Claas Relotius, CNN’s Journalist Of The Year Fired For Pedaling Fake News For Years

Claas Relotius, CNN’s Journalist Of The Year Fired For Pedaling Fake News For Years

Claas Relotius, CNN’s Journalist Of The Year Fired For Pedaling Fake News For Years

CNN has thrown a continual hissy fit for the last two years because they’ve been labeled ‘Fake News’ by Trump and many others. Sadly for them, the ‘Fake News’ label is for realz. You see, their 2014 Journalist of the Year, Claas Relotius, was just fired after it was discovered that he had been pedaling fake news for YEARS. 

Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, falsified his articles on a grand scale and even invented characters, deceiving both readers and his colleagues. This has been uncovered as a result of tips, internal research and, ultimately, a comprehensive confession by the editor himself.

The first suspicions emerged following the publication in November 2018 of the article “Jaeger’s Border” about an American vigilante group that patrols the border between Mexico and the United States.

Juan Moreno, who reported the story together with Relotius for DER SPIEGEL, grew distrustful of his colleague. Moreno also reported his concerns to DER SPIEGEL. He didn’t relent, and he took advantage of a trip to the U.S. for reporting on another story to gather incriminating information about Relotius — and also in order to take steps to protect himself, given that his byline had also appeared on the article.

Wow. That’s epically bad. Moreno isn’t the only one who called out Relotius for his lies.

It seems that Claas had gone to Fergus Falls to try and figure out why rural small town America had voted for that horrendous Trump guy over Hillary. Michele and Jake write that they were glad that he was going to spend several weeks in town and had hoped that since he was an award-winning journalist that he’s be able to gain a deeper understanding of how political differences can be set aside in order to make a small town function as it should.

7,300 words later in his article titled “Where they pray for Trump on Sundays,” they discovered how bad it could be. Relotius willfully got 99% of everything about Fergus Falls, Minnesota wrong. Michele and Jake write here about the top 11 items (yes there were many more). Here’s a sampling:

  • No, Fergus Falls is not in a forest and it’s welcome sign is very bland
  • City Administrator Andrew Bremseth doesn’t carry a gun, isn’t a virgin, and has been to the ocean multiple times, and is definitely NOT a Patriots fan
  • No, American Sniper has not been on a continual loop at the movie theatre since 2015.
  • A coal plant employee doesn’t exist except in Claas’ imagination.
  • You can’t see the power plant from the Viking cafe
  • Lies about the library, high school security, Super Bowl watching, and more

According to Relotius, there are immigration issues at Don Pablo’s.

“Maria Rodriguez, a mother and local restaurant owner from Mexico, who came to the USA years ago, also saw Trump as a savior.”

Except that it was all a lie.

One of the most exploitative aspects of Relotius’ story was his depiction of the employees at Don Pablo’s, a much-beloved Mexican restaurant in the heart of downtown. Relotius weaves together the story of Maria, restaurateur turned Trump supporter whose treatment for kidney disease becomes increasingly expensive under Obamacare, and that of her 15-year old son Israel, who faces prejudice at the hands of his Fergus Falls classmates. It’s riveting stuff, but, as is par for the course, an utter lie.

Israel is actually Pablo, at sophomore at college. Maria doesn’t own the cafe, her sister-in-law Theresa does. Maria also doesn’t have kidney disease and in fact, Claas never actually TALKED with either Pablo, Maria, or Theresa.

What is Der Spiegel going to do about these 60+ stories that were fabricated? Leave them online with a disclaimer and eventually issue a report on their findings that likely no one will read. Has CNN as a whole reported on this? Not really. But Trump! Eleventy! is all over their airwaves.

There was a part of me that hoped the fraudulent CNN journalist exposed was either Don Lemon or Jim Acosta, but sadly that wasn’t the case.

Der Spiegel, Relotius, and CNN should issue a very public apology to the citizens of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Will they? I doubt it.

Feature Photo: Gert Krautbauer/EPA File, modified and cropped

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