Jun 7, 2020 - Economy & Business

James Bennet resigns as editor of New York Times editorial page

The NYT building

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Corbis via Getty Images

James Bennet has resigned as editor of the New York Times' editorial page, the paper announced Sunday.

Why it matters: Bennet had been under fire for green-lighting an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that called on President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests over the death of George Floyd. Times employees organized a protest on social media and claimed that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger.

  • Bennet did not personally read the op-ed before publication, but put out a statement amid employee backlash that outlined his defense for publishing the piece.
  • Shortly after, however, a Times spokesperson released a statement saying that Cotton's op-ed failed to meet company standards and that editorial-board processes would be changed as a result.

The big picture: Bennet was seen as a potential successor to current Times executive editor Dean Baquet. Katie Kingsbury has been named as acting editorial page editor through the November election, while Jim Dao, an opinion deputy who oversaw op-eds, is "stepping off the masthead and being reassigned to the newsroom."

What they're saying: "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.

  • "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."

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger wrote in an email to staff:

“Because we have faced questions in recent days about our core values, I want to say this plainly: As an institution we are opposed to racism in every corner of society. We are opposed to injustice. We believe deeply in principles of fairness, equality and human rights. Those values animate both our news report and our opinion report.
While this has been a painful week across the company, it has sparked urgent and important conversations. In the Gough town hall questions, in the Slack channels, in the countless searching conversations I have had with many of you, I have heard an extraordinary passion for the mission of the Times."
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