Lord Black of Cross Harbour – better known nowadays as inmate 18330-424 – may be serving six and half years in a low security prison in Florida for his part in looting the coffers of Hollinger International of millions of dollars.
But it hasn’t stopped him carving out a new niche as a freelance journalist.
His latest piece is a review of the new Rupert Murdoch biography – the Man Who Owns the News, by Michael Wolff – filed for New York-based news website The Daily Beast.
Those Telegraph journalists who recall the years when Black froze their pay while filling his pockets with stolen loot from the company strongbox will enjoy his indirect summation of journalists:
“The author accurately imputes the opinion to Murdoch that journalists are ‘weak, self indulgent andâ€¦absolutely sanguine about wasting his money'”.
Wasting money! Pots, kettles and…Black I say.
Conrad rejects the suggestion made in the book that he made a deal to lay off Murdoch’s son James in the Telegraph in exchange for News Corp not writing about what he calls his “legal travails”.
“In fact, News Corp attacked me as viciously as I have ever seen in 40 years in the media, except for a few foreign dictators, and I told our business writers that Murdoch had a perfect right to put anyone he wanted in charge of his business units. I didn’t need a quid pro quo to avoid attacking the young Murdochs.”
Overall Black is less than flattering about what he calls an “irritating book”.
Black’s view of Murdoch?
“Murdoch fits Clarendon’s description of Cromwell, updated by David Chandler to describe Napoleon, as ‘a great, bad man’. He once telephoned me to complain that the editor of The Daily Telegraph had referred to him as “evil.” I asked the editor to moderate it a bit. An authoritative biography of Rupert Murdoch, and he certainly deserves one, will have to address that possibility.”
This correspondent hasn’t yet read the Wolff book – but I did interview him for the January edition of Press Gazette magazine, out next week, and found his insights into the mind of the News Corp boss and his views on people like Rebekah Wade, Robert Thomson and most intriguing of all, Will Lewis, to be absolutely fascinating.
(To read all that you will have to be a subscriber I’m afraid)