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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Conrad Black excoriates Murdoch biography

Former Telegraph owner Conrad Black hasn't let a little detail like being in prison prevent him from laying into the new biography of his old rival Rupert Murdoch.

Writing for The Daily Beast, Black has penned an excoriating review of Michael Wolff's biography The Man Who Owns the News, published earlier this month to widespread media coverage.

"Wolff wades through a confusing and cliched account of Murdoch's life, replete with factual errors, serious omissions, mind-reading suppositions, extreme psychological liberties, and the conclusion that Murdoch will be 'temperamentally compelled' to try to acquire the New York Times and buys newspapers 'to change himself.' I don't think so," Black wrote.

If, he said, sentences containing "iconic," "transformative," "ridiculous", "being and nothingness", "fragile construct", and "suspended endings ('well...')" were left out, the book would be "at least 20 pages shorter". He also criticised the author for using French words and phrases - "there is not and never has been a 'haute monde'", too many sentences without verbs, and "too many stubby sentences that sound like a parody of Hemingway in Green Hills of Africa".

"While I have no objection to coarse language, over-frequent and unnecessary use of it is self-indulgent and grating," he wrote.


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