Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Editorial: NYT promoted Rukmini Callimachi's racist reporting

THE NEW YORK TIMES and their star reporters always tend to implode -- especially if the 'reporter' is a terrorism expert.  Years ago, C.I. warned you Rukmini Callimachi was the paper's new Judith Miller.  She was and she is and, as detailed in Monday's "Iraq snapshot," she has imploded.  

In the aftermath what's happening the west, in the US, is people rushing to defend her.  There is no defense.  As noted in Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot," your sympathies should be with the Arabs -- her coverage didn't just lie and promote racism (against Arabs), it also prevented real stories from being covered.  


She was outrageous and the only thing more outrages are the people attempting to pretend that no one was harmed by what she 'reported' and how she 'reported.'


Journalist Sana Saeed outlines the issues in the following thread:




I'm glad the NYT finally acknowledged and issued a "correction" for the abysmal ethical and journalistic mess that was Rukmini Callimachi's 'Caliphate' series. It is not, however, enough. The series hasn't been "retracted" and Callimachi has just been reassigned. a thread.



Caliphate, like all journalism around "terrorism" and "Muslim violence" or "radicalization", was a project that relied entirely on unproven stories, disregard for usual ethical considerations in reporting & accepted the GWOT framework uncritically.


The issues with Callimachi's work didn't just emerge in the last few months, they've been raised since well before Caliphate was a thing - by journalists including , and countless academics who focus on Muslim-majority societies.



But within the industry and among its audience, Caliphate was celebrated and Callimachi was heralded as an incredible reporter who told compelling, harrowing stories about the mysterious amorphous shadow of 'Islamist violence' that has latched onto everyone's fears.




The project and Callimachi's work, however, were simply a well-produced practice of fear-mongering rooted in racist tropes and journalistic approaches to Muslim/Muslim-adjacent subjects. Even if you take out the fraudulent story of Sherhoze Chaudhry.


There are unacknowledged and deeply rooted tiers of ethical considerations in how stories about groups of people, who are subjects of past and/or present state violence, are told.


The way non-state violence - or "terrorism" when it's done by particular shades of people - is reported on is decontextualized from the administration & complicity of state and imperial violence that purposely or otherwise creates the material conditions for this violence.



And so at the core of this reporting, of Callimachi's work and project is a mass dehumanization. Her simply being reassigned vs facing real accountability is an example of how rampant and acceptable dangerous and bad journalism around Muslims/Arabs is within the industry.



Yes, this work is dangerous because it has an impact on domestic and foreign policies and support, among the public, for those policies. Work like Callimachi's ends up functioning as state propaganda. That's it.



She doesn't even speak any of the goddamn languages of the regions she ends up covering.



It's not enough to just issue a correction to a series that has been a finalist. It's not enough for to reassign Callimachi for such egregious and racist reporting. But bc the industry accepts the premises of that reporting, there won't be accountability.



there is SO MUCH unlearning to be done in the journalism industry and among audiences when it comes to covering Islam, Muslims, "Muslim violence", "terrorism". I'm not very optimistic it'll happen, because it serves foreign & domestic policy agendas too well as it is.



And none of this is really all that new, when you look at what coverage of Muslim-majority societies, in particular, has looked like since 1979 especially.



and do not get me started on how so many young men, with mental health issues (diagnosed or undiagnosed) are taken advantage of by these reporters just as the FBI and CSIS, in Canada, do.



And in case you’re tagging her, she did awhile ago what she always did and does to Muslim/Arab journalists, academics specialized in the regions she covered, who critiqued her work and the lack of ethics:




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