NYT admits its "Caliphate" podcast fell for ISIS hoaxer's BS

The New York Times on Friday released the findings of its internal investigation into star reporter Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting on ISIS and extremism in the Middle East. The newspaper acknowledged that its Caliphate podcast gave “too much credence to the false or exaggerated accounts” of one of its main subjects, Shehroze Chaudhry, who has since been charged with concocting a terrorist hoax.

The paper of record rolled out its executive editor, Dean Baquet, to explain the glaring errors in another podcast, this time a “special episode,” of The Daily. Baquet said: “When The New York Times does deep, big, ambitious journalism in any format, we put it to a tremendous amount of scrutiny at the upper levels of the newsroom… We did not do that in this case.”…

In an editor’s note posted Friday, the Times said its investigations had “found a history of misrepresentations by Mr. Chaudhry and no corroboration that he committed the atrocities he described in the Caliphate podcast. As a result, the Times has concluded that the episodes of Caliphate that presented Mr. Chaudhry’s claims did not meet our standards for accuracy.”

The note went on: “From the outset, Caliphate should have had the regular participation of an editor experienced in the subject matter… In addition, the Times should have pressed harder to verify Mr. Chaudhry’s claims before deciding to place so much emphasis on one individual’s account.”