How the media should cover media policy related stories is always a difficult issue. Newspapers, of course, have their own interests to consider as well as those of their readers. Is it acceptable that they should use their influence to protect their own interests, or should they always give a balanced view of the issues?
The coverage of the Savile scandal and McAlpine by the BBC had serious flaws. But the BBC did eventually show that it was capable of setting its own journalistic watchdogs to work on itself, putting public interest journalism before any narrowly defined corporate interest.
Now it is the turn of the Press. Over the coming days, we will see the extent to which newspapers can bracket off their own interests and give a balanced view of the Leveson Report, including the criticisms he is likely to make of the press.
For media researchers it is an interesting laboratory in which to study the press. Will they report Leveson in a balanced way, or will they will use their power to turn public opinion against the report or its author? Will they skate over what is likely to be excoriating critique of newspapers, and try to rubbish the recommendations? Or will they give some space to criticism?
After all, one of the key issues Leveson himself has been pondering is whether, because of their ability to shape public opinion, the press, or elements