The editorial page editor of the New York Times has resigned amid outrage over an op-ed by a Republican senator who advocated using federal troops to quell protests — outrage that only grew when it was revealed the editor had not read the piece before publication.
The paper announced Sunday that James Bennet, who had overseen the Times’ opinion pages since 2016, had stepped down effective immediately.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops” and first posted online late Wednesday, caused a revolt among Times journalists, with some saying it endangered black employees.
Some staff members called in sick Thursday in protest and the Times said a review found that the piece did not meet its standards.
Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger said in a statement that he was grateful for changes Bennet had made to the paper’s opinion pages, including broadening the range of voices.
I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but to not say something would be immoral. As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this. <a href=”https://t.co/lU1KmhH2zH”>https://t.co/lU1KmhH2zH</a>
Katie Kingsbury, a Pulitzer Prize winner for editorial writing, will oversee the opinion pages through the November elections, the Times said.
In the wake of Cotton’s op-ed, the Times announced several changes, including expanding its fact-checking operation and reducing the number of op-eds, which are opinion pieces written by outside contributors that it publishes.
Philadelphia Inquirer’s top editor resigns
Bennet’s resignaton comes a day after the Philadelphia Inquirer’s top editor resigned after an uproar over a headline lamenting damage to businesses amid turbulent protests.
The newspaper said Stan Wischnowski, 58, was stepping down as senior vice president and executive editor.
The Inquirer had apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline, “Buildings Matter, Too,” on a column Tuesday about looting and vandalism on the margins of protests of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer.
About 30 members of the Inquirer’s 210-member editorial staff called in sick earlier this week, and black staff members angrily condemned the headline. It appeared over an article by architecture critic Inga Saffron, who worried that buildings damaged in violence over the past week could “leave a gaping hole in the heart of Philadelphia.”
The Inquirer drew fresh scorn after it replaced that headline online with one that read, “Black Lives Matter. Do Buildings?” Eventually, the newspaper settled on “Damaging buildings disproportionately hurt the people protesters are trying to uplift.”
WATCH | Covering racism: Why Canadian media struggles to get it right
The Inquirer published an apology from senior editors. Publisher and CEO Lisa Hughes said in a memo to staff that the headline was “offensive and inappropriate” and said the newspaper needed a more diverse workforce.
Wischnowski had worked at the Inquirer for 20 years and was editor when the paper won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for an in-depth investigation into violence within Philadelphia schools.
He will formally leave the newspaper June 12. Hughes did not immediately name a successor.