Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
Photo Gallery

Part:         Session:         Page of 512

interpretation which has been coming in from your correspondent. Do you have a consultation with him abut it, or would you call him back?


I think that if that happened-and I really can't think of an instance in which this has really happened to any serious degree-we would be certainly at least in correspondence with him. Because of the distinction between our editorial and news departments, I would simply not be in a position to call him back. I might ask the managing editor if he would do that, but although I can conceive of such a circumstance, it actually hasn't ever happened. It would be much more likely, if we had a difference of opinion, the opinion coming through in the correspondent's “news stories” and the opinion on the editorial page being quite different, that we would engage in a cable discussion or even in a telephone discussion. In other words, we certainly don't cut ourselves off from our correspondents, but if such a difference of opinion developed, I think this would be the way to handle it. But, in addition to that, I would, of course, be screaming all the time that the opinion should be kept out of the correspondent's stories.

Now, in [David] Halberstam's case specifically, our editorial opinion did tend to coincide more or less with Halberstam's opinion. And, by the way, one has to be absolutely honest about it; an editorial opinion is often and is very likely to be based a great deal on what our own correspondents report are the facts because we aren't there and have to rely on their interpretation or on their view of the facts. But in Halberstam's, as in many other cases, I do object and did object initially in Halberstam's case, although I think he did a fine job and all that, to what I felt was much too much editorial opinion creeping into his reportage of the Vietnam situation. I think that even where interpretation was permissible, he allowed

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help