Megapundit Special Edition: Conrad Black
At least he wasn't into dogfighting
Chris Selley | Dec 11, 2007 | 22:06:14
People/fictional characters to which Black is compared: George Bailey(DiManno); Cool Hand Luke(Worthington); Dr. Doolittle(Aubin); Jay Gatsby(Aubin); Richard III(Bone, quoting George Tombs); Robert Latimer(Blatchford); Michael Vick(Warmington, quoting Les Pyette).
In the best piece of the day by far, the Toronto Star's David Olive looks at all the fateful decisions that could have spared Black his current torment. His father might not have instilled his son with a belief in "the inherent treachery of business," for example, and he could have been less sympathetic to Conrad's, er, academic indiscretions. Conrad, for his part, could have "followed his muse" and become a journalist, realized Rupert Murdoch's price war against his Daily Telegraph wasn't "a passing migraine," abandoned his pursuit of a peerage and thus avoided renouncing his Canadian citizenship, not married Barbara Amiel, and not described the U.S. justice system as "essentially a substitute for a wealth distribution policy." "But then," Olive concludes, "he wouldn't be Conrad Black."
"[H]e did the crime and now must do the time," Diane Francis declares in the Financial Post, but that doesn't mean she doesn't "feel badly for him and his family." More worthy of pity, in her view, are the "three of his four convicted accomplices who were followers, not leaders." If only they'd been "introspective" like Radler, she laments, who had "the courage to admit wrongdoing and atone."
Rosie DiManno invites Black to sue her and the Star for calling his brief statement to Judge Amy St. Eve—"I have never once uttered one disrespectful word about this case, your honour, the jurors or the process"—a bald-faced lie. Nevertheless, DiManno has no quibble with the sentence. But the "tribute dinner" atmosphere presided over by sentencing lawyer Jeffrey Steinbeck, who read "hosannas penned by an array of devotees," proves to her that "class, as in the prerogative of a social elite, gently handled, still carries weight, even in an American courtroom where Judge Amy insisted there's 'equal justice' for all under the law."
The Edmonton Sun's Neil Waugh concurs, and is happy to see the backs of the sycophantic Toronto media—particularly given the nauseating attempts of Black's attorneys to paint him as someone who should be "pitied, not punished." "Wasn't that a bizarre and disgusting scene when final sentencing arguments went on in United State's judge Amy St. Eve's Chicago courtroom yesterday morning?" he asks, employing what we can only assume is some new kind of Albertan dialect.
The Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington doesn't think Black's big mouth had much effect on Judge St. Eve at all, and seems generally delighted that he got off with such a comparatively light sentence. And thanks be to the Night Scrawler for this all-timer of a quote from former Post publisher Les Pyette: "He gets 78 months for being innocent and quarterback Michael Vick gets 23 months for the most sickening deed of all, dog-fighting?"