In the wake of the firestorm surrounding yesterday's allegations, the NYT been forced to explain themselves. As they write today:
The NYT has received more than 2,000 comments, many of them criticizing the handling of the article. More than 3,700 questions have been sent via e-mail to The Times on Thursday night and Friday. Editors and reporters who worked on the article are answering some of the questions on Friday.
(You can read the NYT responses here.
... To give you an idea what the NYT is saying, here is the part where they answer the "are you surprised by the reaction"
question. Notice, they blame much of the outrage -- not on their flawed story -- but on "McCain's operatives":
I think we all expected the reaction to be intense. We knew from our experience last year, when word leaked out we were pursuing this story, that Senator McCain's operatives would set out to change the subject by making the story about The New York Times rather than about their candidate. That's a time-honored tactic for dealing with potentially damaging news stories. We knew some readers would disagree with our decision to publish this information. After all, we wrestled with our own doubts on that score. We anticipated that it would provoke at least a brief media firestorm — and that our efforts to put Mr. McCain's relationship with a lobbyist in a bigger context would probably get lost in the retelling...