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Man Who Won CNN's 'Journalist of the Year' Award Faked Sources, Interviews 'on a Grand Scale'

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There’s fake news, and then there’s fake news.

The term gets thrown around a lot, usually to refer to an article or headline that leaves out a key fact or skews reality to push a narrative. One award-winning journalist, however, just took bad reporting to a whole new level by blatantly inventing reporting out of thin air.

On Wednesday, reporter and editor Claas Relotius admitted that he fabricated a large number of his stories. People he claimed to have talked to were frequently made up, and quotes from those non-existent “sources” were used to pad articles.

Relotius was no small-time reporter. He was named “Journalist of the Year” by CNN in 2014, although he didn’t work for that outlet. He was a frequent contributor to Der Spiegel, a German investigative magazine that is well known globally.

These were not minor fibs, either. Details of the widespread fabrications suggest that the reporter adored by mainstream media elites was a compulsive liar who invented grandiose narratives out of nowhere.

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“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,” reported Fox News.

“I am sick and I need to get help,” Relotius said when his vast web of lies was uncovered. The German news magazine he frequently wrote for described the situation as “a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel.”

Some of the disgraced journalist’s most widely-read work openly mocked conservative America and Donald Trump supporters — almost all of it based on fake reporting.



Do you think CNN should revoke his award?

“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,” Fox reported.

Der Spiegel and many English-language news sources confirmed that Relotius purposely lied about the small town in order to make Americans seem racist and backward. Almost none of it was true.

“Relotius reported false information about several of the town’s residents — or completely made up people — including that the city administrator did not want a female president and was a virgin, that a restaurant waitress with kidney disease was struggling to afford treatment under Obamacare, and that local students visiting New York visited Trump Tower instead of the Statue of Liberty,” explained The Washington Examiner.

That Trump-bashing, anti-heartland hit piece lied about almost everything in order to make the town’s residents look bad.

Besides broad facts like the town’s population, “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 explained.

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Even liberals who live in the Minnesota town pushed back against the fabricated story.

“There are only two things those writers seem to have concluded or are able to pitch to their editors — we are either backwards, living in the past and have our heads up our asses, or we’re like dumb, endearing animals that just need a little attention in order to keep us from eating the rest of the world alive,” residents Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn angrily wrote in an eye-opening piece after debunking the false reporting.

Liberal elitists, including those in Europe and at CNN, ate it up and showered adoration on Relotius — never mind that it was all malarkey.

What is perhaps more disturbing is that this is part of a larger trend. Brian Williams, once adored by the left as a paragon of journalism, was revealed to be a repeat liar and fabricator of stories not long ago. But his fall from grace was just the tip of the iceberg.

“The Relotius case resembles past instances where journalists have been caught fabricating stories,” Fox News explained.

“Those accused previously have included Stephen Glass, who was fired from the New Republic magazine, Jayson Blair, fired from the New York Times, and Janet Cooke, a Washington Post reporter whose story about a child addicted to heroin won a Pulitzer Prize before it was revealed to be a fabrication,” the outlet continued.

It has become far too easy for the establishment to get away with dishonesty, all while they are applauded by other elitists — and almost always by the left. Meanwhile, gatekeepers are working overtime to silence and discredit alternative publications which dare to report stories in fresh ways.

If there’s any question why the American people are increasingly wary of the mainstream media, this is exactly why. Journalism is dead. Long live new journalism.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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