James Bennet (journalist)
James Douglas Bennet
March 28, 1966
|Education||Yale University (BA)|
|Relatives||Douglas J. Bennet (father)|
Michael Bennet (brother)
James Douglas Bennet (born March 28, 1966) is an American journalist. He was editor-in-chief of The Atlantic from 2006–2016 and was the editorial page editor at The New York Times from May 2016 until his resignation in June 2020. He is the younger brother of U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.
Early life and education
James Bennet was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Susanne (Klejman) and political official Douglas J. Bennet. He has a brother and sister. His mother is a Polish Jewish immigrant, who survived the Holocaust. When his father joined the staff of Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where James attended the St. Albans School. Susanne Bennet taught English as a second language at Language ETC, a non-profit organization in Washington. James Bennet studied at Yale University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and was editor-in-chief of The New Journal.
Bennet's elder brother is Michael Bennet, who has served as U.S. senator from Colorado since 2009. James Bennet was opinion editor at The New York Times when Michael Bennet ran for president in 2020; James Bennet agreed to recuse himself from all coverage of the 2020 presidential race.
Bennet began his career in journalism as an intern for The News & Observer and The New Republic. From 1989 to 1991, he held an editing post at The Washington Monthly. He joined The New York Times in 1991. He rose to serve as a White House correspondent and Jerusalem Bureau Chief. Upon his return from Jerusalem, he wrote a memorandum on the proper usage of the terms "terrorist" and "terrorism", which is often cited by editors of The Times.
Bennet was due to become the Times's Beijing correspondent in late 2006. He resigned from the paper in March of that year to accept an offer to become the 14th editor-in-chief of The Atlantic. Bennet was selected by the magazine's publisher, David G. Bradley, following an exhaustive selection process. Bradley conferred with 80 journalists around the United States.
Bennet as editor attracted attention in April 2008 when the magazine featured a cover story on Britney Spears, a change from The Atlantic's tradition in higher culture. The issue did poorly in newsstand sales.
During his tenure, The Atlantic dramatically increased web traffic, and in 2010, the magazine had its first profitable year in a decade.
In March 2016, The New York Times announced Bennet's appointment as Editorial Page editor, effective May 2, 2016. Bennet immediately added op-ed columnist Bret Stephens to the Times' editorial page, whose first column cast doubt on the long term consequences of climate change, resulting in reports of subscription cancellations.
In June 2017, the editorial page published a piece that linked political incitement to the Congressional baseball shooting as well as the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that wounded then-Rep. Gabby Giffords. The piece cited SarahPAC's map of targeted electoral districts as targeting individual Democratic politicians. These parts of the piece were later removed, but in response, Sarah Palin (the founder of SarahPAC) filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. Bennet was called to testify in response to Palin's lawsuit. Palin's suit was dismissed in 2017, only to be reinstated in 2019. On February 8, 2022, Bennet testified and took full responsibility for the errors published. A few days later, on February 15, 2022, a jury rejected Palin's libel suit against the Times.
Cotton op-ed and resignation
On June 3, 2020, amid nationwide protests and riots against racism and police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, The New York Times published an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton, titled "Send in the Troops", in which Cotton called for the deployment of federal troops into major American cities if there was violent rioting. Many Times staffers publicly criticized the editorial board for publishing the op-ed, which critics said normalized dangerous rhetoric. Fellow editorial writer Michelle Goldberg called the piece "fascist." Dozens of Times reporters tweeted, "Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger." Bennet initially defended the publication of the op-ed.
On June 4, 2020, The New York Times published a story titled, "New York Times Says Senator’s Op-Ed Did Not Meet Standards." According to the story, Bennet told staff members that he had not read the essay before it was published. In a June 5 staff meeting, Bennet also admitted that the Times had "invite[d]" the op-ed. The Times announced Bennet's resignation on June 7, 2020.
On January 26, 2021, The Economist hired Bennet as a "visiting senior editor" for one year.
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- Katharine Seelye (March 2, 2006). "The Atlantic Picks Writer at The Times as Its Editor". New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
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- Clark Hoyt (December 13, 2008). "Separating the Terror and the Terrorists". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
- Michael Learmonth, "Where Does Hillary Draw More Eyeballs Than Britney? At TheAtlantic.com", Business Insider, Aug 2008, accessed October 10, 2009
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- Folkenflik, David (February 8, 2022). "Former 'New York Times' editor testifies on Sarah Palin editorial: 'This is my fault'". NPR.org. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
- Peters, Jeremy W. (February 15, 2022). "Sarah Palin's Libel Claim Against The Times Is Rejected by a Jury". The New York Times. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
- Cotton, Tom (June 3, 2020). "Send in the troops". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 8, 2020. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- Barone, Michael, A bad year for the brothers Bennet, Washington Examiner, June 8, 2020
- Goldberg, Michelle (June 4, 2020). "Tom Cotton's fascist op-ed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- Tracy, Marc (June 3, 2020). "Senator's 'send in the troops' op-ed in The Times draws online ire". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- Darcy, Oliver. "New York Times staffers revolt over publication of Tom Cotton op-ed". CNN. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- Izadi, Elahe; Farhi, Paul; Ellison, Sarah (June 3, 2020). "New York Times staffers denounce newspaper for Tom Cotton editorial urging military incursion into U.S. cities". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
- Koran, Mario (June 4, 2020). "New York Times under fire over op-ed urging Trump to 'send in the troops'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
- Tracy, Marc; Abrams, Rachel; Lee, Edmund (June 4, 2020). "New York Times says senator's op-ed did not meet standards". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
- Cartwright, Lachlan; Tani, Maxwell; Grove, Lloyd (June 5, 2020). "New York Times executives take turns apologizing to quell staff revolt". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- "James Bennet resigns as editorial page editor of The New York Times; Katie Kingsbury named acting editorial page editor". The New York Times Company. June 7, 2020. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
- Mastrangelo, Dominick (January 26, 2021). "The Economist hires former NYT editor who resigned following Cotton editorial". TheHill.
- New York Times: "WEDDINGS; Sarah Jessup, James Bennet" August 5, 2001
- "James Bennet". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2018.