Emerson once observed that “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” Some details in reporting are a tad too crucial to leave out, as when the author of an opinion piece is penning the missive from a federal prison because of two little character defects called fraud and obstruction of justice. This is what occurred in Time’s online edition, which ran a piece by Conrad Black, known widely as Lord Black of Crossharbour, formerly of the Bridle Path in Toronto, Palm Beach, and London, but more recently as inmate number 18330-424 of the Coleman Correction Facility in Florida, and a regular subject of commentary on these pages.
It somewhat boggles the imagination that mainstream journalism, and one of its most storied institutions at that, has to turn to miscreants and fraudsters to interpret the world of politics to its readers. That spinning sound you hear is Henry Luce turning over in his grave. Repeatedly. Fortunately, this is a detail that matters to some thoughtful readers, like the intellectually versatile and always curious Lance Knobel, who is also troubled by the sudden plunge in the magazine’s byline standards. His to-the-point admonition of Time for its selective memory is available here.