No you’re the fake news

SpiegelOnline a few days ago:

It has now become clear that Claas Relotius, 33 years old, one of DER SPIEGEL’s best writers, winner of multiple awards and a journalistic idol of his generation, is neither a reporter nor a journalist. Rather, he produces beautifully narrated fiction. Truth and lies are mixed together in his articles and some, at least according to him, were even cleanly reported and free of fabrication. Others, he admits, were embellished with fudged quotes and other made-up facts. Still others were entirely fabricated. During his confession on Thursday, Relotius said, verbatim: “It wasn’t about the next big thing. It was the fear of failure.” And: “The pressure not to fail grew as I became more successful.”

That crude mishmash, which looked like 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.” One wonders how he could endure the praise at the award ceremonies without running out of the hall in shame.

Well, there are people like that. I constantly wonder how Trump isn’t curled into a ball on the floor in shame, but I also know it’s foolish to keep wondering. It’s who he is.

So now the Trump ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is making hay with the story.

Since the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel disclosed a fabrication scandal that has sent tremors through the news world at a tense time for journalists globally, Grenell has taken aim at the company.

He has tweeted about Der Spiegel, often harshly, and retweeted the criticism leveled by others, more than a dozen times in the past week.

“Spiegel hasn’t answered as to how this fraud happened,” he wrote, for example, on Dec. 23, apparently dissatisfied with the company’s somewhat extensive efforts to publicize the wrongdoings of the reporter, Claas Relotius. “It’s absurd for them to pretend this is only about one reporter.”

Yes, that’s definitely how ambassadors to friendly countries are supposed to behave.

Grenell wrote an incendiary letter to Der Spiegel, which it published on its site, in which he asked the company to arrange for an outside organization to conduct a thorough investigation of what went wrong.

“These fake news stories largely focused on U.S. policies and certain segments of the American people,” Grenell wrote. “While Spiegel’s anti-American narratives have expanded over the last years, the anti-American bias at the magazine has exploded since the election of President Trump.”

Surprise surprise. Trump is a crook, a liar, a sadist, a bully, and an empty sack of wind, so a country that puts him at the top of government has something badly wrong with it. It’s not “anti-American bias” to pay a lot of attention to Trump.

Trump, who has made undermining otherwise credible news reporting a central effort of his presidency, has often claimed, without evidence, that reporters make up their sources.

Against this backdrop, the Relotius affair has predictably fueled a long-standing right-wing campaign to criticize media whose reporting is not friendly to Trump.

Shawn Steel, the committeeman of the Republican National Committee in California, tweeted about it on Christmas, calling it the “German Fake News” that was guilty of “hating” Trump and America.

Home of Fox News and Breitbart.

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