Chief Political Reporter Responds to Obama Camp Criticism - and Agrees

Would a Times reporter respond as respectfully after an attack from a Republican?

Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney responded to Obama campaign accusations to his front page story on Wednesday, a story based on a NYT/CBS poll that asked many questions about race. The headline: "Poll Finds Obama Candidacy Isn't Closing Divide on Race."

The exchange began when the Obama campaign complained to the pro-Democrat site Talking Points Memo:

The NYT story about their poll ignores multiple and significant pieces of data that actually indicate a trend much different from that which the story suggests.

Obama's camp went into detail on points it claimed were ignored by Nagourney, who actually responded to the Obama accusations, again via TPM. After saying the paper was "comfortable that our story accurately captured the results on the questions," he conceded some points to the Obama campaign.

One last point: I do think there is room for discussion about the headline - "Poll Finds Obama Candidacy Isn't Closing Divide on Race." The point of the story is that black respondents apparently do not see the fact of Mr. Obama's candidacy as evidence of significant improvement in race relations. The story does not suggest that there is some onus on Mr. Obama himself to be closing this divide. I also, on a smaller matter - and the one matter the Obama campaign did raise with me - should have included, in saying that 20 percent of white voters had a favorable view of Michelle Obama, the fact that 72 percent either have no opinion about Mrs. Obama or hadn't heard enough about her, to avoid any suggestion that 80 percent had an unfavorable view of her.

We wonder ifa Times reporter would respond as respectfully to an attack from a Republican, even one like McCain that it used to like.