on’s “obedient child” into an institution,nobedient only to deadlines and hisnnetwork bosses.nWhat happened? Twenty of hisnWashington years Mrs. Donaldson’snsecond son spent in the employ ofnABC News, 10 under the direction ofnRoone Arledge, erstwhile boy wondernof televised sport. The result? SamnDonaldson, unknown neophyte, hasnbeen transformed into Sam Donaldson,nveteran celebrity. Hence thisnbook.nWe Americans pride ourselves onneither the absence of an Americannclass system or in its fluidity. In truth,nin America there are two classes: celebritiesnand all the rest of us. AndynWarhol notwithstanding, 15 minutesnin the limelight doesn’t really count.nTwenty years among the stars does. Itnalso destroys.nWe Americans also pride ourselvesnon our treasured personal freedom. Inntruth, in America there are the freenand the unfree — not only are thencelebrities denied the all-Americannpleasure of bellying up to an all-nAmerican bar, in full assurance of theirnall-American anonymity, but they arenalso doomed to act out whatever rolentheir public has assigned to them.nThe producers oiThis Week WithnDavid Brinkley understand typecasting.nSo does Sam: “David Brinkley isnthe leader. George Will is the intellectual.nI am the district attorney. . . .nBecause of David, no one leaves offended.nBecause of George, no onengets away with delivering fuzzy arguments.nBecause of me, no one gets anfree ride.”nEveryone has a role to play, and thenplay must go on. Is the ordinary Washingtonnpol genuinely terrified of annassault in the form of a Donaldsonheldnmicrophone thrust before him?nSam would have us believe so, but thennature of his business makes it doubtful.nAny public figure worth at least andash of salt is not shaking at the sight ofnSam Donaldson. They know the valuenof free TV exposure, and they knownthat a game is being played. Onenwonders if Sam does.nRonald Reagan, the actor, was oftennthe victim of typecasting. But SamnDonaldson, ill-mannered reporter andnTV star, is just as typecast and just asnmuch an actor as President Reagannwas — or is. The only difference maynbe that Donaldson has the less firmngrip on the reality of his (non-nHollywood) lot — perhaps the shoutnought to be “hold on, Mr. Donaldson,nhold on.”nAbout the time Sam Donaldsonncame to Washington, Daniel Boorstinnwrote The Image (subtitled “a guide tonpseudo-events in America”). “Pseudoevents”nare called into being by thenmedia; they have no independent reality.nNews, according to Boorstin, wasnnot being reported on such shows; itnwas being created.nDonaldson gives no hint of anynawareness of Boorstin’s insight. Hensimply asserts what to him is bothnobvious and commendable: This WeeknWith David Brinkley is a success preciselynbecause it is a newsmaker. Anmonth after the program debuted, itsnreputation was “established” whennMuammar Qaddafi was given air timento deny that a Libyan hit squad wasnheaded for Washington and label PresidentnReagan a liar. The result wasna “banner headline” in the WashingtonnPost. What more could a SamnDonaldson ask for?nA few years later an appearance bynPhilippine President Ferdinand Marcosnproduced what Donaldson cannonly describe as a “remarkable moment.”nDaniel Boorstin might agreenbut would be deeply troubled by whatnactually transpired. In response to anGeorge Will query regarding the possibilitynof advancing the scheduled datenfor Filipino elections, Marcos instantiyncalled a “snap election.”nA pseudo-event (the Brinkley show)ncalled into being a historical event —nwas the result hard news or manufacturednnews? And what of Marcos’nrole? Did he act on impulse? Did henuse the panel — or did the panel usenhim? Should the media applaud themselvesnfor becoming not only part ofnnewsmaking but also part of the newsworthynresult? None of these questionsnseem to trouble Mr. Donaldson.nThose who do have questions ofnMr. Donaldson will be much disappointednas they whip through the frothnof his memoir. Why did a young SamnDonaldson decide to become a televisionnreporter in the first place? Whatnqualifications, aside from sheer ambition,ndid he bring to his chosen field?nHow has television news, not to mentionnSam Donaldson, matured—or atnleast changed — over the past quarterncentury? Is Donaldson himself an ExhibitnA for those who believe that lifenas a network talking head draws onenboth eastward and leftward? Do celebrityhoodnand television subtly, but inevitably,ncorrupt the process of newsngathering and news dissemination?nSuch questions are neither askednnor answered. Television, already intrudingninto living rooms and bedrooms,nmay play an intrusive role innpolicymaking itself. TV reporters arenfree to barge into the private lives ofnpublic figures. But Sam Donaldson,nthe television journalist, apparentiy refusednto intrude upon the recesses ofnhis own mind when he sat before hisnword processor.nDonaldson can never be accused ofnengaging in “happy talk” on the eveningnnews. But he forgets that “nastyntalk” can be just as superficial. Withnhim as memoirist, what we have seennand heard is apparently all we are everngoing to get.nJohn C. Chalberg teaches history atnNormandale Community College.n”/ would not want to live in a world that did notninclude This World.” – Ralph MclnernynAuthoritative contributors I M: Mail this coupon and your checl< to:n… Intelligent discourse …nThis World, 934 N. Main St., Rocl