The revelation that Roy Greenslade, ex-editor of the Daily Mirror and something of a grandee in London media circles, was a secret admirer of the IRA campaign through his professional life, will have come as much of a surprise to anyone paying attention as the exposure of the Pope as a Catholic and Peter Tatchell as gay.
The 'news' had little or no shock value. Sadly, the political bias of Greenslade had become a topic of note throughout his entire career. Only now are some of his more glaring campaigns - such as those against Mairia Cahill, who alleged she'd been raped by an IRA member, and in favour of the Hyde Park bombing suspect, John Downey, both peculiar in their day - being revisited as occasions when the tools of his trade were put at the disposal of his political and ideological leanings.
Which is fine as long as those leanings are declared from the outset - which they weren't. And fine, except that those tools used by Greenslade are also the tools I use, and those used by hundreds of thousands of journalists worldwide whose daily jobs are now that much harder, that much more dangerous, thanks to him.
Greenslade himself says he was prevented from engaging more actively in the Republican movement because he had a career to protect and mortgage to pay. (Not even the lowest low-life hack could make this stuff up!)
But then Roy, while safeguarding his house, was snug in the centre of London with the full resources of a major national newspaper to shelter him and his loved ones from the gunshots, the debris, the flying glass, the daily intimidation. Doubtless with his posters of Che Guevara, his replica of Bobby Sands Street in Tehran, his 'Sniper at Work' danger sign. Journalists in Belfast, for instance, didn't have that luxury and the menu of weapons used by the gunmen against us ran to all those allegations of bias and prejudice and sectarianism and slant which people like Greenslade in London were endorsing silently via their many contacts with the bombers and the bullies.
It's easy to have a go at Greenslade, of course. He is clearly a buffoon, one of the many useful idiots as Stalin termed western communists during the Cold War, getting his jollies on, associating with dangerous men, and, by extension, feeling just a little bit dangerous himself.
But there is a bigger issue here.
The dramatic image of the week was undoubtedly the photograph of racehorse trainer Gordon Elliott sitting astride the carcass of a recently-deceased thoroughbred, giving the V-sign to the camera.
The damage done by that photograph to Elliott's reputation - hitherto a revered figure and among the greats of horse training - is incalculable. But the damage done to horse racing itself is, if possible, even more profound.
A sport already under even more scrutiny than professional boxing, because of the death toll on horses and the allegations of cruel treatment at the stables and in doping, as well as on the literally breakneck race meetings for high stakes, now finds all the worst charges and stereotypes of its opponents confirmed spectacularly. Even the very top of the sport is occupied by boors and idiots. Whoever manages to speak against such allegations and charges, it sure isn't going to be Gordon Elliott. He has come to epitomise everything that is worst about the sport.
Roy Greenslade sits astride what is by now the carcass of objective reporting, giving the rest of us the V-sign. After Leveson, the demise of the News of the World, the scandals, the invasions of privacy, we discover that right at the heart of all that mayhem was sitting Roy Greenslade, busily taking down the decent protocols of journalism from within.
People need to trust reporters. They need to feel they are protected. They need to feel they are believed; at least, that their view, entrusted to a third party, will not be trashed, mangled, twisted and used against them. Greenslade is another nail in that coffin.
Journalism is about 'the truth' and the bedrock of that is accuracy.
It may seem absurd now, but that's why the journalist used to occupy a place somewhere between the doctor and the priest - patient confidentiality, protection of sources, the seal of the confessional, if necessary going to death to protect the story, even when the story was unpleasant and the viewpoint unsavoury.
Of course there has always been those journalists who were "players" but they were few and far between. Many, many more during the Troubles saw the carnage first-hand, its often random nature, and came to despise the terrorists on all sides. Not Roy, though. Roy stuck to his guns.
Protecting the accuracy of reporting can come at a high price, Roy. You won't know that, as you worry about the effect of the pandemic on house prices. Every single day that passes brings yet another story of a journalist somewhere paying the highest price possible for sticking to the story or looking for a story and sticking to her or his obligations to some sad frightened individual even more desperate and scared than the hack themselves.
Every day, some writer somewhere disappeared, beaten to death, found dumped in a skip or a river. Who knows, Roy, maybe even shot in the head on the streets of Derry as a 29-year-old trying to break into the vocation you used to admire.
Sadly, for you and your ilk, the people who pay the price will be those who confide in you; those desperate people with a whistle to blow or a tale to tell, where the story doesn't fit your dominant narrative.
Journalists spouting views and opinions on social media has led to a real risk that the so-called virtue signalling of Roy Greenslade will come to dominate journalism more than any risky self-sacrifice in favour of integrity.
That would be a horrible world, really. You really won't know just how horrible until you find even reporters won't want to hear what you've got to say because they don't like your face, your style, your religion or your politics.
We'll have you to thank for that, Roy. Put that up on your wall.