The New York Times has retracted the core of its hit 2018 podcast series Caliphate after an internal review found the paper failed to heed red flags indicating that the man it relied upon for its narrative about the allure of terrorism could not be trusted to tell the truth, NPR reported.
The New York Times has added a disclaimer to the portion of its website the Caliphate podcast can be listened to. It includes the following:
In 2018, The Times released a 12-part narrative podcast series called “Caliphate” on the Islamic State terrorist group and its operations. While parts of the series involved a broad examination of the group’s tactics and influence, multiple episodes were driven primarily by the confessional tale of a Canadian man of Pakistani origin who called himself Abu Huzayfah and claimed to have been a member of the Islamic State who had taken part in killings in Syria.
During the course of reporting the series, The Times discovered significant falsehoods and other discrepancies in Huzayfah’s story. The Times took a number of steps, including seeking confirmation of details from intelligence officials in the United States, to find independent evidence of Huzayfah’s story. The decision was made to proceed with the project but to include an episode, Chapter 6, devoted to exploring major discrepancies and highlighting the fact-checking process that sought to verify key elements of its narrative…
…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…
…In the absence of firmer evidence, “Caliphate” should have been substantially revised to exclude material related to Mr. Chaudhry. The podcast as a whole should not have been produced with Mr. Chaudhry as a central narrative character.
NPR reported that Canadian authorities accused Shehroze Chaudhry of lying about being an executioner for ISIS. He currently faces criminal charges in a federal court in Ontario of perpetrating a terrorism hoax.