James Douglas Bennet
March 28, 1966
Boston, Massachusetts, US
|Education||St. Albans School|
Sarah Jessup (m. 2001)
|Parent(s)||Susanne Klejman Bennet|
Douglas J. Bennet
|Relatives||Michael Bennet (brother)|
James Bennet was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Susanne Bennet (née Klejman; of Polish Jewish descent) and Douglas J. Bennet. He has a brother and sister. When his father went to work on the staff of Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where James attended the St. Albans School. He studied at Yale University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and was editor-in-chief of The New Journal.
Susanne Bennet taught English as a second language at Language ETC, a non-profit organization in Washington. Douglas Bennet was appointed as a political official in the Carter and Clinton administrations, served as the president of National Public Radio from 1983 to 1992 and as the president of Wesleyan University from 1995 to 2007.
Bennet began his journalism career as an intern for The News & Observer, and later, 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 the Jerusalem bureau chief for the paper. 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, he was appointed the Editorial Page editor at The New York Times. Bennet immediately added Bret Stephens to the Times' editorial page, whose first column for the Times cast doubt on the long term consequences of climate change, causing a flood of subscription cancellations.
In June 2017, the editorial page published a piece that linked political incitement to the shooting of Steve Scalise as well as the 2011 mass shooting in Arizona that wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The piece erroneously cited Sarah Palin's political action committee's map of targeted electoral districts as targeting individual Democratic politicians. These parts of the piece were later removed but in response, Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times. Bennet was called to testify in response to Palin's lawsuit. Palin's suit would later be dismissed, only to be subsequently reinstated.