You might want to sit down for this one …

It seems that the New York Times is once again in the awkward position of having to explain a gaping hole in of their proudest achievements in recent history:

They wanted to believe … and isn’t that enough?

More from NPR:

Caliphate relayed the tale about the radicalization of a young Canadian who went to Syria, joined the Islamic State and became an executioner for the extremist group before escaping its hold.

Canadian authorities this fall accused the man, Shehroze Chaudhry, of lying about those activities. He currently faces criminal charges in a federal court in Ontario of perpetrating a terrorism hoax.

“We fell in love with the fact that we had gotten a member of ISIS who would describe his life in the caliphate and would describe his crimes,” New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet tells NPR in an interview on Thursday. “I think we were so in love with it that when when we saw evidence that maybe he was a fabulist, when we saw evidence that he was making some of it up, we didn’t listen hard enough.”

They didn’t listen hard enough? Or they heard it loud and clear and decided to ignore it anyway?

Rukmini Callimachi’s got a lot to be proud of:

Don’t worry. We’re sure there’s still lots more where that came from.

Michael Barbaro, host of the New York Times’ podcast The Daily, also spoke to Dean Baquet about the issue:

Here are the first three paragraphs of the “Editor’s note” (yes, there are more than three paragraphs):

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 for 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 the narrative.

In September — two and a half years after the podcast was released — the Canadian police arrested Huzayfah, whose real name is Shehroze Chaudhry, and charged him with perpetrating a terrorist hoax. Canadian officials say they believe that Mr. Chaudhry’s account of supposed terrorist activity is completely fabricated. The hoax charge led The Times to investigate what Canadian officials had discovered, and to re-examine Mr. Chaudhry’s account and the earlier efforts to determine its validity. This new examination found a history of misrepresentations by Mr. Chaudhry and no corroboration that he committed the atrocities he described in the “Caliphate” podcast.

Let Barbaro be clear: this is not a retraction.

Oh no?

Shorter Michael Barbaro:


We get that Barbaro has a vested interest in defending the New York Times’ honor, but dude. Come on.

Guess we’ll have to wait until 2023 to find out. Or not.

We won’t be holding our breath, just to be safe.

Case in point:


Yeah, props to Dean Baquet. He did a great job here!

At least Erik Wemple is raising his eyebrows a little bit. But other opinions aren’t worth hearing if they downplay or excuse the New York Times’ massive editorial blunder.

Good analogy.

Meanwhile, an exit idea:

It’s perfect!

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional text and tweets.