James Bennet, who was considered a top candidate to succeed Dean Baquet as executive editor of The New York Times, has resigned from his position as editorial page editor amid an intense backlash to a column his section published Wednesday.
The column, written by a conservative Republican U.S. senator, called for the government to “Send In the Troops” to combat protests around the country stemming from the killing of George Floyd.
Bennet, and the Times, faced both internal and external criticism for publishing the column, which he originally defended as an example of his section’s commitment to ideological diversity. Later, the newspaper said that the column did not meet its standards and should not have been published.
“James is a journalist of enormous talent and integrity who believes deeply in the mission of The Times,” publisher A.G. Sulzberger said as part of the resignation announcement. “He oversaw a significant transformation of the Opinion department, which broadened the range of voices we publish and pushed us into new formats like video, graphics and audio. I’m grateful for his many contributions.”
“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,” said Bennet, who has led the editorial page since 2016. “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.”
Bennet, the former editor of The Atlantic and brother of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, will be replaced on an interim basis by Katie Kingsbury.