After reading Mike Cannon's article of March 22, I feel that I have misjudged Mike. I thought it was only the Second Amendment that he wished to trash. Now I see that he has his sights set on the First Amendment as well.

I agree that journalism has sunk into much of a political cesspool. But it didn't start with Clinton's escapades. It started as far back as the Johnson administration. The press has, since then, been scooping out for itself a vast pit so that it could wallow in the sludge of political corruption and moral decay that Clinton has filled it with.This stench will take an agency far more aggressive than the EPA to clean up. What you need is an agency that can flush the toilets and take out the trash. You could pattern it after the BATF. Call it the BSMJ, the Bureau of Smut, Muck and Journalism. It would need new laws, rules and regulations to enable it to root out any pollution in the journalistic pig sty.

You might need to reassure your colleagues that this agency could be given enough authority to accomplish this task, but that it would never violate their First Amendment rights in its zeal to enforce its mandate.

That shouldn't be too difficult; after all, we know the government has never violated the public trust. It didn't put its citizens at risk by detonating nuclear bombs in Nevada and dust this state with radioactive fallout. Its agents didn't shoot a boy in the back at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and then shoot his mother in the head while she held her potentially deadly baby in her arms. It didn't go down to Waco, Texas, and burn down the Branch Davidian Compound, with them in it.

And even if it did do these things, we could rely on the government to investigate itself and then tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

As an additional safeguard, we have a hardy band of journalists, standing on Lexington Common with their pens raised in defense of truth, justice and the American way.

That holy grail of journalism, the Pulitzer Prize, should be renamed to better reflect the quality of today's journalism. It should be called the "P Ulitzer Prize."

Harold G. Eaton

Richfield