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Inside Oz

"Inside Oz" Continued...

Issue: "The ABCs of C Street," Aug. 29, 2009

The story eventually did surface in the Times, but barely: What could have been a front-page piece was buried on page 37. That was in some ways a good thing: Liberal bias had already made the Times untrustworthy. But this time important facts went unreported: A DuPont manager had done good damage control.

And that would be my job, if I accepted it. Reasons to accept were substantial, and they weren't only monetary and career-enhancing. The New York Times was an enemy. So what if I would do cover-ups from time to time? Maybe the Times deserved to be fooled, if that's what it took to undermine its propaganda. Whose side was I on, anyway?

By the end of 1981 Susan and I had joined an Orthodox Presbyterian church, but (probably my fault) I knew of no one in it who could give me good advice on a subject like this. At DuPont, one associate told me that he offered "fact accuracy" along with professional manipulation of impression: "I don't lie. There's a fine line sometimes, but I've never had data in front of me and read off the wrong numbers to a reporter." Another was more blunt: "You have to let [top executives] know you'll . . . cover up for them . . . Doing whatever it takes to get the job done-all in an honest day's work."

Bladder cancer for DuPont was largely in the past, but did I want to be a master manipulator if another problem arose? And one news item: I learned that my father, who worked during World War II in a factory making warship boilers, had come down himself with bladder cancer.

My mother wrote about how he was handling radiation treatments: "He could hardly walk. On Monday he had to be at the hospital for his first treatment and would not consider an ambulance to get us there. First, he tried two canes, which didn't work, so he decided to use the crutches which he used last year. Using crutches with a sore shoulder is hardly the answer, but that's how he made the steps here at home. . . . He refused to get into a wheel chair at the emergency area of the hospital."

CEO-to-be Heckert had said, "We got wrapped up in our own technology." Would I be wrapped up in my own career? But turning down a promotion at DuPont was professionally suicidal.

To be continued . . .

Read other episodes in this multi-part biographical series.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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