WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- James Bennet, The New York Times’ opinion editor for about four years, has resigned over failure to review an op-ed contributed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, promoting the use of federal troops to mitigate the mass protests.
- Times’ journalists and staffers cried foul over the publication of the op-ed piece, as some said it endangered the lives of its black employees.
- Bennet will be replaced by Katie Kingsbury who will oversee the opinion pages through the November elections.
The New York Times’ opinion editor James Bennet has left his post after receiving backlash from fellow co-workers for not reviewing an op-ed written by Republican Senator Tom Cotton before publication. Op-eds are opinion write-ups by external contributors, which newspapers publish.
Promoting the use of military forces to mitigate mass protests, the piece titled “Send in the Troops” by the Arkansas senator gained criticisms from several newspaper’s journalists and staffers. Some employees said it endangered black employees in the news agency. Others did not report for duty on Thursday to show objection to the incident. The article was first posted online on Wednesday.
Senator Cotton criticized the Times in a tweet early Monday, saying that his argument was misrepresented.
This is false and offensive.— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 7, 2020
I called for using military force as a backup—only if police are overwhelmed—to stop riots, not to be used against protesters.
If @nytimes has any decency left, they should retract this smear. https://t.co/9qJLgWSwlP
The Times said on Sunday that Bennet, who had been the editor for Times’ editorial page since 2016, resigned effective immediately coming from the backlash. Times added that the article did not meet the newspaper’s standard.
A.G. Sulzberger, Times’ publisher, said in a statement that he was grateful for Bennet’s contributions to the newspaper.
Bennet will be replaced by Katie Kingsbury, a Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing. The Times said Kingsbury will look after the opinion pages through the upcoming general elections in November.
Amid Cotton’s published op-ed, the Times said it will expand its fact-checking operation and minimize its op-eds
In his tweet on Sunday, President Donald Trump criticized the newspaper over Bennet’s resignation.
“Opinion Editor at @nytimes just walked out. That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator @TomCottonAR. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom. The New York Times is Fake News!!!”