* WINNERS: Americans who are demonstrating their patriotism and compassion by making blood donations here at home in response to the fighting in the Persian Gulf. So great, in fact, has been the increase in blood donations in response to the war that blood banks expect to meet their needs without any special appeals for donors.

* WINNER: Cable News Network for its outstanding coverage of the war in the Persian Gulf. Particularly impressive was CNN's performance during the initial hours of the fighting, when Bernard Shaw, James Holliman and Peter Arnett described the attack on Iraq from the ninth floor of the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad. Bravo, gentlemen!* WINNERS: The TV and radio networks in general for bringing the world the very first word on the outbreak of the fighting in the Persian Gulf well before official government announcements.

LOSERS: The TV networks. Though their decision to provide almost non-stop coverage of the war is commendable, it occasionally involved their going through some awkward contortions just to fill air-time. Among those contortions: The repeated failure to distinguish between fact and rumor. Coverage of such inconsequentialities as an anti-war demonstration by a handful of American grade school students. The inane observation of one Washington correspondent that the fighting represented the triumph of war over diplomacy, which the correspondent described as "a contradiction in terms." What a firm grasp of the obvious.

LOSERS: Young Americans. They have been ceaselessly exposed to a particularly nasty side of adult life - a side that even adults have a hard time handling - through the barrage of war coverage. Something big and beyond their control looms over the youngsters. That's bound to be tough on the emotions. They need the help of parents, teachers, counselors and the clergy in trying to cope with it all.