New York Post Receives Leak, Reveals NYT Columnist’s Scathing Article Against His Own Paper

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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The New York Post published a New York Times (NYT) columnist’s scathing article against his own publication after NYT would not put it up.

NYT columnist Bret Stephens wrote an article that slammed the newspaper’s leadership after it flip-flopped regarding an incident with former reporter Donald McNeil. NYT executive editor Dean Baquet first pardoned McNeil after allegations that he used racist language while leading a high school trip. Soon after, the newspaper changed its tune after pressure from staffers, resulting in McNeil’s forced resignation.

The newspaper’s opinion editor, Kathleen Kingsbury, confirmed that Stephens’ piece was rejected in a statement to Fox News on Thursday. She said she has “an especially high bar of running any column that could reflect badly on a colleague” and “didn’t feel that this piece rose to that level.”

Stephens specified that the article was nuked by NYT publisher A.G. Sulzberger, according to the NY Post. After its failure to go up at the NYT, Stephens’ piece “circulated among Times staffers and others,” the Post wrote. Eventually, it made its way to the Post, who published it in full, writing “Read the column the New York Times didn’t want you to read.”

The piece in question specifically took issue with Baquet’s comments amid the McNeil incident. Baquet first explained that “his remarks were offensive and that he showed extremely poor judgment, but that it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious.”

After staff backlash, though, Baquet and managing editor Joseph Kahn declared that “we do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.” (RELATED: Former NYT Writer Blasts Newspaper For Hypocrisy, Tells Megyn Kelly That It’s Become A Place Where You’re ‘Fired For’ Publishing Conservatives)

“Should intent be the only thing that counts in judgment? Obviously not. Can people do painful, harmful, stupid or objectionable things regardless of intent? Obviously,” Stephens wrote in his piece. “Do any of us want to live in a world, or work in a field, where intent is categorically ruled out as a mitigating factor? I hope not.”

Stephens also pushed back on the idea that journalism can “proscribe entire fields of expression.” He argued that “racist language” is “a broad, changing, contestable category” and warned that the NYT’s decision runs a big risk for the future.

“We are living in a period of competing moral certitudes, of people who are awfully sure they’re right and fully prepared to be awful about it. Hence the culture of cancellations, firings, public humiliations and increasingly unforgiving judgments. The role of good journalism should be to lead us out of this dark defile. Last week, we went deeper into it,” Stephens noted.

After Baquet made his “intent” comment, he flip-flopped yet again. The executive editor noted in a meeting Thursday that “of course intent matters when we are talkign [sic] about language in journalism,” according to NBC News’ Dylan Byers.

“So it appears that NYT leadership actually agrees with the thrust of Bret Stephens column. Why didn’t they run it? Maybe they didn’t want him addressing something in print that they were getting ready to walk back,” Byers speculated.

The NYT did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.