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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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that we had to reverse our position created quite a furor, at least on my part. I imagine it was prompted by Black, because of the association. I don't know of any other particular reason why Punch would have suddenly gotten interested in that.

And what this illustrates, if my surmise is true - nothing sinister at all, but a concern that went on through my entire career as editor of the editorial page - my concern always about the influence of outside directors of the Times. As I say, in this case I can't distinctly remember whether Black was a director at that moment, but in any case, he was very close. What worried me, and there were evidences, some of which I have referred to in previous interviews, or what I felt were undue, improper pressures by outside directors, on the management, on the position that the Times ought to take. I just felt, along with Adolph Ochs, that the Times ought to be totally independent of every kind of outside pressure, and of course, in Ochs' day, my uncle's day (Punch's grandfather), there were no outside directors of the Times.

Q:

Right. What about the reverse?

Oakes:

Of course it's also true that the Times was not a publicly held company either, and that obviously makes quite a considerable difference.

Q:

Right. What about the reverse? What about the Times people, the owners, taking positions on the boards of other institutions?



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