By Ray Fleming

IT takes one to know one. A surprising addition to the extensive Murdoch reporting was heard yesterday from a jail in Coleman, Florida, US., that of Conrad Black whose views on Murdoch were published in the FInancial Times under the headline, “Murdoch, like Napoleon, is a great bad man”.

Conrad Black should know; he is one of the few people to have taken on Murdoch in open competition and won, as he did in the price war between the Times and Telegraph in the mid-1990s. He was then chairman of the UK Telegraph Newspapers but is now serving the final seven months of his conviction in 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice.

He is therefore also well-placed to comment on the consequences of newspaper criminality and writes in his article that “It would be astonishing if some News International employees had not engaged in crime, revelling in the climate of immunity that has been group's modus operandi for decades.” Conrad Black's main point is that for many years the British establishment professed to despise Murdoch while appeasing and grovelling to him and that the governing elites must now ensure that they are not seduced and intimidated so profoundly and durably again.

He says that Murdoch rarely keeps his word for long and has no loyalty to anyone or anything except his company. Take heed.

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