The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned following major backlash over an op-ed written by Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, the paper announced Sunday.
Bennet was criticized after allowing Cotton’s op-ed, which called for the U.S. military to be deployed as backup in an effort to squash violent protests following George Floyd’s death, to be published. The publication saw many of its employees openly protest the decision on social media, claiming the opinion piece put black coworkers in danger.
Bennet defended the decision to publish the piece following backlash, although it came out later that he had not read Cotton’s article himself. The Times reportedly pitched Cotton on writing the op-ed, too, according to Business Insider’s Patrick Coffee.
“The journalism of Times Opinion has never mattered more than in this time of crisis at home and around the world, and I’ve been honored to be part of it,” Bennet wrote in a statement according to Axios. “I’m so proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to focus attention on injustice and threats to freedom and to enrich debate about the right path forward by bringing new voices and ideas to Times readers.”
Here’s what I said.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 7, 2020
Although Bennet defended publishing Cotton’s op-ed, the Times eventually apologized for running it. The Times wrote that “a rushed editorial process” resulted in publishing a piece “that did not meet our standards.” (RELATED: ‘It Far Exceeds Their Standards’: Tom Cotton Criticizes NYT For Apologizing ‘In The Face Of The Woke Mob Of Woke Kids’ Over His Op-Ed)
“James is extremely credentialed and he’s liberal just like the NYT wants,” a longtime Washington political hand who knows Bennet told the Daily Caller. “He’s a decent person too and competent as can be. The fact that a moderate liberal is too conservative to be opinion editor tells you all you have to know about how radical the Times is becoming. Unless it has to do with something that could harm their corporate bankrollers of course, in which case the Times is thoroughly establishment. Welcome to 2020 America.”
Katie Kingsbury is now the acting editorial page editor through November. Jim Dao, opinion deputy overseeing op-eds, will “step off the masthead to move into a new role in the newsroom,” Axios reported.