Black Watch: Why reporters are pricks

Black Watch: Why reporters are pricks

By and large, reporters are—how to put it?—pricks (myself included, I can assure you). Why else would they so devote themselves to poking their noses into everyone else’s business, then proceed to comment with snot-nosed certainty on subjects they know so little about? Of course, the other side of this foul equation is that, in doing so with such fervour and in such volume, reporters are central to the protection of the diminishing civil rights we currently enjoy. But, rather than reflecting on that bit of sanctimony, how about a couple of examples of the former?

First there’s James Quinn, writing in the Telegraph about Black’s prospective access to e-mail while in the joint. This, whines Quinn, “means Black will potentially be able to keep in constant contact with the outside world, engaging in the kind of conversations with journalists which prosecutors said highlighted his absolute ‘lack of remorse’ for his crimes.” In summarizing, Quinn goes on to report, with gathering tangential speed, that “Black continues to protest his innocence. He is already appealing against his convictions and may also lodge an appeal against his sentence. He will travel to Coleman—50 miles northwest of Orlando—from his Palm Beach mansion on the morning of March 3 next year. On arrival he will be strip-searched and fingerprinted, subjected to DNA testing, and made to change into the prison uniform of khaki trousers and shirt or T-shirt.”

Or consider Peter Lattman, who writes the Law Blog for The Wall Street Journal (and whose work often reflects the latter part of my formulation). In finishing up a crisp piece speculating on where Black might end up, he just can’t help adding—in what I’ll call sneer parentheses: “(Law Blog Time Waster of the Day: There’s nothing funny about incarceration, but surfing the Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site is a blast.)” Having spent some time observing the operations of the bureau’s downtown Chicago skyscraper at the corner of Van Buren and Clark (kitty-corner to the federal courthouse), I have to say that anyone who’d refer to any aspect of the BoP as “a blast” deserves the appropriate moniker.

In the world of more emollient journalism, attention is shifting to Andrew Frey’s strategy for appeal, which seems to turn on the prosecution’s having failed to prove criminal intent, i.e., Black really believed in his heart of hearts he deserved the money. Sounds to me like a lead balloon but, then again, since the verdict I’ve been more or less wrong about everything. Beyond that, there are reports of Radler’s letters of recommendation (Kipnis he ain’t), a quite moving summary on St. Mark from the Chicago Reader’s Mike Miner, and a clever pensée from Anne Kingston on whither Lady Black.

Conrad Black to get email in prison: Source [Daily Telegraph]

The Curious Case of Conrad’s Correctional Facility: Source [The Wall Street Journal]

Appeal lawyer to target key jury instruction: Source [The Globe and Mail]

The other side of David Radler: Source [The Globe and Mail]

Betting on Lady Black’s next move: Source [The Globe and Mail]

Mark Kipnis gets a break: Source [Chicago Reader]

Inside stories: Do corporate criminals really serve their time?: Source [The Independent]

The sentencing of Barbara Amiel: Source [Maclean’s]