The newspapers have been waving their swords of truth and polishing their shields of trusty fair play to ward off post-Leveson regulation.
The Sun's editorial said: "Embarrassing and uncomfortable revelations about the Establishment and the rich and powerful could easily be hushed up.
"From being an admired beacon of democracy, Britain will become a repressive symbol of secrecy."
The Sunday Times said Leveson threatened a "raucous, audacious and impertinent press able to speak truth to power on behalf of its readers."
But the problem with these lusty cries of "freedom" is that they describe imaginary newspapers fighting for the little man, whereas the real Sun and Times keep doing the opposite.
The Sunday Times is expert at lying for the powerful instead of speaking truth to power.
Nineteen-ninety-five was a bumper year - the Sunday Times paid substantial libel damages to former Labour Party leader Michael Foot after claiming he was a KGB agent codenamed "Comrade Boot."
It celebrated the uncovering of this fake story by publishing a new fake story - three consecutive Sunday Times front pages claimed Iraq was developing nuclear weapons and had kidnapped an atomic scientist in Athens.
The story was completely false, based on forged papers. There were no atomic weapons and there was no kidnapping.
The Sunday Times has never acknowledged this fake story. Instead, in common with most British newspapers, it went on to publish reams of fake stories based on bogus evidence about secret Iraqi underground WMD factories and mobile biowar labs.
The Sunday Times writers say they worry about state interference, but their fake war stories, which fuelled a conflict consuming hundreds of thousands of lives, were funded by the state. Unpatriotically, it wasn't even our state. The US government paid for the lies they printed.
The Sun is equally enthusiastic about lying for the powerful.
Disgustingly, the Sun said the victims of the Hillsborough disaster stole from and urinated on the dead.
It told these "embarrassing and uncomfortable" lies to support the powerful, to back up "brave cops" and the Thatcher government against northern "hooligans."
David Yelland, Sun editor from 1998 to 2003, recently admitted he did the job completely drunk.
He says that the four bottles of wine a day helped him work because "I was actually paid to rush to judgement, paid to lash out and attack - it was perfect territory for the drunk."
His paper attacked trade unionists and anti-war campaigners and lashed dozens of slightly famous folk for their "booze problems."
His paper also attacked the army for treating alcoholic soldiers, claiming it was a "scandal" for taxpayers.
Yelland has spoken about his days as Murdoch's angry drunk with some honesty - and he suffered some personal tragedy as well.
But Yelland's honesty deserted him at the Leveson inquiry, where he presented a statement describing a Sun of responsible managers and ethical staff, quite at odds with his previous revelations.
Unwilling to uncover the lies of the rich and powerful, the ugliest newspapers still needed to put some kind of exposés and exclusives on the front page.
There were only so many attacks on Labour politicians or trade unionists they could run, so to fill space they turned to vicious attacks on "celebs" - a category they soon extended to murder victims or "suspects" of crimes who had done no wrong.
Labour's decision to break from crawling to these bullies may have been late, but it was still brave.
And its solution, state-backed regulation, is entirely in the Labour tradition - the party has been trying to use the state to blunt the blows of the market for a hundred years, with some success.
The way that most of the big-mouthed defenders of newspaper "freedom" sound like they are demanding an untrammelled free market, not free speech, makes Labour's argument for it.
The Mail demands its right to "free" speech, but called the Occupy protesters at St Paul's, who spoke freely against the banks without owning a massive media company, a "protest rabble" to be cleared away.
The Sun didn't see fit to support the St Paul's protesters' free speech either, calling their camp a "hell of drugs and filth" full of "late-night boozing" instead.
The Sun and Mail fight for their own liberties while calling for strikes to be banned.
So Labour's position is understandable, but that doesn't mean it is right.
The question is, will Leveson reforms make things better?
The current system is ugly, but it isn't totalitarian. Sometimes, the news gets through.
The press is dominated by the contemptible and bad, but will adding a layer of the "great and the good" improve things?
If the panel for the new press regulator includes, say, trade unionists, campaigners for the disabled and respected investigative journalists, then perhaps it will make a difference.
But if it is another layer of Establishment types, then it won't be an improvement.
After all, the real sins of the press came out of a link-up between newspaper barons, top cops and leading politicians.
The phone-hacking and bullying and grew up under the Establishment. So turning to Establishment figures to make things better won't help.
Labour's decision to use the least democratic part of the state, the Law Lords, to ultimately regulate the regulator doesn't inspire confidence.
Newspapers like the Morning Star that didn't hack anyone, but work hard to expose the truth, will be regulated as well.
Leveson's specific proposals to discourage whistleblowing and to narrow journalists' protection under data protection laws could also seriously hurt our ability to winkle out the truth.
The big problem with the newspapers is ownership. Dubious businessmen like Murdoch own the papers, so sycophants they employ write rubbish to please them. Weakening the worst owners will improve the press.
No-one is expecting judges or Labour leaders to expropriate the owners, but proper anti-monopoly laws would make a huge difference.
Murdoch's central method involves using his papers to bully politicians to overcome anti-monopoly laws.
Proper regulation of ownership, not content, is the best way to drag the papers out of the gutter.
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