New York Times says Canadian man in ‘Caliphate’ podcast concocted stories
As a result of an investigation into her work, the Times attached editor’s notes correcting some of the details in two other stories under her byline. In a 2014 story about a Syrian journalist who claimed he saw American hostages being held in a former factory in Syria, the Times notes that the source had given inconsistent stories to others. The Times also called into question the documents that were the basis for a 2019 story that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been hidden at the base of a rival group because he had paid protection money.
The brother of murdered American journalist James Foley had in the past called into question details of a Callimachi story about her brother, but the Times backed her work.
Baquet noted the difficulty of covering terrorism and faulted himself and top deputies for not paying closer attention to “Caliphate.” In contrast, he said he looked at so many versions of the newspaper’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s finances that “I could almost do Trump’s taxes at this point.”
“I didn’t personally pay enough attention to this one,” he said.
The episode raises questions about whether the Times applies the same journalistic rigour to stories done by its audio unit as it does for print pieces. The Times moved more aggressively into audio about four years ago and produces “The Daily,” one of the most successful podcasts on the market.
In an interview with NPR, Baquet said editors accustomed to print pieces were deferential to an ambitious audio team presenting a compelling narrative yarn.
That angered Madhulika Sikka, a former top NPR executive who was also audio executive producer at The Washington Post before getting into publishing. She tweeted that if audio products operated under different rules than the rest of the newsroom, the problem is with the newsroom, not the platform.
“If this had been a print story, would there have been different rules applied?” Sikka said in an interview. “I don’t know. It was the implication in Dean Baquet’s quote that I found objectionable.”
The Peabody Awards jurors are discussing what to do about its honour, executive director Jeffrey Jones said Friday.