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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Thursday, 20 November 2003

Topic: The Media
When good Canadians go bad....

What is it with conservative right-wing media barons?

I was living and working in Canada in the late nineties when Conrad Black, who owned a good share of the smaller newspapers in Canada, and some radio, television and magazine interests, renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could accept a peerage from Queen Elizabeth. Well, he was also running the successful and conservative (Tory) Telegraph newspaper in London. So he "went for it." He became a UK citizen and the new Lord Black of Crossharbour. Then the century ended and I resigned my position in London, Ontario and returned to Hollywood. And Conrad Black took his seat in the House of Lords.

Well, four days ago, Lord Black of Crossharbour abruptly resigned from position as head of his media empire, Hollinger International. One of the disgruntled shareholders proved Black had sort of siphoned off thirty-two million dollars of the organization's money for himself, and his friends and family. Oops.

Daniel Gross in the article you can link to below points out who those folks are. And it identifies those who were on the board of directors.

Henry Kissinger: "There's former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (a director since 1996), who would seem to have little insight into the business challenges facing a newspaper company--think newsprint prices, union contracts, the impact of the digital era on newspapers. (Strategic bombing of media competitors, after all, is typically not an option.) He evidently agreed: While the Board met four times in 2002, the proxy notes that `Mr. Kissinger did not attend 75% or more of the aggregate of the total number of meetings of the Board of Directors and the total number of meetings of the committees on which such director served.' In other words, in exchange for his $35,000 director's fee, Kissinger attended at most one meeting--and possibly none."


And there was the Honorable Richard Burt, the former arms negotiator and Reagan-era ambassador to Germany; the Honorable James Thompson, the former Republican governor of Illinois; and the Honorable Richard Perle. The Honorable Robert Strauss, the Republican former ambassador to the Soviet Union, served on the board for six years but left in 2002.

What a crew! Richard Perle of course has been under fire for being a key member of our Defense Policy Board and one of the administration's chief spokesmen on why we're at war - the hawk of hawks - while making a lot of money for his friends because of the war. And even more of that is documented here.

Well, the business got driven into the ground. But Perle is still the key man who directs our foreign policy, or one of the key men.

Daniel Gross comments that "putting a bunch of right-wingers with occasionally dubious foreign policy credentials in the position of directing a profit-making business seems almost as illogical as putting a bunch of right-wingers with occasionally dubious business credentials in charge of foreign policy."

Hollinger International Inc.
Chicago Newspaper Network Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Sun-Times Chicago, Illinois
Daily Southtown Chicago and Southern Suburbs
Pioneer Press Suburban Chicago (Gateway to 48 sites)
Star Newspapers South and Southwestern Suburban Chicago (Gateway to 20 sites)
Suburban Chicago Newspapers Suburban Chicago (Gateway to six sites)
Post-Tribune Northwest Indiana
The Daily Telegraph London, UK
The Jerusalem Post Jerusalem, Israel
La Rep?blica San Jos?, Costa Rica

The article is here:

Man Overboard: Conrad Black's retinue of insiders, cronies, and clunkers
Daniel Gross - Posted Thursday, Nov. 20, 2003, at 1:37 PM PT SLATE.COM

And you'll find a related article here from a magazine named "Forward" where one Nathaniel Popper points out that not just Conrad Black resigned, but F. David Radler who oversaw the Jerusalem Post. Who is going to now assert Ariel Sharon is "a man of peace" - besides George Bush?
Hollinger Woes Casting a Pall Over Future of Neocon Papers

Posted by Alan at 17:53 PST | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 14:51 PST home

Friday, 21 November 2003 - 07:59 PST

Name: Rick Brown
Home Page:


Small point, but although Strauss did serve as ambassador to the USSR during a GOP administration, he was not an actual Republican. In fact, he is a one-time chair of the Democratic National Committee, chair of the 1976 Jimmy Carter campaign, and served in Carter's cabinet as a Special Trade rep.

Now what a nice guy like that was doing hanging around with the likes of Conrad Black is something I can't explain.


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