Department, or White House—evenrnduring the Vietnam War, against whichrnthe Times campaigned with some passion.rnI was concerned that these interchangeablernmen took their knowledgernof secrets and their confidential sourcesrnvith them to work at the Times, whichrngave the newspaper an additional edgernin spreading its viewpoint.rnClifton Daniel was an active Democrat,rnWashington nabob, and then Timesrnmanaging editor. William Safire left thernNixon White House to become thernTimes’ conservative, filling a void. Secretaryrnof State Cyrus Vance resigned thernCarter administration to return to thernTimes’ board of directors. When thernI’imes published its house-written versionrnof what it called the PentagonrnPapers in 1971, the documents hadrnbeen compiled by Assistant Secretary ofrnDefense for Security Affairs PaulrnWarnke, his deputy Morton Halperin,rnand Leslie Gelb, an interchangeablernman and the brother of a Times editor.rnAll were doves.rnWhile it was never suggested thatrnthis dovecote in the Defense Departmentrnalerted the Times to the secretrnstudy, Celb later went to a choice jobrnat the Times and both Warnke andrnHalperin appeared on the Times’ op-edrnpages. Their Pentagon Papers, whichrnDaniel Fllsberg stole from the RandrnCorporation, ended up at the New YorkrnTimes, where thev inspired the creationrnof the White House Plumbers (J. EdgarrnI loovcr would not look for Ellsberg) andrnwere the catalyst for profound changesrnin the direction of historv.rnWhile I suggested a decade ago arnconflict of interest in interchangeablernmen, Broder’s concern was somethingrnelse. I le worried about the reputationrnof journalism, apparently unaware thatrnthe public perception is that journalismrnis hopelessly corrupt.rnOn the Wishington panel, commentatorrnI lodding Carter III—a newspaperrnheir and the Carter administration’srnState Department spokesman —suggestedrnleaving out “television gong-showrnparticipants, commentators and columnists”rn—that is, himself—and limitingrndiscussion to the possible conflicts ofrnreporters of news. Broder declined; hernmeant to include anyone who is a journalist.rn”All I’m saying is there ought tornbe a clear and visible difference betweenrnwho journalists are and what journalistsrndo, and who politicians and governmentrnofficials arc and what thev do, ” Broderrnargued. “That distinction is beingrnerased.”rnBroder directly challenged Carter,rnCharen, and Ron Nessen, NBC radiornnews chief and former press spokesmanrnfor President Ford. Broder cited WashingtonrnPost reporters working governmentrnbeats in Washington, who, hernsaid, were entirely independent preciselyrnbecause they had been raised exclusivelyrnin newsrooms and had neverrnworked in government. Broder gotrnsome support from Washington Post ombudsmanrnRichard Harwood, who saidrnthat the paper’s editor Leonard Downie,rnJr., would not hire anyone from governmentrnas a journalist.rnCharen did not believe that the Postrnreporters cited by Broder were unbiased,rnbut she did not say so directly. Shernsuggested that the issue was notrnwhether a person could cross over fromrngoernment to journalism and back, orrnwhether a reporter on the beat was morernpure than a columnist, but whether arnjournalist allowed himself or herself tornbe used by a politician or official. Shernsaid her experience in the ReaganrnWhite House taught her to recognizernat a glance news stories from Washingtonrnin which the reporter had put a spinrnon the facts “to flatter or advance therncause of the person they are intimaternwith.” “I can pick up the morning paperrnand recognize the fine hand of [Secretaryrnof State] James Baker in every singlernsentence of that storv, and there isrnabsolutely no way the public wouldrnknow this,” she stated.rnShe believed that Broder “would sayrnthat was okay,” provided the reporterrnaddmg the spin had never worked forrngovernment. “You think that is what Irnwould say?” he demanded. “That is notrnwhat I would say, just for the record.”rn”In the last couple of minutes,” hernadded, “we’ve heard something displayedrnthat frankly had not crossed myrnmind in previous efforts to thinkrnthrough this question. That is, thatrnthere is one more thing that those whornare line-erossers bring with them, andrnthat is scorn for people who work as careerrnpeople in journalism.”rnBy now expert insulters were tradingrninsults. Carter, feeling that he had beenrnaddressed, intervened to protest the implicationrnthat he had scorn for merernnewsmen. He agreed with Charen thatrnreporters acting as conduits for officialsrndishonor journalism and that journalismrnin Washington is in a sad state. Officialsrnwho invite you to sup at their tablesrnon Saturday night, give yournyour lines to write, then read their linesrnin the newspaper Monday morning:rn”Those are the ones who have scornrnfor you, not me,” he said. “Not me.”rnNessen offered soothing agreement withrnBroder, that some of the gong-show participantsrnperform as dispensers of advicernon television but then go back thernnext day pretending to cover a beat asrnstraight reporters. “I don’t see howrnEleanor Cliff gets away with it,” he said.rnCliff is a McLaughlin Croup regular, arnNewsweek reporter, a liberal like Broder,rnand a militant feminist.rnCharen, who often performs on thernCapital Gang gong show, had clashedrnwith Broder earlier, when she saidrn”Fred Barnes is a conservative columnistrnwith the New Repubhc—and everybodyrnknows it—and a good reporter,rntoo.”rnBroder, brusque: “Excuse me, but isrnthat identified in the New RepuhUc?”rnCharen, puzzled: “The New Repubhcrnis a magazine of opinion. It isn’t likernthe Washington Post.”rnBroder: “But you said that everybodyrnknows Fred Barnes is a conservativerncolumnist for the New Republic. I’mrnasking you, are the readers of the .NewrnRepublic told that?”rnCharen: “Most people can make thatrndistinction for themselves. They knowrnwhen somebodv is grinding an ax. It’srnclear and it’s ob’ious.”rnNessen, helping Broder: “But it’s notrnobvious, that’s the point.” He said thernpublic does not recognize the differencernbetween news people and politicians,rngiving as the prime example Jesse Jackson,rnpolitical activist, Washington senator,rnacting “just like talk-show host LarryrnKing.”rnIn these exchanges Broder walked intorna sort of buzz saw running smoothlyrnand quietly. Television is a hot medium,rnand performers strive to maintainrntheir cool. Charen, who is poised, calm,rnand speaks in clear, brief, eonrplete sentences,rnis a rratural, while the menacingrnBroder came across like Torquemada.rnNessen remarked that when PresidentrnFord lost the election and was lookingrnfor work, he was told at CBS that hernwould have to “undergo a period of decontamination.”rnThat was echoed by arnvoice from the audience, that of Jerryrnterllorst, who had been Ford’s first pressrnspokesman for 30 days, then resignedrnbecause Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.rnMAY 1993/49rnrnrn