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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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editorial - he's black, and he represented the very, very strong black antipathy to Moynihan - and he had been conferring with other blacks on the Times, and he said to me that it was absolutely essential, he felt, that he got a letter or an Op-Ed piece, an Op-Ed piece into the paper before Election Day, which was the next Tuesday.

I advised him - this was on Friday, the same day the editorial appeared - I advised him, on the same principle that I've already discussed with you in a totally different context, the Don Cook question, I said that it would be very wrong to run a response -

Wait a minute. I'm mistaken, I think, on that. In this case it was the obverse. I said I thought in this case that to run a Letter would be wrong, for another member of the editorial board. As I recall it, I said to him that I didn't think that he could run a letter, because my letter was already in, and I didn't feel that another letter, this wouldn't be appropriate, but I felt that under these circumstances, an Op-Ed piece against Moynihan would be appropriate. At this point, I don't precisely recall the conversation with Wilkins, but in any case, we agreed that he would write something to express the black point of view about Moynihan. And I said, “I have, however, under the circumstances, to tell the publisher this, because I can't just push this onto the paper” - whether it was a letter or an Op-Ed. I think in this case we ended up by feeling that it should be an Op-Ed piece.

I said, “I can't run it without telling the publisher about this, in view of his strong feelings on the matter.”

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