Mark Steyn on Conrad Black

I did not follow the Conrad Black trial, but enjoyed reading Mark Steyn’s mammoth post mortem. In contrast to Marc Lee’s excellent commentary on this blog, Mark Steyn is a die-hard supporter of Black.

The post mortem’s main argument is that Black’s legal team did an extremely poor job. In one sense, blaming the lawyers is simply the last ditch of Steyn’s persistent defence of Black. However, it is an interesting counterpoint to the Canadian media’s typical portrayal of Edward Greenspan as a legal demigod.

Steyn also contends that, while Black may be pompous, he does not take his own pomposity seriously. I have always thought that this assessment must be at least partly accurate.

The other thing I liked about the post mortem was that it was more reflective (perhaps simply because it was much longer) than Steyn’s previous coverage. Throughout the trial, it felt like I was being bombarded with reflexive assertions of Black’s complete innocence whenever I received a new issue of Maclean’s. To test this perception, I have pasted the descriptions of Steyn’s columns from Maclean’s table of contents below.

April 2-9: 54 Mark Steyn – Hollinger is meeting its Waterloo in Chicago, a city Conrad Black barely set foot in.

April 9-16: 33 Mark Steyn – Hours of non-compete nitpicking, a clock-watching jury, and a government that has yet to answer the question: “Where’s the crime?” Week two of the Conrad Black trial.

April 16-23: 36 Mark Steyn – A huge cheque looms over Black’s fortunes, even as the defence scores points. Too late for a “happy ending”?

April 23-30: 26 Mark Steyn – The way Black’s prosecutors do justice, they could make using a toilet while committing a crime “can fraud.”

April 30-May 7: 40 Mark Steyn – In Chicago this week: “Conrad Black is a wicked man, but darned if we can tell you why.”

May 7-14: 52 Mark Steyn – Conrad Black: trailblazing businessman and media mogul, undone by a jet.

May 14-21: 56 Mark Steyn – Round One goes to Black, but celebrity-studded Round Two is going the other way.

May 21-28: 43 Mark Steyn – Deal-maker David Radler’s testimony supports the notion that the non-competes were clever, not criminal

May 28-June 4: 37 Mark Steyn – Radler’s deal, six months in a B.C. “country club,” is a far cry from Conrad’s potential 101 years, and reveals a shabby man bribed by a powerful system.

June 4-11: 39 Mark Steyn – The government has signed up witnesses who will agree to Conrad Black’s crime.

June 11-18: 38 Mark Steyn – The government rests its case – an unanswerable one.

June 18-25: 38 Mark Steyn – Testimony at Conrad Black’s trial ends with no evidence of a crime, but the jury’s still not laughing.

June 25-July 2: 39 Mark Steyn – At the Conrad Black trial, the FBI’s Mister Funk says there was no fraud. None.

July 2- 9: 38 Mark Steyn – With closing arguments ringing in their eras, Conrad Black’s jurors are off for sequestration.

July 9-23: 58 Mark Steyn – The jury has a last laugh.


  • The Wikipedia article on Steyn (which does not mention the Black trial but chronicles a long history with Hollinger and right-wing causes) is worth a read after his attack on Black’s lawyers (peppered with references of him having insider conversations with Conrad and Babs).

  • I’m a lawyer and I’ve seen a bit of how courts operate when Greenspan is in the defence. The bit about Greenspan’s lack of effectiveness in the US has some veracity, I think. Greenspan intimidates Canadian judges by reputation (earned) and bullying tactics, and gets away with it the way few lawyers can without risking disrespect or looking too aggresive. The same defence in Canada would have been far more effective than in the US, where no-one knows or cares about what Eddie thinks about them.

  • I’m less certain. Steyn blame everybody: the media, Rattler, the judge, Black’s attorney’s, the US Justice system, over-zealous prosecutors, the jury, pretty much everybody except Black.

    After reading excuse after excuse, I find it hard to believe anything he writes.

  • Jennifer de Lasala

    Conrad Black is a man of unusual calibre. In a world of mediocrity he stands out like a beacon.

  • Jennifer de Lasala

    Conrad Black is a man of unusual caliber. In a world of mediocrity he stands out like a beacon.

  • Mark Steyn and Conrad Black are two of the same. They are people without principle who will do say or do anything to get their way. They are both ardent Zionists and conservatives who like to blame everyone and everything for the fact that the world is not the way they would like it to be: Liberals, Mainstream Media, Muslims, et al.

    In this case, everyone knows that Conrad was an arrogant crook- he used to steal exams and sell them for a profit while at UCC and got kicked out for that reason!!! He got caught taking money for the corporation and using it for his personally decadent lifestyle and that of his ‘wannabe aristocrat’ wife.

    As for Jennifer de Lasala that “Conrad Black is a man of unusual caliber. In a world of mediocrity he stands out like a beacon”. Are you crazy! He has never been a great help to others like Warren Buffet or helping humanity like Jimmy Carter. He was a crook (simple as that) and a boring one at that- using his money to write boring autobiographies on people he thought interesting (e.g. Roosevelt) that no one read. Get real girlfriend (‘snaps’)!

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