Conrad Black “Interviewed” by Lisa LaFlamme: It’s Hard Out There for a Right Honourable Lord Spiritual and TemporalPosted: September 18, 2011
Last night, newly-knighted CTV correspondent Lisa LaFlamme kicked off a new season of W5 with an hour-long interview with Conrad Black, beleaguered media magnate, white-collar victim and potential casting coup for a live-action Muppet Show spin-off Statler & Waldorf (alongside a webcam Bernie Madoff–Saturdays this fall on Fox!).
Tough times for this poor multi-millionaire. Not only has he spent over two years in a low- to medium-security prison, he is about to return to another such institution that, as LaFlamme stated succinctly in her post-interview wrap-up with Lloyd Robertson, has metal bars and everything!
Now there are many people clucking and tutting about the perceived softball nature of the interview and to those people I say, balderdash! LaFlamme was not averse to asking the really tough questions, including but not limited to:
- how long it took to write his new memoir, A Matter of Principle
- how much does A Matter of Principle cost
- the difficulty of his imprisonment
- how tough it was to sell many of his homes around the world to fund his defense
- the toll this whole affair has taken on his wife Barbara Amiel (generously referred to by LaFlamme as a “respected” journalist)
- when will A Matter of Principle hit the shelves
- will you sign my advance copy of A Matter of Principle
I am worried less about poor Connie–as he said himself, there is only another seven months left for him to serve. And I worry not for Barbara Amiel, simply because she can spend the intervening weeks drafting her plans to become the Jackie O of Canada (or America, or Britain, or wherever those two love birds land).
Sure it’s easy to hate Black and those of his ilk. In the W5 interview, the Lord of Crossharbour argues a decent case that the charges of fraud, obstruction of justice and sucking the oxygen out of any room in which he appears were simply tarted up by a CEO-hungry district attorney. Connie also mentioned that District Judge Amy St. Eve (an admirable foe upon whom Black heaps praise in his new memoir, referring to her as “intelligent” and “mousy”–sorry Amy, he’s taken!) went after the ex Hollinger head with a verve typical in the U.S., feeding the American appetite for seeing superiors fall from a great height.
And Connie’s right–never before has a man accused of trifling crimes been so soundly punished for more serious ones committed in the past. Surely there’s a expiry date on accusations of theft from a union pension fund. I mean, in a polite society at least.
No, I worry more for LaFlamme and how she has immediately been beset on all sides by evil and snippy bloggers. Hey armchair journalists, how do you think you’d handle interviewing such a commanding, powerful and flubbery presence as Conrad Black? Don’t think your lower lip would tremble when thinking about poor Babs on the night before Connie’s internment, and how she was going to be “without her man”? Try that in front of a mirror without dissolving into a sobbing heap, tough guy! Go on, I dare you.
Lisa LaFlamme has just inherited a noble post at the wheel of a schooner known as CTV News. Now that Admiral Robertson has walked the plank (or whatever retirement options await the seafaring), Lisa has to make her mark. And how big a “get” is this Conrad Black fellow? Huge. Never mind those that say it played like an hour-long infommercial paid for by Black’s immigration lawyer. And don’t listen to those who say that it’s ironic that on a show called W5, you only bothered to utilize two of the five journalistic w’s.
Lisa, if you’re reading this (and if my sense of your Googling habits is correct, you certainly are), don’t let these “haters” bring you down. Stand tall in the knowledge that you’re not the first or last journalist to spend a televised hour with your head buried in the lap of a universally hated personality. You’ve got a job to do. And I know you can.
Take your time and wow us with your upcoming Rob Ford interview. I hear it really blows the lid off municipal “gravy trains”.
Lisa, don’t feed Mayor Ford any more gravy. It only encourages him.