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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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each other a lot in off-office hours. This was a very ideal situation from the editor's and publisher's point of view.

There never is, was, or, as far as I can see, ever will be, any doubt that the publisher-and I'm speaking of our paper, the way it is set up-has the last word in case there is a disagreement. If it came down to a final argument in which the editor would take one position and the publisher would take another, there's no question that the publisher would win because he is in control of the paper. I might say as just a footnote that there were very small issues in which there was disagreement. The only specific one that I really know of in the Merz-Sulzberger relation was one on fluoridation in which the Times took a very strong position in favor of it and the editor, after first being in favor of it, changed his mind, but did go along editorially in support of fluoridation at the publisher's request, but the editor didn't consider this any great matter of principle and no crisis arose. This is the only specific case I know of where there was a real problem between Sulzberger and Merz, and this wasn't very much of one.

Now, when Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Merz gave up their places-Mr. Merz became editor emeritus, I became editor of the page, and Mr. Dryfoos succeeded Mr. Sulzberger-we too were very good friends, not as intimate as the Sulzberger-Merz relationship, but we were very good friends and had a very confidential relationship. The fact was that very rarely in the two years in which Mr. Dryfoos was publisher and I was editor were there any questions about editorial policy raised by the publisher. I was left to run it pretty much as I wanted to. And whenever any issue came up that I felt ought to be brought to the publisher's attention as the final responsible authority, I would bring that up.

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