The Express Newspapers owner told the Inquiry that his papers were "scapegoated" over their coverage of the McCann case, saying his titles were "the only honest ones and straightforward ones" for the way they printed a front-page apology to the missing girl's parents and paid them £550,000 in a libel settlement.
He claimed "every paper was doing the same thing" but that they were the only ones to own up to their errors and "apologise properly". Desmond also criticised the way the ex-chairman of the PCC had "hung [former Express editor] Peter Hill out to dry".
Rationalising the Express's coverage of the McCann case, he said: "I don't wish to minimise it … and I'm not trying to win points here, but if there were 102 articles on the McCanns, and 38 bad ones … you could argue there were 68 or 70 good ones."
In a particularly startling testimony, Desmond referred to the PCC as "a useless organisation run by people who wanted tea and biscuits, and phone hackers," called Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre "the fat butcher" and said the Leveson Inquiry was "probably the worst thing that's ever happened for newspapers" in his lifetime.