its Iraq operations, the security contractor will announce this morning that it is forming a new "Department of Corporate Integrity."

A statement the company put out is frank about the urgency of the new department. "Blackwater has felt a need to defend its corporate name and clear up its public image," it reads.

"Just as in warfare, a good offense is the best defense," said Eric Prince, chairman and CEO of the Prince Group and Blackwater, USA. "So, we are going on the offense to defend the image of our great company."

The money line from the release: Blackwater plans "to put the mercy back in mercenary."

© 2007 Editor & Publisher

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