What if I were to say that the American public is deeply divided on capital punishment, adopting a subtle and nuanced position between two extremes? What if I were to justify this by saying that even though a majority of people support the death penalty for convicted murderers, most people oppose hanging innocent people at random?
You might think I am being a little unfair, by contrasting two 'extremes' one of them the position held by a majority of Americans and one a postion held by precisely no-one.
Yet the Times concluded that the public's attitude to intercepting telephone calls made by suspected terrorists was 'subtle and nuanced' on the basis of just such a survey. By a majority of more than two to one the public supports the administration's policy, heavily attacked by the Times and the Democrat Party. But the answers depend on how you phrased the question. A majority also opposed listening in on the phone calls of ordinary Americans not suspected of terrorism.
That is what the Times means by 'subtle and nuanced'. Sixty eight percent oppose the position advocated by the Times, but on the other hand a majority also oppose a ridiculous counter proposal that not one member of Congress or administration appointee supports.
No-one advocates listening in on the phone calls of ordinary Americans not suspected of terrorism. No-one. The FBI would need another 100 million employees to implement the policy anyway.
So when the Times says that the public's attitude is 'subtle and nuanced' they presumably mean that the President's policy is also 'subtle and nuanced', as opposed to the unsubtle simplistic answers advocated by the Times's leader columns.