January 31, 2021
SHARE
CANADALAND
#357 Califail
The New York Times’ wildly popular podcast Caliphate came into question after its central character, a Canadian man who claimed he’d joined ISIS and committed executions, was charged with perpetrating a terrorist hoax.
Jesse Brown
Host & Publisher
Andréa Schmidt
Managing Editor, Podcasts

A re-investigation of the podcast by The Times concluded that, according to an editor’s note attached to the podcast, “episodes of Caliphate that presented Mr. Chaudhry’s claims did not meet our standards for accuracy.”

The debacle caused Rukmini Callimachi, the reporter and voice of Caliphate, to be reassigned to a new beat. And it has resurfaced allegations of workplace misconduct by Caliphate producer Andy Mills, provoked concerns about The Daily host Michael Barbaro’s efforts to shape coverage of the fallout, and set off a wider conversation about who gets to tell stories in podcasting.

In this episode, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple discusses where Caliphate went wrong. Laila Al-Arian, executive producer of Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines, critiques the reporting biases she believes contributed to the error.  Then, podcast host Jolenta Greenberg weighs in on what this episode tells us about the rise of the podcast industry.

When asked for comment by Canadaland, The New York Times pointed us to this letter from assistant managing editor Sam Dolnick, written in response to a letter of complaint by members of the Public Radio Program Directors Association. In it, Dolnick writes: “We believe we’ve handled what was a significant journalistic lapse with accountability.”

This episode is brought to you by Dispatch Coffee, SquareSpace, and Article.

Additional music by Audio Network.

More from this series
A former police chief was arrested in Thunder Bay on April 12, 2024. But there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
April 22, 2024
Has journalism been left holding the bag for Big Media’s bad bet? 
April 15, 2024
What is behind the near complete collapse of Canada’s role in peacekeeping around the world?
April 8, 2024
The story that no one asked for, but must be told. The story of one of Canada’s most popular entertainment exports ever. An oral history of the hit show, Just For Laughs Gags.
April 1, 2024
Of all the private intelligence firms in the English-language world, there appears to be just one whose speciality is tracking activists. And it has a branch office in Calgary.
March 25, 2024
Andy Mills’ podcasting work for The New York Times won a Peabody Award and a Pulitzer Prize citation. Then he lost it all.
March 18, 2024
Twenty years of school gets you what… An unpaid internship? An e-bike to deliver ramen? And some sort of side hustle? How did we get here? Today we look at work in Canada.
March 11, 2024
If the polls are anywhere near correct Pierre Poilievre is on track to be our next Prime Minister. And he may be in that job for a long time. So today we’re going to dare to speculate: what would years of Conservative rule look like?
March 4, 2024
all podcasts arrow All Podcasts
CANADALAND