Monday, 3 August 2009

Conrad Black writes from prison for the Owl

That headline reads so well I thought it worth giving a repeat mention to an item from Sunday’s Crikey Breakfast Media Watch which many of you will have missed by not realising that I actually do one.

The former international newspaper publisher is well qualified in matters of sleaze, vulgarity and misplaced self-righteousness that are covered by the awards he wrote of recently from his prison cell. I was particularly taken by the Black reason for not declaring Silvio Berlusconi the winner in his political entertainment category.

The Italian Prime Minister’s free-wheeling romantic life and alleged orgies do not in themselves make him a strong contender but his strong skepticism about what he regards as “the unctuous humbug of conflict-of-interest concerns, and his success in eliciting from his countrymen a reaffirmation of their unshakeable faith in the absurdity of politics, do.” Mr Black commented:

My impartial judging panel has awarded him a lifetime achievement award for doubling the tax on the Italian satellite television service Sky Italia, that competes with his own Mediaset network. While at first blush, this might seem a heavy-handed and self-serving use of a public trust, it is important to remember that his target is Rupert Murdoch (who controls Sky Italia through News Corporation), the world’s greatest defamer.

This makes it an act of natural justice, nuisance abatement and cultural hygiene, in other words. This is statesmanship of the first water.

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