It is correct that I have long thought Rupert Murdoch history’s most formidable media proprietor, by his unique combination of bold vision, thorough execution and unlimited energy and ambition. It is also correct that our 20 years of cordial relations lapsed when his media group, allegedly at his direction, fell to the most uniform and vituperative defamation of me when my legal travails arose, to which I replied in robust strictures as best I could.

But in a response to a question, in Australia, last year, he was quoted as saying that he did not believe that I had committed crimes, but was betrayed by a dishonest associate. When asked for a response, I said, perhaps optimistically, that I took this accurate assessment as an olive branch graciously offered by Mr Murdoch, which I was pleased to accept and reciprocate. There has been little media recourse to the former avalanche of defamatory nonsense about crimes since I collected $5 million in by far the largest libel settlement in Canadian history from the sponsors of the prosecution, and since my somewhat pyrotechnic exchanges with a couple of mouthy interviewers in London, when I was promoting book sales there a year ago. After I commended myself on camera for resisting ‘the temptation to smash [Jeremy Paxman’s] face in’, I was the beneficiary several times of taxi drivers refusing to turn on their meters because, as the first of them said (when I feared that he was going to claim an inflated flat rate for a short trip as he might have judged from my accent that I was unfamiliar with London), ‘I have waited 15 years for someone to put that **** Paxman in his place, and you will never pay for a ride in my cab.’

This is extracted from Conrad Black’s diary, published in this week’s edition of Spectator Australia. Read the full thing here.

Tags: Jeremy Paxman, Rupert Murdoch