James Bennet, the editorial page editor at The New York Times, resigned Sunday in response to outrage over an opinion piece written last week by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called on President Trump to invoke the "venerable" Insurrection Act to send the military to U.S. cities so they could "disperse, detain, and ultimately deter lawbreakers."
The essay was published online Wednesday night, and it almost immediately drew ire from readers and Times staffers alike, with many arguing it endangered black employees. An internal review found that the op-ed shouldn't have been published the way it was — the headline "Send in the Troops" was "incendiary and should not have been used," and Cotton made sweeping statements accusing "left-wing radicals like antifa" of infiltrating George Floyd protests, despite scant evidence.
The Times said that "given the life-and-death importance of the topic, the senator's influential position, and the gravity of the steps he advocates, the essay should have undergone the highest level of scrutiny." Bennet, who initially defended the piece by saying how important it is to hear from a variety of voices, revealed on Friday that he did not read it prior to its publication. His deputy, James Dao, has been reassigned, and Pulitzer Prize winner Katie Kingsbury will oversee the opinion pages through November.