When James Bennet was forced to resign as Opinion editor last month after a contretemps over the publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s essay calling for military troops to quell violent protests, I was worried. I found the argument that publishing the OpEd endangered anyone’s life to be specious, though it was repeated by many of my former colleagues on Twitter; I thought that organized, open revolt violated every code of collegiality; and I worried that the paper was cowering from its historic role as the host of raucous but respectful debate.
My friends inside told me that the publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, had simply concluded that Bennet would not be able to lead his staff after this very public uprising, and I accepted that. I served on the masthead and know those roles are a privilege, and that life at that level isn’t always fair. I was sad for Bennet, a role model of mine, but what I cared about most was that Sulzberger would continue to be the voice for diversity of opinion.
Bari’s resignation is, in ways, more worrying. Her feeling pushed to relinquish the most powerful and most stable platform in journalism, is a serious indictment of the devolution of debate at The Times — and, indeed, across our industry, our politics, our culture.