A Bret Stephens column about the week-old firing of N.Y. Times reporter Donald McNeil was recently spiked by Times publisher AG Sulzberger, mainly because Stephens quoted a previously published remark by ‘80s Republican attack-dog Lee Atwater that mentioned the “n” word. Khmer Rouge-minded staffers would’ve presumably had a fit if Stephens’ piece, which emphasizes intent as a key journalistic focus, had been published.

Here’s an excerpt: