Black Watch: Reaction from around the world

Black Watch: Reaction from around the world

As was the case after verdict day, the ink flowed freely in Britain, the U.S. and Canada, bringing news of the continuing traffic accident that is Conrad Black’s current lot. And of course, given “the felon’s” polarizing nature, descriptions and reflections ran the gamut. The term of imprisonment being less than what had been imagined brought a round of muted huzzahs from Conrad’s supporters. The noted American conservative Emmett Tyrrell, writing in The New York Sun, described Black altogether too sunnily, accepting the sentence “silently, politely, but unbowed.” And in his recession before the fourth estate, “Black stood around with his lawyers for 20 minutes, counting off some matters that engrossed him on his fingers. Then he strolled through the mob of reporters hectoring him. He seemed unperturbed.” At the other end of the spectrum was the Chicago Sun-Times, which ran a frankly shameful editorial that made the astonishing assertion “we don’t make a habit of kicking people when they’re down” before proceeding, in almost pornographic and certainly idiotic detail, to do just that.

But the bulk of the coverage fell somewhere in between. If I read one more Bernie Taupin lyric by way of analogy, or one more use of the term “Club Fed,” I might pass out. The Telegraph offered up former Tory cabinet minister and perjurer Jonathan Aitken, who advised Black to aspire to humility in all things:

“My only advice to him would be to blend into the landscape of prison and to go with the flow of it. He may have to make a self-transformation from a tall poppy into a shrinking violet to achieve this. But he will do it because he will soon find that all men are equal in a prison uniform. The shared misery can actually be a surprisingly interesting and even positive experience.”

All of which I’m sure was a comfort.

There were odious analogies to O.J. Simpson, endless descriptions of “life behind bars.” James Bone pointed out a little too gleefully that, “a famously late riser, [Black] will have to be standing by his bunk for the morning head count at 6:15 a.m. After breakfast, he will report to a prison job paying 12 cents an hour that could range from swabbing the floors to teaching inmates who are studying for their high school diplomas.” Meanwhile, the National Post offered a rather po-faced critical evaluation of Black’s writerly contributions and a similar speculation as to what might happen to his philanthropic donations. On the whole, it all smacked of been there done that, which after the endless journalistic odyssey of his demise, would sadden no one so much as Lord Black himself. The fallen media mogul has, through the sheer volume of his coverage, rendered himself a bore. I offer the following only partial list of outpourings as Exhibit A:

Kipnis escapes prison time: Source [Chicago Tribune]

Last note sounds for Black: Source [Chicago Tribune]

Blackout: Source [Chicago Sun-Times]

6 1/2 years, no remorse: Source [Chicago Sun-Times]

Cool hand Conrad: Source [Toronto Sun]

The lifetime that moulded Conrad Black: Source [Toronto Star]

Black pays the price: Source [Toronto Star]

Meanwhile, for Lady Black a fate worse than imprisonment looms: obscurity: Source [The Independent]

Conrad Black is sentenced to 6_ years in jail – after festive season is over: Source [Times Online]

Kipnis, Black’s Top Lawyer, Escapes Prison Time: Source [Wall Street Journal]

Aitken advises Conrad Black on prison: Source [The Telegraph]

Relief and defiance: disgraced press baron smiles but a long reality check awaits: Source [The Guardian]

Conrad Black, The Writer: Source [Financial Post]

Charities face ethical bind over Black’s donations: Source [Financial Post]

Conrad Black, Unbroken: Source [New York Sun]

‘It could have been a lot worse’: Source [Globe and Mail]