The New York Times On Friday, released the findings of its internal investigation into star journalist Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting on ISIS and extremism in the Middle East. The newspaper acknowledged that its Caliphate the podcast gave “too much credit to false or exaggerated accounts” by one of its main subjects, Shehroze Chaudhry, who has since been accused of concocting a terrorist hoax.
The newspaper deployed its editor, Dean Baquet, to explain the glaring errors of another podcast, this time a “special episode” of Daily. Baquet said: “When The New York Times does deep, big and ambitious journalism in any format, we put it to scrutiny at the upper levels of the newsroom … We didn’t in this case.
The temperature previously admitted, however, that senior editors raised concerns about “Caliphate” before it aired and Michael Slackman, the newspaper’s deputy editor held a meeting to review the scripts.
Baquet said Callimachi would remain at the newspaper but would be reassigned. “I think it’s difficult to keep covering terrorism after what happened with this story. But I think she’s a great journalist, ”he said.
Callimachi came under scrutiny after the main topic of his award-winning Peabody podcast, titled Caliphate, was accused in Canada earlier this year of inventing a terrorist hoax in which he claimed to have joined ISIS in Syria and been part of its brutal police force. Law enforcement officials said that in reality Shehroze Chaudhry, better known by his alias Abu Huzayfah, lied about his exploits to the media and in fact never traveled to Syria.
His arrest immediately prompted questions from the Times, who through Callimachi’s reporting had relied heavily on Chaudhry’s allegedly fabricated story.
the Times threw two probes into his correspondent named Pulitzer. One such investigation, led by award-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti, was tasked with specifically examining claims made by Canadian officials. The other, led by Investigations Editor Dean Murphy, has been tasked more broadly with reviewing Callimachi’s body of work and asking whether the newspaper has made any mistakes in its previous reports.
In an editor’s note published Friday, the Times said his investigations had “found a history of misrepresentation on the part of Mr. Chaudhry and no corroboration that he had committed the atrocities he described in the Caliphate Podcast. As a result, the Times concluded that the episodes of Caliphate which presented Mr. Chaudhry’s assertions did not meet our standards of accuracy.
The note continued: “From the start, Caliphate should have had the regular participation of an editor experienced in the subject … In addition, the Times should have insisted more on verifying Mr. Chaudhry’s claims before deciding to put so much emphasis on one person’s story.
The report concludes an embarrassing saga for the newspaper, in which it has been forced to reckon with the very public rebuke of the reporting from one of its biggest stars. Points of sale including The Daily Beast, Washington post, and the Times he himself all reported that staff members had previously expressed concerns about Callimachi’s reporting and sourcing – which were dismissed at the time by some editors and senior executives.
Some of Callimachi’s former sources have also expressed dissatisfaction with her reporting, claiming that she misrepresented the information. “She left our family with a lot of pain because of her unprofessionalism and her lies,” said Michael Foley, who came into contact with Callimachi after her brother James Foley was captured and then beheaded by activists. the IS.
In recent months, Times staff members waited for the conclusion of the two investigations knowing the findings could have major implications for the newsroom. Journalists and editors pressed the paper on the results, which Baquet assured staff would soon be revealed. Investigators disseminated the information near the vest, asking Times staff interviewed not to share any information about the investigation with colleagues at the newspaper in an attempt to keep the information siled as the investigation progressed.
One of Callimachi’s largest internal funders, Times Editor-in-chief, Joseph Kahn, has been seen as one of the possible successors to current editor-in-chief Dean Baquet. But Kahn came under scrutiny for his handling of complaints about Callimachi’s work, which some staff members hoped would be addressed in the internal report. The Daily Beast reported earlier this year that Kahn received complaints about Callimachi’s work from Foley’s family in 2015.
“I would also like to draw your attention to the extreme unprofessional nature and threats that Rukmini leveled at a grieving family just days after Jim’s horrific and public execution. Twice over the phone, from August 22, Rukmini threatened to publish a detailed account of torture if I did not comply with his request for an interview, ”Michael Foley said in a letter to Kahn in 2015.
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