Once David Cameron and Nick Clegg announced that they would take the unprecedented step of making separate statements from the despatch box on the Leveson report, the Prime Minister's hostility to its key recommendation was an open secret.
Despite his previous indication that he would be prepared to implement the report provided it was not "bonkers," Cameron has retreated to a business-as-usual stance.
The Prime Minister drew comfort from Leveson's all but complete absolution of the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt's treatment of the proposed Murdoch takeover of BSkyB and his conclusion that "the evidence doesn't establish anything resembling a deal between News International and Cameron."
However, despite these charitable interpretations, Cameron is not prepared to give an inch in his defence of the media moguls' position.
The press monopolies that have, in Leveson's words, "wreaked havoc with the lives of innocent people," defend the indefensible.
They claim to have listened to public opinion and to regret past misdeeds while insisting on being left free to continue as before.
Media bosses and their political apologists have whipped up a storm in recent days, brandishing the red herring of state control of newspapers.
They have tried to belittle the inquiry by suggesting that it was all about celebrities, ignoring the atrocious treatment of the families of Milly Dowler and Madeleine McCann as well as survivors of the London transport bombings.
In the final analysis they have adopted the fallback position of agreeing to the report drawn up by Lords Hunt and Black, which recommends that media bodies sign up to "self-regulation contracts" and would have all the effectiveness of a fig-leaf.
Leveson is right to say that the public would have no confidence in any regulatory system dominated by the newspaper industry's owners and editors.
But he has offered the industry the opportunity to devise a new system independent of publishers, politicians and the state, backed up by a statutory verification process.
Leveson is insistent on his support for a free media, which is an admirable goal, but his declaration that Britain already enjoys such freedom is contradicted by the narrowness of ownership and of political viewpoints.
The increasingly monopolistic ownership of Britain's media concerned the Leveson inquiry only as far as the Murdoch BSkyB deal was concerned, but it cannot be excluded from consideration for an independent and accountable media.
Leveson's reference to the need for greater media plurality is essential to provide the diversity to which politicians pay lip service but do little.
Cross-ownership of national newspapers and electronic media has created a handful of very powerful conglomerates with authoritarian management structures that put pressure on editorial staff to comply with instructions, even when these contradict journalistic ethics.
It is a decade since the Commons home affairs select committee supported the National Union of Journalists campaign in favour of a conscience clause to protect reporters unwilling to engage in unethical behaviour.
This ought to be a key clause in any new system of independent self-regulation for newspapers.
It must be remembered that the "outrageous" behaviour criticised by Leveson is not universal in the industry.
Some titles, including the Morning Star, reject the methods and the motivation of those, like the Murdoch stable, that play games with people's lives for private profit.
Our paper's socialist principles inform its ethics as surely as the Murdoch papers' capitalist creed informs theirs.
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