Since 1947 Der Spiegel, the German weekly news magazine known for its investigative journalism, has uncovered many political scandals and other groundbreaking stories. They are the gold standard in journalism in the Federal Republic of Germany, or rather were the gold standard.
Der Spiegel is a powerful entity. They’ve established themselves as the moral authority of investigative journalism since compiling several journalistic ‘scoops’ in the ’80s, and they are a publishing giant, covering print and electronic media. Their print edition has a circulation of 840,000 monthly.
They employ 80 fact checkers to be sure that their stories are accurate, factual and on point, and evidently, just as in America, facts can be lies and lies can be facts. It depends on what the “media outlet” says they are on any given day or for any given personality.
So how was CNN’s “Journalist of the Year”, Class Relotius, able to write over 60 articles that contained distorted or totally falsified facts, invented characters, faked interviews, and/or were completely fabricated stories? With 80 employees checking facts, they should have been aware that something was amiss with his work shouldn’t they?
Note: Since this article appeared, Der Spiegel editors Matthias Geyer and Ullrich Fichtner have been suspended due to the investigation, as they were the editors of record for the false stories manufactured by Relotius.
Or did they just ignore it because he sold copy and always had a great story he was working on? What’s a little journalistic integrity matter when there is money and fame involved?
He continually had the most astounding, groundbreaking, bombshell reports,
Der Spiegel apologized to their readers on Wednesday for publishing invented stories and stories with distorted facts by one of their reporters, Claas Relotius, recent winner of CNN’s “Journalist of the Year” award.
Der Spiegel’s management team released the following statement:
In recent years, DER SPIEGEL published just under 60 articles by
Claas Relotius committed his deception intentionally, methodically and with criminal intent. For example, he included individuals in his stories who he had never met or spoken to, telling their stories or quoting them. Instead, he would reveal, he based the depictions on other media or video recordings. By doing so, he created composite characters of people who actually did exist but whose stories Relotius had fabricated. He also made up dialogue and quotes.
And even after that statement, there was no mention of releasing or firing Relotius from Der Spiegel, but Claas himself took the high road for once and resigned. After Claas resigned, he lamented that “I am sick and I now have to allow myself to be helped.” So that clears that up. Claas Relotius is the victim. Not Der Spiegel, not his readers/viewers, not the public.
But Claas Relotius IS the victim.