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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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editorial page did during that month and what we were talking about and so on, with a little final note saying that we published 5.6% of the 4500 letters received during that month, which was one of the great problems that I had during the entire time that I was editor of the page, that our letters -- we were receiving, if I recall, something like -- I think it was something like 60,000 letters a year, something pretty close to that, and we were only able to publish less than 6 percent of the number. And that had been one of the many motives that I had in pushing for the Op-Ed page, to get the Times columnists -- this was only one of the motives, but to get Times columnists off of the editorial page so we could have more space for letters. I may have mentioned that in the previous discussions about the Op-Ed page, but this was one of the problems.


I have one more question for you along the same lines. You read to me, that's very interesting, a memo of your thinking at that time. Has your thinking changed about whether or not you think Punch Sulzberger was trying to change the policy of the editorial page by appointing a more conservative editor?


I certainly cannot prove that. This is purely a speculation, but since you asked me the question, I think that the answer is yes, to the degree that -- yes, I think that the way I was running the editorial page, though he had no objection -- in fact, quite the contrary; frequently it was praised by the publisher and only very rarely was there any real squawk from the publisher about any specific editorial -- very, very rarely, but I've covered that in other parts, I guess, of this oral history.

I think, really, that the publisher had been under considerable pressure and criticism, particularly from Wall Street sources, about the “leftish” or “ultra-liberal” tendencies of the

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