Writer Brian Stelter was clearly flummoxed by the Times' traditional prudishness about swearing; he solicited suggestions for a more sanitized phrasing on Twitter. Choire Sicha suggested saying Griffin "Repeated a (somewhat trite but shocking-for-TV) joke about how she would not herself interrupt the heckler's own job, with the implied punchline being that the heckler was employed in the capacity of performing sex for money."
In the end, the Times settled for "vulgarity."
This despite the fact that the outburst was at the heart of the Times' story, and despite the fact that the paper was scolded by its own public editor in July for similarly editing out a statement by Jesse Jackson that he wanted to "cut [Barack Obama's] nuts off:"
By failing to report what Jackson said, or even find a way to describe it more delicately, The Times left readers to wonder and speculate. Better to quote Jackson and move on.
The Times' standards did allow the paper to repeat Fox News Channel's chryon — "let’s hope the magic negro does a good job." Because references to filthy whores are much worse than outright racism, presumably.