The US Is Great, but Needs Some Fixing: Conrad Black

Former media mogul Conrad Black told CNBC the U.S. remains a great country despite his feelings about being incarcerated and that newspapers can survive.

"The U.S. is a great country and the fact that it persecuted me half to death does not mean it ceased to be a great country," Black told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Wednesday. "But there are things that need to be fixed."

The former media mogul spent time in prison on fraud charges, but was quick to point out, "every charge against me was either abandoned, rejected by jurors or unanimously vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court."

He added: "But here we are. I'm not embarrassed by it."

While that experience has dulled his affection for the U.S., Black is out with a new history of the country looking at "the important strategic initiatives various statesmen took at key points in the country's history to help it on its way from being a colony to being the greatest power in the world," he said.

"It didn't just grow naturally because it has a vast continent and a rich continent to populate and the ability to attract immigrants from around the world. It also had brilliant leadership when it needed it."

Although he said the U.S. is a great country and is chiefly responsible for the triumph of democracy and the free market in the world, there are problems that it needs to address.

"It is not a particularly well-functioning democracy right now," Black said, citing the gridlock, role of money in politics and problems with the education system, health care and legal systems.

Turning to the newspaper business, Black sees a future for those that can transform for the Internet age.

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"In general a newspaper has a future if it can metamorphosize into basically a 24-hour, 7-day Internet paper with a printed edition for those who wanted it," he said, "Instead of as has usually been the case up to now using the Internet to draw people into buying the printed product and thus maintain the overhead generated by the printing presses and the distribution networks."

Black also said, editorial function is more important than ever given the immense flow of information.

"The craft that was there will be more valuable than ever," he said.

_ By CNBC's Justin Menza. Follow him on Twitter @JustinMenza.