New York Times executive editor admits paper wasn’t ‘rigorous enough’ in verifying Giuliani sources

The New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet admitted in a Monday interview that the liberal “newspaper of record” failed to accurately verify data provided by anonymous sources concerning an alleged briefing given to Rudy Giuliani by the FBI.

Baquet told The Washington Post, “We weren’t rigorous enough,” when describing why corrections had to be made to false reporting that Giuliani received an FBI briefing warning him that he was the target of a Russian disinformation campaign. 

The report, which was originally published Thursday, was retracted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC News on Saturday. 

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“I think we all tend to drop our guard when we get beat and are trying to catch up,” Baquet said while blaming the egregious error on reporters scrambling to match The Washington Post’s reporting, who were the first to break the inaccurate story. 

“We need to grill sources more to make sure we understand exactly what they’re confirming. We’ve all discussed it, corrected it, and we need to do better. Dealing with anonymous sources in law enforcement and intelligence is always hard,” he continued. 

The three major news outlets faced intense criticism following the retractions, as well as questions over why the information from the anonymous source was not more firmly vetted. 

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The Washington Post originally reported the source as “several current and former U.S. officials” and “people familiar with the matter,” but none of the outlets revealed the original source of the information following the revelations of false information. 

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In an attempt to explain how the three major news outlets got the story so wrong, The Washington Post placed blame firmly on what, they claim, appeared to be “competitive pressures and a lack of a response from Giuliani and his representatives on deadline,” and that those things together “helped push the stories in the wrong direction.”

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