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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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very little, but I felt very strongly about an ever-increasing lack of objectivity in the Times news columns.

I go into this right now because I realize that my, sort of, maybe extreme devotion to that idea, both when I was a very active newspaper man, and even subsequently, because I still object, maybe even more strongly because -- I don't write objections to the management now that I'm retired, but I really hate to see what I see, an increasing lack of objectivity now and in recent years in the Times news columns, but there's no one I can say that to -- so I'm saying it out loud to myself and to you, right now.

But I'm struck by the fact that I believe this is clearly a reflection of the Adolph Ochs tradition I grew up with in my family as a boy, and as a teenager. My whole pre-professional career was suffused with the idea of Adolph Ochs's great and really, almost fanatical, insistence on objectivity in the news columns. Even to the degree, as I have later learned -- Apparently, at one point, he even didn't think there should be an editorial page. That, of course, was a long, long time ago, but, anyway, the Times did have an editorial page -- but his insistence in the news columns that the Times be absolutely objective, and not allow any political opinions to intrude into the news columns of the Times -- I was reading, or re-reading, something about that fairly recently that made me realize -- I hadn't thought about it in a long time but it made me realize again -- at least, that my own, perhaps exaggerated view about this, the division between editorial opinion in the paper, on the editorial pages, where you're supposed to have opinion -- and the news columns where it should be rigidly excluded -- sure comes from my own upbringing, and hearing about Adolph Ochs, and my uncle's insistence on this. It was part of the family atmosphere.

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