New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet has resigned, the paper announced Sunday. Bennet faced considerable criticism over the Times' handling of an op-ed written by Senator Tom Cotton. The Arkansas Republican encouraged the U.S. to "send in the troops" in response to the violence that has accompanied largely peaceful protests across the U.S. over the police killing of George Floyd.
"Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we've experienced in recent years," New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger said in an email sent to the paper's staff. "James and I agreed that it would take a new team to lead the department through a period of considerable change."
The paper also said "Katie Kingsbury, who joined The Times in 2017, has been named as acting editorial page editor through the November election."
Following the publication of Cotton's essay online — titled "Tom Cotton: Send in the Troops" — many readers criticized the piece saying it was both dangerous and filled with false or misleading claims. A contingent of NYT staffers voiced their displeasure with the piece on social media. Times employees who disagreed with the op-ed began tweeting the message "Running this put Black @nytimes staffers in danger."
Many Times employees also participated in a virtual walkout Friday to protest the op-ed's publication.
Tweets from NYT employees attending a meeting following the op-ed's publication revealed that Bennet had not reviewed the piece before it was published. Another staffer also claimed that Sulzberger said the piece "should not have been published." An editor's note has since been added to Cotton's essay, saying "we have concluded that the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published."
The note also concedes the op-ed contained unverified information that should have been removed.
"For example, the published piece presents as facts assertions about the role of 'cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa'; in fact, those allegations have not been substantiated and have been widely questioned," the note reads. "Editors should have sought further corroboration of those assertions, or removed them from the piece. The assertion that police officers 'bore the brunt' of the violence is an overstatement that should have been challenged."
According to the email sent by Sulzberger, deputy editorial page editor Jim Dao is also stepping down. He will be "taking a new job in the newsroom."