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Notable New     Yorkers
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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Now, I was very uneasy about accepting such an invitation. I thought it was perfectly OK if the publisher wanted to do it, but I didn't think that I should be subjected to that kind of direct pressure, quite different from talking with Chrysler people in New York or elsewhere. In fact, I had even been on a panel not long before with Chrysler's principal air emissions expert, on this very subject of air pollution, a panel of newspaper editors to discuss this question. I chaired a panel in which the Chrysler man on air pollution was opposing Barry Commoner, who was of course strongly in favor of controls.


Do you remember who was the Chrysler man on that occasion?


I can't remember his name, but he was their official - their very well known spokesman. I simply don't remember his name. But, in other words, I had been in contact with Chrysler people. I knew what they were saying. And I didn't like the idea of going out to the plant and being their guest.

Obviously the automobile industry are big advertisers in the Times. As a matter of fact, the publisher's intention was to go out to Chrysler and to remain in Detroit for the Bureau of Advertising Directors' meeting. I simply didn't like the context of that trip. So I sent the publisher a note telling him I would go on the Chrysler trip if he thought it was desirable, but, as I said, “I'm a bit suspicious of their public relations effort.”

Then the next thing I knew, he had accepted for me, and we were officially expected to go.

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