Nick Davies told the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee that two newspapers had threatened to smear him because of his book Flat Earth News.
Davies said he was called by a journalist from the newspaper in question, which he declined to name, alluding to a "grotesque sexual smear about my wife that was going into the paper".
He added that, even though he did not have a wife, he was told by the journalist that the paper was still going to run the story but with his denial in the copy.
"I called the editor and told him that I had tape-recorded the conversation with the reporter in which he admitted that it wasn't true and I told the editor if the story was published I would make public that conversation. They backed down," Davies told the committee, which is investigating libel, privacy and press standards.
Flat Earth News contains a 34 page chapter on the Daily Mail...