Press freedom is about the right to challenge powerful people and hold them to account; the right to rootle around in the dank undergrowth to hunt down corporate and political crocodiles, using whatever weapons you can muster.
Press freedom is also about the right to run idiotic stories about foolish people desperate for their 15 minutes of fame; the right to use subterfuge to expose the greed or hypocrisy behind a star's "wholesome" public image.
But to go too far with the latter is to risk losing the former. If we wield our greatest power against the insignificant, what do we have left to fight the important battles?
The Sun should be feeling chastened this week after the collapse of the Tulisa court case that forced it to suspend its star investigative reporter (a story, incidentally, that made several front pages but surfaced only on page 13 of the Sun).
Yesterday's splash was a serious examination of the state of the NHS. Today the paper has regressed to its Comic Cuts persona, which wouldn't matter if it didn't involve demonising - I use the word advisedly - a four-year-old boy.
It will also inevitably bring a fresh chorus of that old favourite "The (Murdoch) Press must be tamed".
What kind of brain thinks that a sinister picture crop of a clearly identifiable child coupled with the heading "Boy, 4, has mark of devil" is acceptable?
The Sun apparently believes this was a "light-hearted" treatment of the story of a boy whose parents spotted a strange mark (one that happened to resemble the pattern seen on many a hairdryer grille) on his chest.
They took him to the GP, who was apparently baffled. They asked teachers, who were equally bemused.
Then they did what any sensible parent would do: they posted pictures on Facebook and contacted American websites that specialised in "mysterious body marks" and abductions by aliens.
They also came to the attention of the SWNS agency, which took photographs of Mum and son, helpfully pointing towards his chest. Gosh, that was fortuitous.
The mark duly faded on June 16 after three weeks (don't you love the precision of the date), but the craving for attention didn't.
And so, thanks to those SWNS pictures taken nearly two months ago, the boy makes the front page of the Sun today.
The "light-hearted" treatment involves the use of such words as "sinister", "horrified", "nightmare" and the mother saying:
It’s a nightmare. Some people have said it’s the Symbol of Mammon — the sign of the Devil’s first born — which has been very upsetting.
Just looking at it made me shake thinking something unnatural had visited my boy....
You see this kind of thing on scary sci-fi films. It isn’t supposed to happen to families like us.
Now we sleep with the landing light on and ***** often comes into bed with me and *****.
I know it sounds crazy but I have found myself listening out for bumps in the night.”
This woman needs to get a grip and so does the Sun.
The fact that a parent agrees to their child being photographed in the knowledge that it might be put in the public domain does not mean that it should be put in the public domain.
The fact that these parents do not respect their son's privacy does not mean the Sun should condone and capitalise on their foolhardiness. It should exercise responsibility on their behalf and save them from themselves - for the boy's sake.
Yes, it's the silly season and now a marker has been put down. Watch out for a rash (sorry) of stories about mysterious symbols suddenly appearing on kids' bodies.
Think of crop circles, think of the Virgin Mary turning up on a cheese toastie. Harmless nonsense (not that the farmers would agree). But if children start branding themselves with anything other than a marker pen, someone is going to get hurt.