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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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objectively, in line with my principles about objectivity. But I was bitterly attacked by one or two of my housemates in Washington -- who were, as I said a moment ago, very, very strong New Dealers, some of whom -- they weren't all that way -- were very strong, ultra-liberals, let's say. I still remember being attacked for my absolute deadpan reports on the Dies Committee hearings -- the Dies Committee being the House Committee on Un-American activities --


Sure. I know what it is.


-- on what I thought were absolutely outrageous actions on the part of Representative Dies and some of his closest associates. Absolutely terrible, and the kinds of interrogations -- Basically what they were doing, to coin a cliché, was engaging in one of the classic witch hunts of American history. I was very much against that, but I did try to report the hearings in a totally objective way. For this, some of my housemates attacked me very strongly.

“How can you give equal time to this kind of stuff?” So my general approach to political affairs, partly because of the influence of certain members of the family, and partly -- I guess, through my own experience at college -- was, as I would say, not radical but very definitely liberal democratic. After the Dies Committee, when [Senator Joseph R.] McCarthy came along, this was a natural outgrowth. My attitude toward McCarthy, which was very strongly anti-, right from the start -- my attitude was a natural outgrowth of what my own, personal attitude had been on the whole refugee and all these social problems, on which the conservatives were on one side and the liberals, generally, were on the other. So it seemed perfectly normal and natural that I would be anti-McCarthy. I began critiquing, criticizing McCarthy editorially in the Times, which by that time -- Well, ever since 1949 I had been writing editorials. That's when I did a lot of work, as I said a moment ago, trying to defend the displaced persons and

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