The editorial page director for New York Times, James Bennet, resigned on Sunday, the newspaper announced, following the newspaper’s decision to publish a controversial op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton that sparked intense backlash.
The Times said Bennet’s resignation is effective immediately. He had been in the position since May 2016.
Jim Dao, the deputy editorial page editor, is stepping off the masthead and will be reassigned to the newsroom, the Times said.
Katie Kingsbury, who joined the Times in 2017, will be named acting editorial page editor through the November election.
“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 said 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.”
The newspaper’s announcement did not mention the controversy over the Cotton op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops.” But Bennet’s resignation comes after the publication of the op-ed, which called for the president to invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the military to quell nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, sparked an internal revolt at the newspaper.
The New York Times said in a statement on Thursday that the senator’s op-ed “did not meet our standards” and that the newspaper is planning to “examine both short term and long term changes,” including expanding its fact-checking operation and reducing the number of op-eds it publishes.
Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger told staff in an email Sunday that he and Bennet agreed “it would take a new team to lead the department through a period of considerable change,” according to a copy of the email tweeted by Times media reporter Marc Tracy.