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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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doing, which was first started way back, twenty-five years ago, the first part of it -- I think the main reason I've never really gotten down to writing memoirs of my own experience at the Times is that. I think it can't help turn out to be, in some degree or other, self-serving. It's so subjective it's just not -- I, at least, don't want to do it and that's why I never have.

But now you were going to ask me some leading question, to go back into this whole early period. Would you mind --

Q:

Not at all, though I fear I'm imposing a psychoanalytic framework.

No, we really just like to give you the chance to express your subjectivity without fear of having it be -- I know about your devotion to objectivity, and I think that's a very exciting commitment that you've devoted your life to. But since other people will characterize you, in their own subjective terms, we want for you to be able to also do the same. Equal time, if you will.

Oakes:

That's very fair. On the objectivity part, by the way, that was, of course, a big, big battle I had all through my career at the Times, objecting repeatedly to what I considered non- objectivity -- editorializing in the news department when I was editor -- and even before -- when I was on the editorial board of the Times. There are a million memos I must have written to a various succession of managing editors and, even occasionally to the publisher, objecting to the lack of objectivity -- to the introduction of personal or editorial opinion into the news columns of the Times. This was a running theme of mine. Even after I had retired from the Times, I very rarely did any objecting, because there's nothing worse than having a retired somebody keep complaining to the management about things he thinks are wrong. I did that



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