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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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So there was no doubt about Harrison being a major newspaper figure. My understanding is that he was not at all happy where he was, at this time -- and this was 1970. I believe that Punch thought this would be an ideal place to give him some play for his own very excellent imagination. There's no question that Harrison is a highly competent person, highly imaginative, and that it would also remove him -- give him much freer play and take him away from Rosenthal's jurisdiction -- which, I'm sure Harrison very much wanted.

That's my own view about it. But in no way can Harrison be said to be the originator of the Op-Ed page of the New York Times. In fact, several years before the Op-Ed page was finally instituted in 1970, Punch set up a committee to consider the idea, of which I -- as the originator and chief promoter of an Op-Ed for the Times -- was named chairman. I had in fact been pushing the Op-Ed idea, first with Orvil [Dryfoos], then Punch, for years. There were representatives on this committee from the news department. Harrison sometimes represented the news department in sessions of this committee, which only met a few times. At that time, Cliff [Clifton D.] Daniel was managing editor. Cliff was the representative of the news department named to that committee. On at least one or two occasions when Cliff Daniel -- who was very negative about the formation of an Op-Ed page -- was unable to attend one or two sessions of the committee, Harrison attended as his deputy. Harrison, representing the view of the news department, was also rather negative about the prospects, possibility, or practicality of an Op-Ed page. There are memoranda which bear out what I've just said, and there's no question that Harrison had little if anything to do with the origin of the Op-Ed page. He had a great deal to do with the way the Op-Ed page developed because he was, in practice,

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