Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a New York Times Editor resigning over a controversial op-ed.
New York Times on Sunday announced the resignation of its editorial page editor James Bennet, who had held the position since May 2016, and the reassignment of deputy editorial page editor James Dao to the newsroom.
The announcement comes three days after Bennet acknowledged that he had not read, before publication, a controversial op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R.-Ark.) headlined “Send in the Troops,” which called for military intervention in U.S. cities where protests over police brutality have ignited violence.
The New York Times staffers spoke out on Twitter on Wednesday evening to denounce their newspaper’s decision to run the essay shortly after it appeared online, calling it inflammatory and saying it contained assertions debunked as misinformation by the Times’s own reporting; several hundred later signed a letter objecting to it.
Dozens of Times reporters, columnists and editors had rebuked the paper’s editorial page Wednesday night for publishing the op-ed, in which Cotton stated that “rioters have plunged many American cities into anarchy” and that an “overwhelming show of force” is needed to “restore order to our streets.”
Bennet and the paper’s publisher initially defended the publication of the piece, arguing the benefits of an editorial page that includes diverse viewpoints. But by Thursday evening, a little more than 24 hours after it published, the Times abruptly said the op-ed was the result of a “rushed editorial process” and “did not meet our standards.” A lengthy editor’s note to the column was added.
The Times reported on Thursday that the Cotton op-ed was handled by an editor named Adam Rubenstein who shrugged off accuracy issues raised by a photo editor, and that Bennet had acknowledged in a meeting that he had not read it. Dao, Bennet’s deputy, told colleagues in internal messages reviewed by The Post that he had read the op-ed and that it had been fact checked.
Bennet also oversaw the section through several high profile controversies, including one that led to legal action by Sarah Palin, who accused the Times of linking her to the 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, and an op-ed by conservative columnist Bret Stephens, in which he seemed to compare a professor calling him a bedbug on Twitter to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.
Bennet has not publicly commented since Thursday. Colleagues said he broke down in tears during a meeting with one staffer, saying that he felt he had let his colleagues down.
There were Several writers who objected to the piece said they recognized the editorial page was a place to publish varying viewpoints, but called the Cotton op-ed irresponsible. Internally, staffers called for greater transparency, and several of the newspaper’s sections held intense meetings.
According to The Washington Post; a phone interview Conducted Sunday; Author Ochs Sulzberger Who is a publisher of the New York Times; acknowledged that the turmoil over Cotton’s piece and Bennet’s subsequent resignation had been challenging for the entire Times organization part of a tumultuous period that began before he was named publisher in January 2018 and has included the rise of misinformation, the attacks on the press by President Trump, and “the collapse of the news ecosystem.”
He gave James Bennet warm praise for broadening the ranks of columnists at the Times, and of reinvigorating the staff written editorials to lead crusades on issues such as privacy and economic inequality.