Every day this week the evidence has been televised, giving a unique insight into how the press, or certain sections of it, conduct themselves in pursuit of story material. The spectrum ranges from exaggeration to outright lies. In fact the most outrageous the lie the better the story, in the minds of some. What is most appalling is the lack of responsibility for the consequences of these lies. It may sell a few more papers, or get more attention for a website, but what about the aftermath?
And why do these stories sell papers?
As human beings we are obsessed with making up stories. If we weren't we wouldn't be writing novels, telling jokes, penning screenplays. Gossip is most people's favourite pastime because there's nothing more satisfying than painting the people we know into scenes. But we can get carried away with it, as this Inquiry is showing. Malicious gossip, filled with half truths and distortions, can have devastating effects.
So where is the line between public interest and intrusion to the point of stalking? What is acceptable in pursuit of a story? How do you protect an individual's privacy while allowing a free press?
It will be interesting to find out.