Back on Home Turf
One of the strangely fascinating sidebars to the Trial of Conrad Black was the coverage afforded by Hollinger’s (now Sun-Times Media) flagship paper the Chicago Sun-Times.Related is the subsequent sundering of that paper’s relationship with one of their lead columnists (and Black’s apologist-in-chief), Mark Steyn. Cruickshank, who made his bones as editor-in-chief of the Hollinger owned Vancouver Sun, has been in the papers lately as he just quit his post at the Sun-Times to join the CBC as head of English news. His last bout with fame came in March of this year when he wrote a “letter from the publisher” (always a crappy idea) laying out the Sun-Times somewhat holier-than-thou approach to covering the trial of their former owner:
“Despite feelings of resentment that are still quite inflamed in some quarters, our coverage of Mr. Black’s trial will be founded on the presumption that he and his colleagues are innocent until they are proven guilty. We will cover this trial as we do any other‹intelligently, accurately and above all fairly. The interests of our readers in the unbiased and unvarnished truth will be uppermost in our fact gathering and presentation.”
All of which sounds fine in, you know, principle, but some time later, Steyn submitted a column on the trial and, according to sources close to the scene, Cruickshank spiked it not because it was pro-Black, but because it was about Black at all. Cruickshank had in essence banned any opinion pieces about Black, pro or con. So much for fairness. These same sources claim Steyn subsequently stopped returning the paper’s calls. “He fired us” says one source. Whatever happened, it was Steyn’s last column for the paper, and in this matter at least, Cruickshank stank the joint out. And now he’s scuttling back to Canada, yet another rat abandoning the Hollinger ship.