How can Black make a comeback?
Conrad Black (file photo)
Conrad Black has returned to his Bridle Path estate and second only to his freedom is his claim of innocence. With the former media-mogul now back in the spotlight, we spoke to PR expert, a lawyer, a journalist and an author to ask: How can Black repair his reputation?
Playing the blame game
Peter C. Newman Author of The Establishment Man (the first biography of Conrad Black)
“Chances are that Conrad Black will never stop fulminating against the perfidies of the American justice system, trumpeting his blamelessness, blaming his troubles on the jury of Windy City primates unaware of his noble entitlement, who vetoed his right not only to claim innocence but absolution. As he left Canada to take up his British title, Black dismissed the country of his birth and his source of his original fortunes as ‘uncompetitive, slothful, self-righteous, spiteful — an envious nanny-state hovering on the verge of dissolution and bankruptcy.’ That will be his epitaph, not ours.”
Stay strong, carry on
Allan Bonner Allan Bonner Communications Management Inc., adviser to Mel Lastman during his tenure as mayor
“Many corporations with dark pasts, including convictions for criminal conspiracy and fraud, are on the lists of most admired now. Conrad Black is a long way away from these problems, having been mostly exonerated. He has a deserved reputation as a highly intelligent and tough business person. His tough statements on the process he went through in the U.S. are consistent with this reputation. He has continued to write, receive praise for his work and maintain a public presence and decorum. Given recent events in the financial sector, Lord Black’s challenges pale. He needs little advice, but I’m sure has noted Churchill’s dictum: ‘Box on!’ ”
A model prisoner with questionable convictions
Steven Skurka Criminal defence lawyer and author of Tilted: The Trial of Conrad Black
“Conrad Black has already made significant strides in repairing his reputation. He conducted himself as a model prisoner during three years of confinement. Black pursued every avenue of appeal and largely extinguished the largely hollow criminal prosecution that engulfed his life. A case that began with a bold pronouncement of a corporate kleptocracy evolved into charges of fraud totalling $60 million. By the end, Conrad Black’s charges were whittled down by the Court of Appeals to two questionable convictions including a fraud representing one per cent of the initial allegation.”
Avoid the court of public opinion
Scott Reid Co-host of CTV’s National Affairs and principal at Feschuk.Reid
“Conrad Black needs a reputation enhancement program about as badly as Batman needs a white belt and matching shoes. Lord Black is — and will always be — a polarizing figure. That is an immutable fact. Any expenditure of finance or public relations dedicated to pretending otherwise would be a waste. Even if attracting broad public affection was an attainable goal, it would necessarily require some expression of contrition. After serving two stints in prison to demonstrate his resolve, Lord Black shows no such inclination. Among a wide swath of opinion leaders and elites Lord Black has won new admiration for his perserverance. He should fortify that effort and keep his appeal for citizenship as removed as possible from the court of public opinion.”