Journalism is a grubby trade. A journalist must be prepared to lie, con, distort, deceive, bribe, subvert, cajole, cozen and pander in order to produce the stories that compel us to buy their papers. Strangely, we rely on this deeply flawed, unreliable, dishonest and publicly loathed breed of men and women to seek out something called 'the truth'. Even more strangely, and perhaps almost by accident, they frequently do so. Despite the many shortcomings of the press, their many failures and weaknesses, they are an essential part of the armour of the people against the sword of the State. Like a bacillus that eats shit, journalism is unpleasant but vital for our wellbeing.