To sum up, in his experience of over a decade dealing with the political media, he claims that exaggeration, embellishment and pure invention are endemic, and are tolerated and indeed encouraged by some editors and senior executives.
If it was not "exaggerated, embellished or invented", what was "the dodgy dossier"? And what happened when one journalist tried to point this out on the radio? He was hounded from his job - by Campbell! (There were of course two dodgy dossiers but it's only the "45-minute" one that lives on.)
Despite what the UK press has become, he says, I believe in a free press as a cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant democracy. Newspapers must always poke around in the affairs of the rich and powerful. They help hold authority to account. They should always be difficult, challenging, suspicious of power. They must always take risks and push hard for the truth. They must be free to criticise, mock and expose… real serious investigative journalism such as is represented by Watergate and Thalidomide is actually under threat.
From 1994 to 2003, Campbell believed in a free press like Barroso today believes in democracy. And if Campbell had been Nixon's spokesman we might never have heard of the Watergate Hotel.
In the 1970s, two journalists uncovered a big story about a politician listening in on his opponents. Now, the big story is about journalists listening in on celebrities. The descent to the ridiculous is because people such as Campbell thoroughly fouled the well of political coverage. I don't blame the public for rejecting proper news and opting for sleb tosh instead. Nor do I blame hacks for catering for that (but phone hacking anyone other than the criminal and/or political classes is a no-no).