‘CNN Journalist of the Year’ Fired for Faking News Stories
German weekly Der Spiegel: “We apologize to all American citizens who have been insulted and denigrated by these reports.”
German weekly Der Spiegel has fired an award-winning journalist for faking news stories for years, the publication said Wednesday. “Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, falsified his articles on a grand scale and even invented characters, deceiving both readers and his colleagues,” Der Spiegel disclosed.
Claas Relotius, who was named ‘CNN Journalist of the Year’ in 2014, “made up stories and invented protagonists” including a March 2017 story portraying Trump supporters as being racist and backward. The reporter faked characters, quotes, and places to push a false narrative, Der Spiegel wrote.
The journalist admitted to “partial fabrications in at least 14 of nearly 60 articles” he wrote for the weekly, media reports say. His now-defunct stories include fabricated interviews with a Guantanamo Bay prisoner, the 99-year-old anti-Nazi resistance fighter Traute Lafrenz, and a group of ‘Syrian orphans’.
German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported how a fake story about Trump voters in Fergus Falls, Minnesota finally led to the journalist’s downfall:
Germany’s weekly news magazine Der Spiegel revealed on Wednesday that one of its star reporters had for years falsified stories “on a grand scale.”
Less than three weeks ago, Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer at Der Spiegel, won the German Reporter Award 2018 in the category “best reportage” for a story about a young Syrian boy.
After the fraud came to light, following an in-depth internal investigation, the journalist admitted to cheating and resigned last week.
According to Der Spiegel, Relotius’ actions came to light when he collaborated on a story at the US-Mexican border with another journalist — Juan Moreno — who both recognized and called out his deception.
The German reporter was outed by two locals, Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn, who wanted to push back against the falsified report tarnishing the image of their small town. They published a lengthy post on the online publishing platform Medium, detailing multiple fabrications and factual inaccuracies published by Der Spiegel in its March 2017 article.
On Friday, Der Spiegel finally admitted wrong-doing and apologized to the residents of Fergus Falls, MN:
DER SPIEGEL did not check the facts as carefully as dictated by its statutes. Editors and fact-checkers were too reliant on the supposed trustworthiness of the reporter. The magazine’s internal fact-checking guidelines, according to which descriptions of places and landscapes only require limited verification, were applied too loosely.
But the initial review we have now conducted also shows that even if the whole story had been fact-checked according to the magazine’s existing guidelines and all obvious mistakes and inaccuracies removed, large parts of the text could still have been fiction. DER SPIEGEL can only apologize to the residents of Fergus Falls. We are sorry.
German tabloid Bild described the fall from grace of Germany’s much-celebrated reporter as the “biggest scandal of the German media industry.”
Der Spiegel recalled the trialblazing career of its star reporter who just recently received the 2018 German Reporter Prize for the “best feature story of the year”:
His “masterful works of feature writing, transformed him into one of the most successful journalists in Germany in recent years. It earned Relotius the German Reporter Prize on four different occasions, the Peter Scholl Latour Prize and the Konrad-Duden, the Kindernothilfe and the Catholic and Coburger media awards. He was named CNN “Journalist of the Year,” he was honored with the Reemtsma Liberty Award, the European Press Prize and he even landed on the Forbes magazine list of the “30 under 30 – Europe: Media.”
CNN, which gave two journalism awards to Relotius, tried to put as much distance between itself and the disgraced reporter, saying, “Relotius was not associated with CNN, he never worked for the company and never had anything published on CNN platforms.” The network hurriedly summoned a meeting of the 2014 awards jury and stripped him of both awards.
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell called for an independent inquiry into the scandal given the magazine’s hostile attitude towards the United States.
Ambassador Grenell found the revelations “troubling to the US Embassy, particularly because several of these fake stories focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people.”
. @DerSPIEGEL says they don’t have any anti-American bias. But the facts tell a different story. Below are only a few examples. @sefi99 #spiegelgate pic.twitter.com/zf5uraPoqD
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 21, 2018
Like most of the establishment media in Europe, Der Spiegel has been adversarial in its coverage of the U.S. President Donald Trump, with the magazine’s February 2017 cover showing him beheading the Statue of Liberty. Klaus Brinkbaeumer, magazine editor-in-chief, defended the illustration saying: “On our cover the American president beheads the symbol which has welcomed migrants and refugees to the United States since 1886, and with democracy and freedom.”
“We stand by that cover. It’s tough, but we believe that one has to be tough against Trump,” magazine’s deputy chief editor, Susanne Beyer, told CNN last month.
Der Spiegel‘s deputy foreign editor, Mathieu von Rohr, explained the magazine’s continued obsession with the U.S. President: “It’s been a 24/7 news cycle regarding Trump. He is dominating Twitter, he is dominating the news. And he has, of course, dominated our Spiegel Online news website.”
Following the latest revelations, the magazine struck a conciliatory tone. “We apologize to all American citizens who have been insulted and denigrated by these reports. We are very sorry. That should never have happened,” Der Spiegel’s Dirk Kurbjuweit said.
The mainstream media is now busy portraying Relotius as a ‘lone wolf’ and mentally disturbed. “I am sick and I need to get help,” media reports quoted him saying. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that he gave his media bosses and liberal readers exactly what they were clamoring for. The accolades and awards showered on him for these fabrications are a testament to the mainstream media’s desperate urge to see its deep-seated prejudices validated.
[Cover image via YouTube]
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“Too good to check”.
This hack had blatantly falsified previous stories and been called out on his bullshit before.
They all try to be like the NY Slimes:
The New York Times history of false reporting:
German weekly Der Spiegel has fired an award-winning journalist for faking news stories for years, the publication said Wednesday.
Has CNN hired him, yet?
Class action defamation/libel against Claas Rolaids and Der Spiegel from the citizens of Fergus Falls, MN would be sweet. 🙂
Class defamation suits are not possible, at least in the USA. I don’t know about Germany.
I wonder what really made them finally give up on this fraud. It’s not like Der Spiegel was in the dark all this time. The story written with Juan Moreno—Jaegers Grenze, or Hunter’s Border, ostensibly exposing vigilantes on the Mexican border—was published more than a year ago.
What really convinced Der Spiegel was the videos of the so-called militia men that Moreno went out of his way to film. He even paid the men to show their ID on camera.
That proved without a diubt that CNN’s hero was lying.
They only gave it up because they got caught.
I read the long Der Spiegel apology. Wow. It is a fascinating. eye-opening essay into the world if Fake News, in which do-called reporters are not only allowed but motivated to produce phony stories.
The best part of the story: it wasn­’t Der Spiegel themselves who exposed the fraud, they actually believed and defended him at first. It was the Latino guy who worked with the fake news journo and went out of his way to collect evidence to prove the dude was a fraud.
So are they getting rid of all fake news czars?
Are they closing down CNN?
The rest of them alphabet liar agencies?
Sorry, but I had to ask.
The Leftist media just keeps handing Trump WINS. The sad thing is that they don’t need to make anything up. Trump is generous with his crazy-a$$ comments and actions. Just report his daily gifts on Twitter. You don’t need to make anything up.
This was Trump’s tactic during the Republican primary. Whenever an opponent stooped to his level, they were done. This “journalist” stooped to Trump’s level and is paying for it now.
I chased down one kerffluffel after another about DJT’s alleged vocal sins, and ultimately concluded that he is more gently spoken than most of the Democratic Party at the national level, as well as far more honest.
Further, far from being sexist or racist, he is a civil rights icon. He’s been putting his money where his mouth is, for decades. As a businessman, he has filed suit to allow Jews and blacks to be members of his private golf clubs, and hired people of great talent where he found them, including blacks, women, Jews, etc.
He knows his American and World history from during his lifetime, and has educated himself about prior world events.
He has a sense of humor, and it is bent. I really find it hard to hold that against him.
Tyrant Obama The Liar and Lying Crooked Hillary stooped way lower than Trump years before Trump ran for President.
Where is your evidence Trump “stooped” at all in any way similar to the likes of odumbo or klinton?
It’s almost predictable. Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer prize for her story called ‘Jimmy’s World’ in 1980. It was a heart-wrenching tale about an eight-year-old heroin addict in Washington D.C. It was also a complete fabrication. Cooke was fired for her lies.
In 2006, author Greg Mortenson released a book entitled ‘Three Cups of Tea’ in hopes of raising money for his charity called ‘Central Asia Institute’ (CAI). Its purpose was to build schools for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
After a CBS ’60 Minutes’ investigation in 2011 proved the book to be little more than half-truths & fabulism, the Montana AG (in Mortenson’s home state) investigated Mortenson and Central Asia Charity for improper use of money raised from book sales.
In November 2011, Mortenson’s co-author, David Oliver Relin, killed himself. By 2012, the Montana AG ordered Mortenson to repay CAI $1 million out of pocket.
Mortenson confessed to NBC’s Tom Brokaw during a 2014 interview what was already in evidence – Three Cups of Tea was a fraud.
Then there’s disgraced NY Times reporter Jayson Blair who resigned from that former newspaper after it was discovered he engaged in numerous cases of plagiarism and fabrication in his stories.
Or how about the Rolling Stone scandal about the fake Duke LaCross gang-rape of ‘Jackie?’ That ‘too good to check’ pack of lies cost Rolling Stone an estimated $10 million, and ruined the lives of many of the accused young men, plus a very stupid D.A.
And just earlier this month, Fuzzy Slippers at this very website detailed the lie about ‘Trump Jr.’s 2017 Testimony Conflicts With Cohen’s Account Of Russian Talks’ burped up by NPR during the first to be wrong races.
Now, we have CNN’s Journalist of the Year exposed and disgraced as a lying leftist POS of the previous 5 years.
Fake news? Fake news? The lesson is well-known by all except by many in the journalism business: If you don’t want to be called fake news, stop being known for persistently publishing fake news!
Yes, the news is fake, but it’s simply leftist propaganda.
It’s a feature, not a bug, that Fake News-Leftist Propaganda linkage.
I bought that book “Three Cups of Tea”
It actually inspired me to want to help Muslim women and children, especially the girls.
I was so sad to hear it was half/truths
Regardless, Islam is not a religion, it’s a brutal demonic ideology
Yet, so many women run around America thrilled to wear their hijabs… to think of what their grandmothers did to protest their being forced to be wrapped up like burritos. They were beaten, imprisoned , and murdered…
Relotius simply wrote what was par for the course. He wanted to find bigotry and ignorance and he did – if only in his mind. Still he was smart enough to know what would sell and further endear him to those on the left.
Funny thing is after reading the piece on Medium it reminded me of every small town I’ve ever lived in (Monroe, Adrian, Clinton, Tecumseh (MI). Fairbanks, North Pole and Dawson (AK). Richmond, Union Junction and Berea (KY)). Americans are more complex and insightful then we’re ever given credit for. Sure we have our died in the wool racist but the great majority of us would be comfortable in almost any setting. Me personally, living over an hour away from work in a medium size city (278,508 – 4th largest city in OH and 70th in the nation) is a result of safety (lower crime rate), education (higher performing schools) and economics (lower taxes and insurance). Even my education and work appear to be contradictions to many and I’ve learned not to engage in social discussions as I work mostly with far-left leaning SJW’s as a Social Worker for the Juvenile Court.
All of this reminds me that the place I’d love most to live is Cicilly (AK)! That great place where folks got along regardless of differences and they embraced art, music, education, tradition and local customs. Then I open my eyes and realize – I already live there! Maybe Mr. Relotius should’ve listened to Alan Jackson when he sang, “they ain’t as backward as they used to be”. Instead, he threw the red meat to his leftist friends – damn the consequences. Sad.