Conrad Black

Canadian-born British newspaper publisher (born 1944)

Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, PC, OC, KCSG (born 25 August 1944) is a Canadian and British former newspaper publisher, businessman, and historian who was, for a time, a newspaper magnate with the third largest business in the world. In 2007, Black was convicted of criminal fraud and obstruction of justice.

Conrad Black in 2013

Quotes edit

  • We must express the view, based on our empirical observations, that a substantial number of journalists are ignorant, lazy, opinionated, and intellectually dishonest. The profession is heavily cluttered with aged hacks toiling through a miasma of mounting decrepitude and often alcoholism, and even more so with arrogant and abrasive youngsters who substitute 'commitment' for insight.
    • Black, Conrad et al, "A Brief to the Special Senate Committee on the Mass Media from the Sherbrooke Record...", 1969 : Despite Black's involvement in press ownership, he heaped scorn on journalism

The Establishment Man by Peter C. Newman (1982) edit

The Establishment Man: A Portrait of Power, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1982
  • I tended, even from my early years, to look at the world from a slightly different vantage point. Although I might have had trouble articulating it at the age of 10, I wasn't unduly convinced of the durability of the Anglo-Saxon world as we had come to know it in the postwar period, a world of latter-day materialism advancing around the globe on the wongs of the English language and the American dollar. I had a sneaking suspicion that we were living in a bit of a fool's paradise...
  • I had never heard of [Walter] Young before, and I do not expect to hear from him again.
    • on a reviewer of his biography of Maurice Duplessis
  • Black condemned the 1966 decision made by Harold Wilson to pull out of the Persian Gulf and scrap the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers. He regarded the resignation of Christopher Mayhew, Minister of Defence for the Navy as "the last resonance of good sense in that country until Maggie Thatcher came in."
  • Perhaps Archbishop Paul-Émile Léger suffered from what they call in French a taste for the sensational. He was like one of those matadors who, as the cadence of the oles gets more and more rapid, are always trying to find something more daring to do. He grew hasty in his desire to produce new spectacles and maybe did a few ill-considered things. But on the whole I remain impressed with him.
    • on one of his mentors
  • Having read all the other works on the same subject, including M. Rumilly's recently published effort; having spent innumerable days and evenings in the dusty and poorly-illuminated archival chaos of Maurice Duplessis's basement, and having conscientiously revised the original version of this thesis in conformity with many objections, some of which were uninformed and unjust, I am unpretentiously conscious of presenting herewith the definitive work in its field, in any language.
    • on submitting his revised MA dissertation in history to the faculty of Université Laval
  • The present government of Quebec is the most financially and intellectually corrupt in the history of the province. There are the shady deals, brazenly conducted, and the broken promises, most conspicuously that of last October to retain Bill 63... The government dragged out the ancient and totally fictitious spectre of assimilation to justify Bill 22 and its rejection of the right of free choice in education, its its reduction of English education to the lowest echelon of ministerial whim, its assault upon freedom of expression through the regulation of the internal and external language of businesses and other organizations, and its creation of a fatuous new linguistic bureaucracy that will conduct a system of organized denunciation, harassment, and patronage... There is a paralytic social sickness in Quebec. In all this debate, not a single French Quebecker has objected to Bill 22 on the grounds that it was undemocratic or a reduction of liberties exercised in the province. The Quebec Civil Liberties Union, founded by Pierre Trudeau, from which one might have expected such sentiments, has instead demanded the abolition of English education, and this through the spokemanship of Jean-Louis Roy, who derives his income from McGill University.... It is clear that Mr. Bourassa... is now going to try to eliminate the Parti Quebecois by a policy of gradual scapegoatism directed against the non-French elements in the province... The English community here, still deluding itself with the illusion of Montreal as an incomparably fine place to live, is leaderless and irrelevant, except as the hostage of a dishonest government. Last month one of the most moderate ministers, Guy St-Pierre, told an English businessman's group, 'If you don't like Quebec, you can leave it.' With sadness but with certitude, I accept that choice.
    • radio broadcast on 26 July 1974, the day Black left Quebec for good
  • Bud (McDougald) was a true Darwinist, so in his view, when he died--to the winner should go the spoils. It was a free-for-all. A lot of people, Nelson Davis for one, used to ask me what Bud would have thought of the somewhat unseemly scramble that went on after he died. I suspect it would have flattered him. Had he wanted an orderly succession, he would have organized one. He certainly told Monte and me that he wanted us to take over--but he told a few other people the same thing. Bud was very skillful at presenting the carrot and making sure it wasn't within anyone's grasp.
    • on the ill-planned succession at Argus Corporation in 1978
  • All those pent-up forces of envy and disbelief finally showed their true colours instead of masquerading in the deceitful fashion they have used since I took over at Argus... there is something about the Canadian mentality that cannot stand an unbroken string of successes, unless it comes after a long life or after evident ordeal. No one begrudged Terry Fox getting the Order of Canada and no one boos any more when E.P. Taylor wins the Queen's Plate. But present Canadians with too much success too soon and it's just unbearable. That's how it works in this country.
    • on the national weakness for the politics of envy

"Conrad Black", Slate (2001) edit

Plotz, David "Conrad Black", Slate (August 31, 2001)
  • An overgenerous reinsurance policy for an underachieving people.
    • About Canada's social welfare system
  • A jumped-up little twerp [and a] prime candidate for exorcism
    • Characterisation of the Bishop of Calgary for backing a strike at Black's Calgary Herald newspaper.

"The world according to Conrad Black" (2007) edit

Olive, David (compiled by) "The world according to Conrad Black", Toronto Star (March 11, 2007)
  • [The] swarming, grunting masses of jackals...
    • On investigative journalists:
  • The bedraggled warhorse of American blowhardism.
  • Those who would retain his services should confine him to subjects better suited…to his sniggering, puerile, defamatory and cruelly limited talents.
  • Greed has been severely underestimated and denigrated – unfairly so, in my opinion.
    • On avarice
  • It is galling to see such mendacious hypocrites as Kennedy and Biden at the Senate Judiciary Committee sitting in judgment on distinguished jurists.
    • On U.S. Democratic senators opposed to the appointment of Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1988.

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