Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Newsnight meets Conrad Black
October 22, 2012 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Do you feel that it's been too long since you watched an interview in which the guest, told by the host that he is a criminal, replies, "You're a priggish, gullible, British fool"? Then, behold, Conrad Black's interview with BBC Newsnight.

Conrad Black, on his book tour, gets the BBC treatment. (Up next: Have I Got News For You.)

Since his release from prison (on charges that Black has consistently denounced), he has given few interviews, and those he has given have been considerably more civil. In the past, Black's denunciation of his trial has resulted in rare public disagreements with his former lawyer.

Black now regularly criticizes the U.S. justice system, going so far as to call it totalitarian.
posted by Dasein (44 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Black personifies the word "odious".
posted by chaz at 8:38 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jeremy Paxman personifies the word "awesome".
posted by koeselitz at 8:44 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


My longstanding crush on Jeremy Paxman blooms again!
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:57 PM on October 22, 2012


Piers Morgan should be placed in a sack and drowned*.

* not actually relevant but always needs restating.
posted by Artw at 8:57 PM on October 22, 2012 [13 favorites]


I feel really uncomfortable about this.

a) Black is an odius, immoral asshole. He is most likely right about the American justice system.
b) Of all the people who have been proscueted "by the corrupt american system" Black is not the best example.
c) Black calling someone else a Bourgeious Prig is amusingly hypocritical.
d) the difference b/w the personal and moral realtionships and the realtionship to the state is really tennous, and i am not sure this is fair.
e) Paxman is a smug asshole.
f) Barbara Amiel is a terrible human being.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:58 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


It transpires that Artw is, in fact, Jeremy Clarkson.
posted by Dasein at 9:01 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are arguing that something is totalitarian, it's best not to conclude with your fantasy of rounding up 250,000 lawyers and forcing them to work in the fields.
posted by thelonius at 9:03 PM on October 22, 2012


Oh, fnord. I'm going to throw up.
posted by shoesfullofdust at 9:03 PM on October 22, 2012


Black personifies the word "odious".

I used to think so, but I tend to agree with him here. Now that he's fallen from grace, I find him endearing.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:05 PM on October 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


And I don't think Amiel's name needs to be dragged through the mud - her life has changed drastically since 2007, but she has stood by her husband when many other wives would have given up and walked away.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:09 PM on October 22, 2012


This is worth watching just as demonstration of what would happen even if America did have a Jeremy Paxton in the media. He'd encounter an unassailable wall of entitlement. This guy thinks so little of the rules we have to live by that it pisses him off to even have to talk about them. I mean, what's more irritating than discussing rules that don't apply to you?

I think I would have preferred if he'd taken a swing at Paxton (and I think Paxton would agree with me, as his look of amusement barely hiding a fervent desire indicated). It might have broken, aside from Paxton's nose, the illusion that some old white dude in a suit with a persecution complex is too banal (and perversely relatable) to really be evil, when in fact that is exactly what Black is.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Paxman personifies the word "awesome".

Really? I'm no fan of Conrad, I appreciate that he was made uncomfortable, and I appreciate the refreshing tone, but I thought Paxman was kind of ridiculous. Pedophiles in the House of Lords? Why stoop to lowest common denominator button pushing.
posted by Chuckles at 9:12 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Black made a good point - he would never have been convicted in Canada or Britain. Too bad he was foolish enough to do business in the States.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:14 PM on October 22, 2012


Black made a good point - he would never have been convicted in Canada or Britain.

When the jury convicted the lawyer who had advised the company, I think a lot of people who knew the case thought the jury might have gone too far. His charges were ultimately dismissed, but not before they ruined his life and just about bankrupted him. Whatever one thinks of Black, I think that the point he makes about people being railroaded into guilty pleas by the prospect of a trial is massively important.
posted by Dasein at 9:19 PM on October 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ah, Paxo. My favorite moment is still when a Welsh economist handed him his ass on national television. Great interviewer, and sharp, but doesn't know when to admit he's wrong.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 PM on October 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah, Paxo. My favorite moment is still when a Welsh economist handed him his ass on national television.

Wow.
posted by Dasein at 9:31 PM on October 22, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yah. Wow.
posted by parki at 9:52 PM on October 22, 2012


It transpires that Artw is, in fact, Jeremy Clarkson

Only if he wants Morgan drowned in front of his family.

And I don't think Amiel's name needs to be dragged through the mud

Oh she did well on her own, one of those socalled "journalists" who made the British press what it is today: shit, just another Tory propagandist in the Westminster bubble, not too hesitant to advance the cause of international wingnuttery.

Both her and Black suffer from lifelong senses of entitlement, that they should get naything they wanted whether or not they worked for it, earned it or could get it legally...
posted by MartinWisse at 10:44 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing that made my feelings for Black quite confused was finding out that he was a model prisoner. He wasn't just well behaved, he ran tutoring classes for other inmates to get their GEDs, and gave history lectures. The warden, IIRC, actually said that he would miss Black.
posted by fatbird at 10:47 PM on October 22, 2012


Ah, Paxo. My favorite moment is still when a Welsh economist handed him his ass on national television. Great interviewer, and sharp, but doesn't know when to admit he's wrong.

He is somewhat of a bully, indeed and the "did you threaten to overrule hims" not withstanding, he has the habit of being far harsher on Westminster outsiders than those in power.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:54 PM on October 22, 2012


Amiel was no Tory in the sense we'd understand it. She and Mark Steyn, as I remember it, were brought in to provide big hitting international affairs commentary and to shake up the op-ed pages.

In practice this meant Amiel basically became a mouthpiece for the Israel lobby and Steyn carried water for the neocons. At the time, remember, Tony Blair was building the dodgy dossier, there was a big love in between New Labour and GWB and the BBC was getting a lot of flak for being anti-Israel, biased etc.

Compare with, say, Simon Heffer (now at the Daily Mail, unsurprisingly) and Charles Moore (ex-DT editor, now rolled out of his coffin in twilight hours to argue the Conservative viewpoint du jour) who came afterwards and are very clearly in the conservative commentator mould.

Amiel and Steyn were the batshitinsane side of wingnuttery and the moment Black ceded control, they were gone.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:29 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


but not before they ruined his life and just about bankrupted him. I think that the point he makes about people being railroaded into guilty pleas by the prospect of a trial is massively important.

Don't forget the Judges who are also corrupt.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:51 AM on October 23, 2012


Conrad Black may be a criminal, but he seems to have a pretty accurate take on Paxman.
posted by paperzach at 3:53 AM on October 23, 2012


> He wasn't just well behaved, he ran tutoring classes for other inmates to get their GEDs ...

... according to Conrad Black, that is. “Of the three tutors assigned to my class during the time Black was an inmate at Coleman, Black put in the fewest hours.
posted by scruss at 4:29 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Paxton
posted by Segundus at 5:43 AM on October 23, 2012


Paxman just comes across as a wanker who doesn't listen at all. Why would anyone who claimed innocence be penitent at all.
posted by mary8nne at 5:47 AM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Piers Morgan should be placed in a sack and drowned

Sentence incomplete - please add the words "with an extensive range of exotic cockroaches" after the word "sack" and "in a a cess-pit" after the word "drowned".
posted by Grangousier at 6:02 AM on October 23, 2012


Paxman doesn't call people 'plebs'. But you know he's thinking it with every fibre of his being.

When he's talking to politicians that's fine. Slebs, plebs.

Innocent 'University Challenge' contestant who doesn't recognise a piece of classical music, not so much.
posted by Segundus at 6:43 AM on October 23, 2012


Conrad Black was just on Sky News berating Adam Boulton as well. He looks like he's quite enjoying himself, really.
posted by dng at 7:18 AM on October 23, 2012


Conrad Black was just on Sky News berating Adam Boulton as well.

For real. Conrad Black should get the Order of Canada a second time - this man is the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by Dasein at 9:24 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conrad is a guest on Have I Got News For You this week, a program that has no inhibitions about turning on its guests. Or anyone else.

I'm sure nothing will go wrong.

(Orders popcorn in, puts placeholder on sofa)
posted by Wordshore at 9:33 AM on October 23, 2012


On snark. If anyone asks for a prime example of snark, then just the last four seconds of the interview of Conrad by Adam Boulton is surely it?
posted by Wordshore at 9:37 AM on October 23, 2012


I find him endearing.

When I lived in Vancouver, you would often find largish green & yellow slugs on wooded trails. If you hold your hand up in front of them, but just out of reach, the smarter ones will sort of rear up and wave their eyestalks at you, trying to figure out where all that nice heat is coming from.

That's endearing. Conrad Black, not so much.
posted by sneebler at 10:13 AM on October 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


If I had the chance, I wouldn't mind chatting with Mr. Black for a few minutes at a cocktail party. But I wouldn't want to be stuck beside him at a dinner party.
posted by ovvl at 10:32 AM on October 23, 2012


Clearly he learned a lot from doing a stint in the pokey. I'm just glad he's rehabilitated and ready to re-enter society.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:42 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty behind the times. Can someone explain exactly what Conrad Black did?
posted by koeselitz at 10:55 AM on October 23, 2012


There's a bit of an overview here. He was acquitted, at trial or on appeal, of almost all the charges. Essentially, as I understand it, he was convicted for having had non-compete payments paid to him personally, rather than to his companies, when those companies sold newspapers to competitors. (But that might make commercial sense - otherwise Black could just go and found a new company to compete with his old paper.)

Really, what did him in was video of Black removing boxes from his Toronto office, which a U.S. judge decided was obstruction of justice. There's a real issue as to how a U.S. judge has jurisdiction over a defendant's actions in another country. I'm not clear on what orders the U.S. court had put in place at the time the boxes were removed. Anyway, obstruction was the only charge that got him serious jail time.
posted by Dasein at 11:21 AM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The warden, IIRC, actually said that he would miss Black.

Now that's endearing. Shame he couldn't have kept him around.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:19 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just watched this interview.

I suddenly like this Conrad Black fellow very much.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:08 PM on October 23, 2012


What always amuses me about people who threaten violence - even if they do it indirectly like this - is the way they simply assume that they would prevail. "I ought to kick your ass". Really? Are you sure you could manage it? Really sure it wouldn't be you who ended up in hospital?

Black v Paxman? My money wouldn't be on the criminal.
posted by Decani at 7:50 AM on October 24, 2012


But Conrad Black looks a bit like Albert Finney in Miller's Crossing, so he's probably pretty handy with his fists.
posted by dng at 11:23 AM on October 24, 2012


On the other hand, it's probably unwise to castigate the court (and the SEC) in print and in the media when under ruling.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:49 AM on October 25, 2012


Conrad is a guest on Have I Got News For You this week, a program that has no inhibitions about turning on its guests. Or anyone else.

I'm sure nothing will go wrong.


'Jeremy Paxman is an asshole': Conrad Black's rant on HIGNFY.
posted by Kabanos at 6:44 AM on October 26, 2012


Conrad Black: My London adventure
posted by Dasein at 1:49 PM on November 5, 2012


« Older File FOI requests in different countries...  |  Researchers think that the lat... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments