Murdoch has no loyalty to anyone, claims Black
Black goes indirectly to jail taking a pop en route at his ‘instinctively downmarket’ rival Rupert Murdoch
Conrad Black has been told he has until September 6 to report back to Coleman federal prison to serve the final 13 months of his sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice. It means he will miss the October publication of his memoir, A Matter of Principle, parts of which he wrote during his last 29-month stay at the Florida jail.
That need not be a problem. When his book on Richard Nixon, The Invisible Quest, was published in 2007, at a time when he was confined to his Palm Beach mansion awaiting sentencing, he made a virtual appearance at Waterstone's in Piccadilly, using a so-called LongPen which allows signatures to be transmitted over the internet using fibre optics.
In the meantime, the former Daily Telegraph owner has been giving his thoughts on his one-time Fleet Street rival proprietor, Rupert Murdoch.
In a syndicated Financial Times article this week, Black called Murdoch "probably the most successful media proprietor and operator in history".
But while his personality is "generally quite agreeable," said Black, "Murdoch has no loyalty to anyone or anything except his company. He has difficulty keeping friendships; rarely keeps his word for long; is an exploiter of the discomfort of others; and has betrayed every political leader who ever helped him in any country, except Ronald Reagan and perhaps Tony Blair."
As a media mogul, Murdoch's instincts are downmarket, Black went on. "He is not only a tabloid sensationalist, he is a malicious myth-maker, an assassin of the dignity of others and of respected institutions, all in the guise of anti-elitism. He masquerades as a pillar of contemporary, enlightened populism in Britain and sensible conservatism in the US, though he has been assiduously kissing the undercarriage of the rulers of Beijing for years."
Black, who fought so hard to join the British establishment, giving up his Canadian citizenship to take his seat in the Lords, concluded that "what matters is the recovery of the integrity of Britain's governing elites".
He said: "There must be a reckoning with decades of establishment cowardice towards someone whose nature has been well known throughout that time. The fault is the British establishment's and it must not be seduced and intimidated, so profoundly and durably, again."
Conrad's friends and readers will not be surprised to learn that he managed to bring Napoleon into the frame. "He [Murdoch] is, as Clarendon said of Cromwell and the British historian David Chandler updated to Napoleon, 'a great bad man'. It is as wrong to dispute his greatness as his badness." ·
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