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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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much better a paper than it actually was. It was having serious competition with the Times-Herald, and I felt the Post was lowering itself a great deal by trying to meet the Times-Herald on its own grounds in sensational news presentation, particularly in its earlier edition. And I was quite frustrated in this sense and was ready to leave the Post and would have actually accepted an offer that Ernest Lindley made for me to go over to Newsweek, if I had not been at that time just about to go into the Army. So I stayed with the Post out of a sense of frustration with the Post and not because they were distorting stories at all but because I felt it was just so much worse a paper than it should have been with all Mr. Meyer's money behind it particularly. And he didn't care really how much it cost anyway.


You mean there was not enough news space, too many features?


I felt sure that. I felt that it could be and should be so much better a paper than it was, and there was no other really first-class paper in Washington. So I was pretty disgusted with it as a newspaper, and I say I would have left except that I was about to go into the Army.

Now, in answer to your question about the frustration as far as covering governmental news, I did not feel this very much. I can't really say I did. I felt that by really hard leg work you could track down almost any story and, of course, it required work and I made a big point of talking to just as many members of Congress - my work was primarily on Capitol Hill and very little in the departments, so these comments deal mainly with Capitol Hill - but it was impossible to keep secret any closed session of a Congressional committee.

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