TerHorst, who had been a well-knownrnWashington correspondent and laterrnworked for a time as a Ford Motor Companyrnflaek, regretted ever having leftrnjournalism. He got a round of sentimentalrnapplause, but nobody asked thernimportant questions of him: Had herndone the right thing in resigning, andrndid he still think that Ford should notrnhave pardoned Nixon?rnAn unidentified voice from the crowdrnasked the panel to comment on the faternof John Meeklm, ‘lime magazine reporter,rnwho was hired as United Statesrnspokesman in Vietnam because he wasrnexpected to communicate with fellowrnreporters. Mecklin wrote in Mission inrnTorment, the questioner said, that “hernended up by being thought a sellout byrnthe government to the journalists, and arnsellout by the journalists to the government.rnIs this an im]50ssil3le thing, a nowinrnsituation?”rnCarter gave a nattering nonanswer tornthe question, saying these things dependrnon eases. Someone should havernpointed out that Mecklin was dealingrnwith his friends David Ilalberstam andrnNeil Sheehan, the original antiwar activists,rnwho took refuge in his house inrnSaigon, fearing that the brother of NgornDinh Diem might have them killed.rnHalberstam later wrote that he hadrnagreed to join a coup against Diem (arncoup that was called off), and years laterrnit was learned that a key source forrnthe journalists was Pham Xuan An, erstwhilerncorrespondent for Reuters andrnlime who was a North Vietnamese intelligencerncolonel, so perhaps Ilalberstamrnand Sheehan had reason to worry.rnDiem was later assassinated in thernAmerican-authorized coup. Mecklin indeedrnsuffered from divided loyalty,rnwhich his book describes.rnNote that the remarks of tcrl lorst andrnNessen, and the Mecklin cjucstion, gornback to the 60’s and 70’s, to the daysrnwhen the present journalist priesthoodrnwas formed, during which time carryingrnthe adversary relationship to extremesrnbecame the rule. I’he drama ofrnVietnam and its spin-offs through thernKennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford administrationsrncemented tlie polarization.rnDuring that time journalists whorncrossed into government or vice versarnincluded most notably those at the NewrnYork ‘limes and some others who hadrnunusual impact: ABC reporter JohnrnScali, who became United Nations ambassadorrnafter giving President Kennedy’srngovernment, not ABC, priority duringrnthe Cuban missile crisis, and PresidentrnJohnson’s press spokesman BillrnMoyers, who graduated to become PublicrnTelevision’s taxpayer-funded doctrinairernliberal oracle. But since that era arnslew of publicists who worked for thernReagan and Bush administrations havernnow been loosed on the public, evenrnformer Covernor and White HousernChief of Staff John Sununu.rnIn her column after the forum deflate,rnCharen pointed out:rnOne has a sneaking suspicionrnthat Mr. Broder and others of hisrnpersuasion lived happiK’ vith thernrevolving door until conservativesrnbegan circulating through it.rnTurn on television or pick up arnnewspaper and you’re likeK to encounterrna number of prominentrnconservati e journalists who havernserved in government: GeorgernWill, Patrick Buchanan (until hernrevolved back again a few monthsrnago), Charles Krauthammer, JohnrnMcLaughlin, David Cergen,rnWilliam Safire, and others.rnAt the same time, there are farrntoo many journalists, some at Mr.rnSafirc’s paper, who have neverrnserved in government but arernnonetheless shameless flacks forrntheir sources who do. These supposedK-rn’irginal watchdogs in thernFourth Fstate somehow allowrnthemselves to be used by secretariesrnof state and assistants to thernPresident not just to get the news,rnbut to settle scores and to spinrnthe stor. Their reward is enhancedrnaccess and improved relationsrnwith the principal source.rnYou can’t get at that kind of corruptionrnb erecting a wall of separationrnbetween government andrnthe press.rnCorruption is the key word. Broder’srnvery narrow goal of protecting a holierthan-rnthou press from unfavorable publicrnperceptions is entirely beside the point.rnNo one can put the stopper back in thernbottle of journalists becoming officialsrnand vice versa.rnIndeed, Broder’s contention thatrnWashington Post reporters, or anybody’srnreporters, arc entirely independent isrnnot possible. Sometimes a reporterrnagrees 10(1 percent with his publisherrnand chief editor, so he or she can feelrnindependent. But if a reporter disagreesrnwith his bosses, let us not kid eachrnother, he or she cannot get a report intornthe paper the way it should be writtenrnand is most unlikely to be allowed arnfree-swinging column. Broder is deadrnwrong that being brought up in thernnewsroom makes one independent. Ifrnyou quit a job in journalism, you mayrnnot get back in again easilv.rnBroder’s approach illustrates howrnmuch we have overdone the adversaryrnrelationship. As a young lady in the audiencernat the Washington panel whornidentified herself as a journalist for 12rnyears put it: “When a government officialrncompliments me on a story, 1 wonderrnwhere I went wrong.” She wantedrnto know how Ron Nessen felt when herntook the job with President Ford. I lowrnhe felt, going over to the enemy. AnrnOprah question. Here is a young ladyrnwho is likely to go far in a professionrnthat demands conformity. When therndefinition of journalism includes unswervingrnopposition, even hostility, tornall government officials, the intensity ofrnwhich is tripled or quadrupled for a Republicanrngovernment and Republicanrnofficials, we have gone off the deep end,rnjust as we have done in our too-adversarialrnjustice system.rnThe issue for journalists is corruption.rnUse of anonymous sources (whichrnmeans spoon-feeding) corrupts; conformistsrnbowing to peer pressure fromrntheir colleagues (joining with the pack)rncorrupt. Identifying journalism with arnconformist line of thought and thenrnputting loyalty to journalism over loyaltyrnto government corrupts. If journalistsrnshould adopt a uniform conservativerndogma instead of the liberalrnunithmk of the 1970’s, it would bernequally corrupting. Maybe there arernmore ways to say that conformity corrupts.rnIt won’t be eas’ to fix. But morernknock-down deflates like this one mightrnhelp. For that we’re indebted to Da idrnBroder, even if he struck out this time.rnRuss Braley was a reporter and editorrnfrom J 948 to J 987. He was a foreignrncorrespondent for 20 of these years.rn50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn