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The New York Times “Caliphate” series, as reported by Rukmini Callimachi, was flawed from its beginnings in 2018, but a lack of transparency and conflicts of interest have overshadowed the publication’s attempt to walk back its own failed reporting.

While the publication and Callimachi focused a majority of the series on the Canadian-Pakistani Shehroze Chaudhry, who said he was a former executioner for ISIS in Syria, it was later discovered this year that Chaudhry has not “killed anyone, joined ISIS or even ever traveled to Syria” and was facing federal charges in Canada this fall for lying about it.

Once revealed, this sloppy reporting by the Times unraveled quickly. Just last week, the publication returned the notable Peabody Award and withdrew the series as a contender for the Pulitzer Prize.

“To our listeners, I apologize for what we missed and what we got wrong,” Callimachi recently wrote on Twitter.

While the New York Times acknowledged there were significant errors in its reporting of a fake Islamic terrorist, the publication has repeatedly side-stepped the opportunity to remain fully transparent and has not removed any of the episodes nor stories.

Callimachi, the lead reporter and host of “Caliphate,” was “reassigned” from her terrorism beat but stayed on at the Times.

Just last week, the “voice of the New York Times” and “The Daily” news podcast host Michael Barbaro interviewed the paper’s executive editor Dean Baquet to explain the publication’s grave mistakes. During this podcast, which afforded a correction only to listeners of the “Caliphate” podcast feed, Baquet explained that the Times had failed to investigate, fact-check, and evaluate Chaudhry’s false testimony.

“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,” he said.

Barbaro, NPR noted, made no mention of his professional and personal connections to the misreported story, however. Not only was “Caliphate” first run on Barbaro’s “The Daily,” but the Times personality also failed to disclose that he is engaged to the executive producer, Lisa Tobin.

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Instead of issuing a full audio correction for the mistakes aired on his show, Barbaro and the rest of the Times settled for a small disclaimer at the beginning of the disputed podcasts on the “Caliphate” feed only, leaving listeners of “The Daily” to search the website and other channels where the Times claimed to have promoted the disclaimers.

The Times has concluded that the episodes of Caliphate that presented Chaudhry’s claims did not meet our standards for accuracy,” Barbaro said.

Barbaro also began running a personal damage-control campaign for the series. He contested headlines from NPR and others, saying the entire “Caliphate” series was not retracted, just the parts about Chaudhry, and attempted to dissuade reporters from criticizing the Times.

As NPR noted, many other qualified Times podcast hosts could have joined or even taken over the correction campaign, preventing any close connections from creating a conflict of interest. Instead, however, “The Daily” and Barbaro continued to maintain working and reporting relationships with the “Caliphate” crew without announcing them, even allowing former “Caliphate” producer Andy Mills to guest-host the popular news podcast.

Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.



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South Carolina House passes bill that would prohibit most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected

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The South Carolina House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 79-35 to pass legislation that would prohibit most abortions. 

The bill must pass through a procedural vote in the House on Thursday prior to heading to GOP Gov. Henry McMaster who has indicated that he will sign it, according to the Associated Press. Two Republicans voted against the legislation while two Democrats voted for it. The state Senate passed the measure last month. 

The bill requires doctors to carry out an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and if a heartbeat is identified an abortion can only be performed in certain circumstances.

The legislation would not penalize a woman for obtaining an unlawful abortion, though the individual responsible for performing the abortion could face consequences.

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The outlet reported that other states have approved similar or even more stringent abortion prohibitions which could be implemented if the Supreme Court throws out the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. All of the other states’ abortion bans are currently entangled by court challenges and if the South Carolina bill is approved it will likely face litigation that prevents it from going into effect, according to the AP.

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Son of prominent conservative leader Bozell arrested in connection with Capitol siege

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Leo Brent Bozell IV, the son of conservative leader L. Brent Bozell III, is facing federal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 breech of the U.S. Capitol.

Bozell is charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to a federal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

The official affidavit includes photos and videos that appear to show Bozell inside of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Senate chambers.

At least one photo shows Bozell wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with a logo for a Christian school at which he once coached girls basketball, according to the Huffington Post.

The FBI obtained a photo of him posing with a student of a school, in Hershey, Pa.

His father founder, who founded the Media Research Center and other conservative groups, has condemned the riots, saying, “You can never countenance police being attacked. You cannot countenance our national capitol being breached like this. … I think it is absolutely wrong,” according to NewsBusters.

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Trump calls Limbaugh ‘legend,’ in first TV interview since Senate trial

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Former President Trump on Wednesday afternoon praised the career of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has died of cancer.

“He loved his country, and he loved his fans,” Trump said on the Fox News Channel. “He is a legend.”

The interview was Trump’s first since the conclusion of his Senate impeachment trial last week.

Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, announced her husband’s death earlier in the day on his radio show. He had been diagnosed about a year ago with Stage-IV lung cancer. He was 70.

The president also said he had a personal friendship with Limbaugh, who was an early supporter of his 2016 presidential bid and who, like Trump, thought the president won reelection in 2020.

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Trump also pointed out that Limbaugh was a provocateur in his views about conservative politics that often sparked backlash from liberals and other critics. 

Trump last year in his State of the Union address awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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