Don’t miss this round-up of the trial of Conrad Black by Mark Steyn. At 7,500 words it is far longer than the typical Steyn column, and take your time reading it. I’ll not grab one or two paragraphs, but just one line as a tease to this amazing summary of the Black proceedings: “I wonder whether it wasn’t that he just seemed too outsized for the proceedings: to modify Gloria Swanson, Conrad Black was still big, but the case had got small.”
Black’s lawyers will do well to get this piece attached to and incorporated by reference their appeal brief. Steyn has done a much better job of defending Black than they did.
Steyn’s blogging from the trial and his summary piece also underscore what I have written before: The byline is the brand for journalism in the age of new media. If any of the struggling papers had a clue, they’d break the bank and sign Steyn to as near-an-exclusive as they could manage, and then turn him free to write at length about anything going on anywhere in the world, but nudging him towards complicated courtroom dramas. Like Lileks, like Bill Bryson, like a very few others, Steyn seems incapable of writing dull prose, no matter how complicated the subject matter, or remote from the audience the key figures are.