New York Times' op-ed editor resigns

Editor of The New York Times' editorial page resigns following publication of controversial op-ed from Republican Sen. Tom Cotton.

Elad Benari ,

New York Times
New York Times

The editor of The New York Times' editorial page, James Bennet, resigned on Sunday after the publication of a controversial op-ed from Republican Sen. Tom Cotton earlier in the week drew significant criticism.

Publisher A.G. Sulzberger announced that Jim Dao, a deputy editorial page editor who had publicly taken responsibility as overseeing the editing of the piece, would be stepping off the masthead and reassigned to the newsroom.

Katie Kingsbury, another deputy editorial page editor, will oversee the editorial page through the 2020 election.

Cotton's article, published on Wednesday with the title "Send In the Troops," argued the Insurrection Act could be invoked to deploy the military across the country to assist local law enforcement with unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd.

The op-ed was published in The Times' opinion section, but staffers from both opinion and the newsroom criticized the publication.

Bennet initially defended running the op-ed, but later said his section was wrong to have published it and blamed a break down in the editorial process for the blunder.

"While this has been a painful week across the company, it has sparked urgent and important conversations," Sulzberger wrote employees in the memo announcing the changes.

"Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we've experienced in recent years," Sulzberger wrote Sunday, referencing other major debacles that had taken place at the opinion section under Bennet's leadership. "James and I agreed that it would take a new team to lead the department through a period of considerable change."

Bennet's departure follows a series of controversies. In September, the opinion section fumbled a story about an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Last year, the newspaper published a cartoon in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is shown as a guide dog for a blind US President Donald Trump.

The cartoon was widely condemned, leading the New York Times to publish an apology on its Twitter account and to later discipline the editor who permitted the cartoon to be published.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump on Sunday responded to the news of Bennet’s resignation by attacking the newspaper in a tweet.

“Opinion Editor at New York Times just walked out. That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator Tom Cotton. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom. The New York Times is Fake News!!!” he wrote.