helmsman of American foreign policynquite ambiguous, if not outright suspectnof containing gross errors. Yet we alsonfirmly believe that, at this juncture ofnhistory, the American liberal press is annevildoer nonpareil, a disseminator ofnboth social diseases and social unlkimessnon a scale unknown before. By masqueradingnas the self-appointed defender ofn”the people’s right to know” (its moralnrationale), the press lets people knownonly that which serves the perpetuationnof its own power. It is an all-powerfiilnpractitioner of moral myopia and illiteracy.nIts liberal despotism and monopolynof according visibility to both peoplenand ideas makes it the only totalitariannelement in the living body of the Americanndemocracy at the end of this century.nAs such, it reminds us of a giant octopusnthat paralyzes its victim with abominablensuction, and devours it only a long, longntime after having rendered it completelynunable to defend itself.nMr. Hersh seems to us the embodimentnand symbol of the contemporarynAmerican press; he is its flesh and bloodnand one of its most successful freebooters.nWhat we have always thought (andnstill think) about Mr. Hersh was best formulatednin aRockfordPapers issue fromnSeptember 1980 entitled “The Media asnPresent Danger”:nA certain Mr. Seymour Hersh, a NewnYork Times investigative ace, the re­nFamily JournalismnWe have never concealed our opinionnof Parade Magazine, the weeklynfare of countless American householdsnwhich biUs itself as a family paper. Tonour mind, it is an archetypal organ of oldnlowbrow hacks who make a buck by debasingninformation and manipulatingnthe readers’ worst propensities. Here isnhow one of those hacks, a certain LloydnShearer, plies his trade in a story aboutn50inChronicles of CulturenJOURNALISMnporter who provided the first accountnof the My Lai massacre and—as theynsay—blew the whistle on the CIA,nwhen asked what motivated his painstaking,ninvigilative journalism, answeredncooUy: ‘A hell of a story . . .’nOne would expect fl:om a professionalnof his standing a subtler sense of purpose,nsome kind of ethical, if not ideological,ncommitment, but Mr. Hershnseemed unperturbed by such soulfiilness.n’Guess who is the final arbiter ofnnational security in this democracy?’nhe added. ‘We (that is, the media) aren… We have the bottom line. We get andocument. We don’t have any clearancesnto get… It’s up to us. And that’snthe way it is. I’m sorry if you don’t likenit.’ . . . The bestiality of Mr. Hersh’s ,nmind and his willingness to use it innthe most licentious manner… meansnthat whatever wisdom Western intellectnhas gathered, from Terencenthrough Aquinas to Joyce and Faulkner,nit is completely foreign to Mr.nHersh’s intelligence and beyond hisnmoral sensitivities. The knowledgenthat mistakes and misdeeds are verifiable,nthat sons pay for the sins ofntheir fathers, means nottiing to Mr.nHersh, or presumably to his employer,nliieNew York Times, for whom then’hell-of-a-story’ morality is the bottomnline of all responsibility, duty andncivic accountability.nThis is why, in the pending Hersh-nKissinger bout, we will root for thenlatter. DnJohn F. Kennedy’s carnal exploits:n[Inge, one of Kennedy’s paramours]nsettied in Berlin, where her sexualitynattracted the Nazi brass—^Hitler, Goering,nGoebbels and von Ribbentrop.nWhatever happened to descriptive andndefinable notions like: “her bodilyncharms,” “her femininity,” “her appetites,”n”her appeal,” “her dissoluteness,” “hernsensual manners,” “her sensuousness,”n”her passionate nature,” and so on? DoesnnnMr. Shearer believe he is stylistically andnjoumalisticaUy more precise by beingn”in” and “with it”? Does he not realizenthat he’s rather farcical, trivial, andnrepulsive? DnRights & PrivilegesnConfidentiality,” according tonWebster’s, is the condition of beingn”entrusted with private or secret matters.”nAccording to the journalistic communitynin America anno Domini 1983, it meansnthe sovereign privilege to be nonnegotiablynunaccountable to any of the establishedninstitutions of a free society—^thencourts, executive and legislative powers,npublic opinion. The 20th-century interpretationnof the First Amendment, itsnuse as the ultimate weapon to enforcenthis privilege, and its application to ourntime’s affairs would send Jefferson intonconvulsions.nThus, when a judge ordered CBS tonmake accessible data that the networknused to assassinate the character of GeneralnWestmoreland, the former U.S. Armyncommander of all troops in Vietnam, Mr.nVan Gordon Sauter, CBS News president,ncomplained that such a verdict violatednhis privilege of confidentiality. “SometimesnI think the plaintifPs lawyers wantnto open our desk draw^ers,” he lamentednbitterly. He never mentions that, as anjournalist, he sees a God-given commandmentncondoning his ruthless, forciblenprying into everybody else’s drawers.nWhen reporters rummaged throughnNixon’s and Kissinger’s trash cans, that,nof course, was investigation. If we asknMr. Sauter to unveil how he gatherednfalse, unfounded, injurious information,nhe cries that we are robbing him of hisnright to confidentiality. Nothing seemsnmore loathsome to him than another’snright to confidentiality, especially if thatnother is an elected official to whom, bynthe act of voting, we entrusted somenrights of confidentiality. With the mentalitynof our contemporary journalisticnfriends of the Constitution, who needsnenemies? Dn