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Star reporter touted by CNN as ‘Journalist of the Year’ forced to resign for writing fake news stories, falsified stories ‘on a grand scale’

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A celebrated reporter who contributed around 60 articles to Der Spiegel, one of the leading German magazines for investigative reporting,  was fired from the weekly magazine after evidence emerged that he committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale” over a number of years. He previously worked for other publications in Europe and won awards such as CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.

“What happened is beyond what I could have ever imagined: An article titled ‘Where they pray for Trump on Sundays,’ and endless pages of an insulting, if not hilarious, excuse for journalism,” wrote Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn who investigated Relotius’ Der Spiegel article about the town. Both Anderson and Krohn went on to reveal that the article doesn’t contain any truth except for the town’s population, the average temperature, and names of the businesses or public figures. Nearly everything else, including a coal plant employee named Neil Becker, who doesn’t actually exist, or quotes from a restaurant employee, who was falsely called the owner of a restaurant and whose son was given a fictional illness, was made up. (Fox News)

Fake news. Making up news stories and narratives is what leftwing journalists do. Enemedia outlets in the USA like the New York CNN, MSNBC do this every day. Why the fuss?

The German magazine Der Spiegel revealed Wednesday that one of its top award-winning journalists fabricated many of his articles, inventing characters, sources, and their quotes “on a grand scale” for many years. Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, admitted to fabricating parts of at least 14 stories following the magazine’s internal investigation. The publication said the issue “marks a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel.” The reporter contributed around 60 articles to Der Spiegel, one of the leading German magazines for investigative reporting. He previously worked for other publications in Europe and won awards such as CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014. The fabricated articles include a phone interview with the parents of free agent NFL player Colin Kaepernick and a story about an American woman who claims to have volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates.

Relotius also drew the fury of locals in Fergus Falls, Minn., after spending three weeks in town and fabricating facts, characters and quotes from people in an effort to portray the town in a negative light.

Germany: Der Spiegel says star reporter made up material

By Frank Jordan, Associated Press•December 19, 2018:

BERLIN (AP) — An award-winning journalist who worked for Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s leading news outlets, has left the weekly magazine after evidence emerged that he committed journalistic fraud “on a grand scale” over a number of years, the publication said Wednesday.

Spiegel published a lengthy report on its website after conducting an initial internal probe of the work of Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old staff writer known for vivid investigative stories. The magazine said Relotius resigned Monday after admitting some of his articles included made-up material from interviews that never happened.

The Hamburg-based magazine said Relotius contributed almost to 60 articles published in print or online since 2011, first as a freelance writer before being hired full-time last year. The reporter previously worked for other German and Swiss publications and won numerous awards, including CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.

Spiegel said Relotius acknowledged fabricating parts of at least 14 stories, including a piece about an American woman who he said volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates, such as one in Texas at the beginning of the year.

Relotius didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

The case, which is still being investigated, “marks a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel,” the magazine said.

It said concerns about Relotius’ work first were raised in November by a fellow reporter who worked with him on a story about a border militia in Arizona and discovered that supposed interviews had never taken place.

Further fabrications by Relotius included a phone interview with the parents of American football player Colin Kaepernick, who protested police brutality by kneeling during the pre-game singing of the national anthem, Spiegel said. Another was reporting that a sign on the edge of a Minnesota town read “Mexicans Keep Out,” Spiegel said.

The magazine said Relotius told editors he the fabrications were an attempt to avoid failure and that he was aware of his deceptions.

“The management of Der Spiegel will appoint a committee of internal and external experts,” the publication said, adding that the results will be published.

The German Journalists’ Union DJU called the case “the biggest fraud scandal in journalism since the Hitler diaries” that Germany’s Stern magazine published in 1983 and were later found to be forgeries.

Spiegel’s revelations echoed past instances of journalistic fraud by reporters elsewhere, including Jayson Blair of The New York Times, Christopher Newton of The Associated Press and Janet Cooke, whose 1980 piece about a child addicted to heroin won The Washington Post writer a Pulitzer Prize before it was exposed as untrue.

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