The Summer 2011 Claremont Review of Books features a piece by Conrad Black, the Canadian press lord. An interesting, wealthy, eloquent, and controversial man, he has run afoul of the U.S. authorities. He has emerged from the encounter with his honor intact, which is more than can be said of the authorities. See, for example Mark Steyn’s note on Black’s reincarceration as well as Seth Lipsky’s column on his resentencing.
The great press lords have always been controversial, and they have always stood up to the controversy. Biographer of among others Franklin Roosevelt, whom he likes, Lord Black has written about the New York Times for this issue. This is both delicious and important, because Lord Black knows the press, and because the New York Times has written about him personally, not all of it kind.
Black is in fact a powerful mind, as well as a powerful man. He gives a catalogue of the recent absurdities that have besmirched the name of the Times, the purported paper of record. Anyone who is angry about these things — and everyone who cares about the truth should be — will find this aspect of the review satisfying. But Black does not forget that the fame of the Times was won through excellence, a kind of excellence we need. He holds the view that it has not lost all of it. He hopes the Times can rid itself of its prejudices, which are now vented freely, and return to its something of it former glory.
The book Black reviews is Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of the New York Times Means for America, by William McGowan. His review is “Still fit to print?” McGowan’s six-part Power Line series on the Times is accessible here.
Black’s piece is the third of four that we are previewing from the new issue of my favorite magazine. If you love to read and if you lean conservative, the CRB is for you. A subscription costs less that $20 a year. Subscribe here and get immediate online access to the entire issue thrown in.
UPDATE: Seth Lipsky also reminds me of his remarks on the conviction of Conrad Black.