In a stunning public humiliation the New York Times has been forced to admit that most of its famous podcast Caliphate is untrue. It has now officially retracted the podcast.
Caliphate host Rukmini Callimachi has also been “reassigned” to work in a different part of the Times.
The podcast centered around a young Canadian man using the name Abu Huzayfah who became a radical Islamist and traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS. He said his job was executing people, but he eventually changed his mind about wanting to be in the terrorist group and managed to escape.
So the New York Times finally retracted #Caliphate.
It's not enough. The problem goes much deeper than one lying source, one tainted podcast, one horrible reporter.
We need to take a hard look at ourselves. All of us. Not those of us who produce the news; we who consume it too.
— Annia Ciezadlo (@annia) December 18, 2020
Lies, Lies, Lies
The star of Caliphate Abu Huzayfah (real name: Shehroze Chaudhry) has been charged with committing a terrorism hoax. In other words, he appears to have lied about the entire thing, even finding photos from Syria in international media and pretending they were of him in Syria.
NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet admitted that his paper was too hooked on the idea of having a perfect source and “when we saw evidence that he was making some of it up, we didn’t listen hard enough.”
Caliphate which ran in 2018 was a major hit for the NYT and got them many new subscribers and raised Callimachi’s profile as a journalist.
Canadians became angry and alarmed that they had an admitted ISIS terrorist living in their midst who was not in jail, with conservative politicians demanding liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do more to crack down.
“Canadians deserve more answers from their government,” said opposition Member of Canadian Parliament Candice Bergen. “Why is it not doing something about this despicable animal walking around the country?”
Now it turns out Chaudhry was a fake.
And the show – which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2019 despite Chaudhry already telling them on record that he’d been lying – will also be withdrawn from consideration for this year’s Pulitzer.
Dirty, Fake News
Callimachi herself has been dogged by numerous accusations and questions throughout her career. The family of American journalist James Foley who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014 says Callimachi bullied, lied to and threatened them in order to get an interview only two days after his death.
She has also been accused of unethical practices throughout her career where she’s been a finalist for the Pulitzer four times and worked covering various regions including Africa for the Associated Press.
Callimachi has called the retraction of the show “humbling” and “gutting” but she hasn’t commented or shown real shame about what she did. She is just the kind of person who would fit in well at a dirty, fake news organization like the failing New York Times, in other words.
NEW: The family of slain U.S. hostage James Foley say they were bullied—and lied to—by star correspondent Rukmini Callimachi. https://t.co/zyY2JNGnqi
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) October 1, 2020
Questions about the show which had already come up in 2019 were intensified when Canada charged Chaudhry with terrorism hoaxing. NYT boss Baquet admits his paper didn’t really know whether Chaudhry had been to Syria, joined ISIS or ever murdered on their behalf, but basically wanted to believe it so they ignored the holes in his story.
Most people who fail badly at their job end up getting fired. Even many journalists have definitely been let go from their jobs for far smaller mistakes than what Callimachi did. Yet the NYT is only “reassigning” her for dragging their already ruined reputation even further through the mud?
It’s a shocking example that shows just how little the progressive news media thinks of their readers and listeners. Callimachi has been accused of years of bad behavior, but she fits their idea of what a reporter should be so they give her a slap on the wrist for basing a podcast on lies. The New York Times clearly doesn’t really care that they lied to subscribers for years about one of their main productions: they just care that they got caught.