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New York Times editor resigns amid fury over controversial Op-Ed

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-08 16:53

A screenshot of a controversial opinion piece published on the website of The New York Times.

NEW YORK - The New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet resigned on Sunday due to a controversial Op-Ed published Wednesday, according to the paper.

According to an article published Sunday night on the website of the Times, the paper's publisher A. G. Sulzberger said he and Bennet both "concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change required."

The piece by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, titled "Send In the Troops," advocated the deployment of the military across the United States to help respond to violence and chaos that erupted in protests over George Floyd's death.

The Op-Ed was met with widespread criticism that it put African Americans in danger, as many believe the presence of military force would lead to an escalation of tensions.

Its publication has also prompted criticism within the Times. Over 800 staff members have signed a letter of protest to senior editors and the company's executives, arguing that Cotton's article contains misinformation, especially for his depiction of "antifa."

On Friday, a lengthy note was added to the Op-Ed on the Times' Website, saying "the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published."

"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," said the note.

It also said the tone of the Op-Ed is "needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate."

Bennet said in a staff meeting on Friday that he had not read the essay before it was published, and apologized for the Op-Ed, the Times reported.

Bennet's deputy, James Dao, is being reassigned to the paper's newsroom.

Cotton on Sunday retweeted a Times' article on Bennet's resignation, commenting it was "false and offensive."

"I called for using military force as a backup-only if police are overwhelmed to stop riots, not to be used against protesters," he argued in the tweet.

This was not the first time that a major US newspaper has been under fire due to controversial Op-Eds this year. An opinion piece titled "China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia" published on Feb 3 on The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) drew fierce criticism, as the headline equals a racial slur that hurt the feelings of Chinese worldwide and the essay was published when China was in a tough battle against the coronavirus.

Despite protests from the Chinese government, thousands of readers and dozens of its own staff, the WSJ refused to apologize.

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