The New York Times was reeling on Monday after its Opinion section fumbled a high-profile story about an allegation of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, drawing widespread criticism and condemnation of the newspaper.
It was the latest in a series of high-profile blunders that has caused embarrassment to James Bennet since he was appointed in 2016 as the editor overseeing The Times' Opinion section. Bennet's tenure has been marked with several mishaps that have generated controversy, drawn criticism, and spurred at least one lawsuit.
But while the Opinion section has unquestionably produced strong work in the years since Bennet took over, it has also been culpable for some of the biggest journalistic black eyes at The Times during that period.
The latter happened again over the weekend when The Times' Sunday Review published the botched Kavanaugh story and an offensive tweet that advertised the story. By Sunday night, The Times had not only apologized for the "offensive" tweet, but also appended to the essay an editor's note addressing the glaring omission in its original story.
The weekend flub was one in a series of botched stories:
In 2017, the Opinion section published an editorial that drew a link between an advertisement from Sarah Palin's political action committee and a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, in which six people were killed and then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely wounded with no evidence that the shooter saw the advertisement, much less that he was motivated by it. The Times issued a correction and withdrew the story.
In April of this year, the Opinion section of The Times' international edition published an anti-Semitic cartoon. The Opinion section issued an apology and The Times' publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, said the newspaper was "taking disciplinary" measures regarding the editor involved.
And most recently, The Times faced a barrage of criticism and mockery over the actions of columnist Bret Stephens, who after being jokingly referred to as a "bedbug" on Twitter by a George Washington University professor wrote an op-ed likening being referred to as a bedbug to the dehumanizing language Jewish people faced under Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
Sprinkled in between have been other mishaps, including a Twitter poll related to the Kavanaugh hearings. The poll asked whether readers found the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault, to be "credible." The Times later deleted it, saying it was "insensitive in light of the gravity of the hearing."