A long, vexed journey home after a day in which I presented ITV News at 6.30pm and ITV News at Ten, following England's monumental and exciting tussle against Montenegro. I then read Daily Mail Editor-in-Chief Paul Dacre's 'De Profundis' piece in the Guardian, penned in the wake of the equally 'vexed' debate his Daily Mail's Geoffrey Levy piece on Ed Miliband's father, Ralph, had caused.
It is a roaming romp, defending, in the main, the Levy 'blitzkrieg' on Miliband 'pere' for his Marxist prescription to make Britain, in his view, a better place. It contains nuanced explanations that this was not an 'ad hominem' attack on an 'evil man' but is utterly unapologetic for the attacks on all that the learned professor believed in.
It cites 'the royal family, the church and the army' as some of the things Professor Miliband loathed and suggests he 'was overtly dismissive of western democracy'. Mr Dacre then tears into the BBC for relishing and fermenting the rage the article appears to have generated, abetted by Alastair Campbell who, he suggests, lied about the reasons for going to war with Iraq and could be held responsible for the death of Dr David Kelly. He concludes that it is all a ghastly witch-hunt of his paper, its values, shared by his readers, and is little short of a 'pinko-conspiracy' - the last bit is my short-hand.
All this on the day we reported the impasse over press regulation and freedom, the brutal slaying of pro-Assad civilians by Syrian 'rebels', and what many say was a botched yet, for the lucky few, highly lucrative privatisation of Royal Mail which appears to have cost the tax-payer a billion pounds. We did all of that as impartially and objectively as we could, with as much balance as we could muster. That, because we have to, in law; but, also, it was because that is how we, who work at ITV News, want to do it.
It is our cause and our calling.
At a crucial time, politically and economically, for the citizenry of the United Kingdom, factual and impartial reporting is vital.
They are due the facts, straight, if they are to make sound judgement and, in 2015, a rather important decision in a General Election. Mr Dacre, towards the end, 'pops in a poke' at the Guardian, his publisher for today, for their part in the Snowden-NSA-GCHQ 'leaks' that he suggest have jeopardised our collective security.
What Guardian and Mail readers are to make of it all is bizarre to contemplate: 'dog eats dog'; 'the hand that feeds, bitten'. We need a sound, sane press that provides honest, factual journalism to help readers make their minds up on vital matters.
We would benefit from calm, intelligent commentators providing deep background on matters of importance that impact upon our lives. We need trust, however that is generated and is, or is not, regulated.
- Watch: Mail on Sunday offer 'unreserved apology' to Ed Miliband after reporter intruded on private memorial service
In the evident, current absence of much of that in some print quarters, I have never known of a better time to depend upon what ITV News seeks to do, day in-day out, according to our willingly accepted legal frame-work, and through the work of men and women who personally adhere to the values of impartiality, accuracy and objectivity.
I wonder if the readers of itv.com/news agree?