Mark Steyn on Conrad Black
I did not follow the Conrad Black trial, but enjoyed reading Mark Steynâ€™s mammoth post mortem. In contrast to Marc Leeâ€™s excellent commentary on this blog, Mark Steyn is a die-hard supporter of Black.
The post mortemâ€™s main argument is that Blackâ€™s legal team did an extremely poor job. In one sense, blaming the lawyers is simply the last ditch of Steynâ€™s persistent defence of Black. However, it is an interesting counterpoint to the Canadian mediaâ€™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 Steynâ€™s previous coverage. Throughout the trial, it felt like I was being bombardedÂ with reflexive assertions of Blackâ€™s complete innocence whenever I received a new issue of Macleanâ€™s. To test this perception, I have pasted the descriptions of Steynâ€™s columns from Macleanâ€™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: “Whereâ€™s the crime?” Week two of the Conrad Black trial.
April 16-23: 36 Mark Steyn – A huge cheque looms over Blackâ€™s fortunes, even as the defence scores points. Too late for a “happy ending”?
April 23-30: 26 Mark Steyn – The way Blackâ€™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 Radlerâ€™s testimony supports the notion that the non-competes were clever, not criminal
May 28-June 4: 37 Mark Steyn – Radlerâ€™s deal, six months in a B.C. “country club,” is a far cry from Conradâ€™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 Blackâ€™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 Blackâ€™s trial ends with no evidence of a crime, but the juryâ€™s still not laughing.
June 25-July 2: 39 Mark Steyn – At the Conrad Black trial, the FBIâ€™s Mister Funk says there was no fraud. None.
July 2- 9: 38 Mark Steyn – With closing arguments ringing in their eras, Conrad Blackâ€™s jurors are off for sequestration.
July 9-23: 58 Mark Steyn – The jury has a last laugh.