There is, for instance, the confessions from Joan Crawford's daughter, her revelation that mommy was a bitch. Then there are all those people who claim to have slept with either John or Robert Kennedy - so many, it seems, that it was a miracle they had time for the Cuban missile crisis. And then there was Kate Summersby, every woman's idea of a jeep driver, who either had an affair or did not have an afair with Dwight Eisenhower, depending, on what you call an affair. Anyway, he loved her. We have her word for it.

After a while, you want to yell "Enough." It goes on all the time - this constant vomiting of gossip and dirt and tattling under the guise of truth. You hear it on talk shows and read it in books and now you have this woman about to launch a whole career on the simple fact that she slept with a Russian defector at $500 a sleep.

Now back to Paisley and his psychiatrist. As a rule, a psychiatrist or any physician should keep his mouth shut when it comes to discussing his patients. There are times, however, when speaking out may make some sense - clear the air or something. At the request of the family, for instance, pyschiatrists might want to say something to alleviate guilt or sorrow.

He might, as I think a psychiatrist once did, reveal that a certain man had cancer, thus making suicide much more likely than murder, or he might, as someone pointed out to me, do what Marilyn Monroe's psychiatrist did and that was to deny that she had an affair with Robert Kennedy. There is nothing in that sort of statement that snacks of tattling.

With Baruch, though, it's hard to say exactly what he had in mind. He now says that he did not realize what his words would look like in the paper and he said something about being quoted out of context and he said he would say no more. Out conversation, to say the least, was brief and so I write this not knowing if he had a very good reason for doing what he did. I write it also knowing that there are ethical considerations here - chapter this and section that of some code of ethics. I could not care less about that.

What is at stake here has nothing to do with professional ethics - reportorial or psychiatric. Reporters and shrinks have different obligations - one to ask questions the other not to answer them. We all know the rules.

What is at stake here is something else entirely and it goes back to the notion of children writing mean things about their dead parents and women turning tattle on their former lovers and whatever the case may be. The issue here is trust. The notion that you confide in certain people because you either trust them or you trust in their profession. In this sense at least it matters not at all whether Paisley committed suicide or was killed. Either way, he is dead.

And either way, he has been betrayed.