It’s been described as Europe’s largest journalism scandal in years. The most well-known reporter for Der Spiegel, the continent’s most popular news magazine, has been found out.  He’s populating his articles with made up facts, characters, and quotes for years.

Notably, he made up facts when he described a rural American town’s Trump supporting citizens.  But he messed with the wrong town when he thought he could lie about Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Claas Relotius, an award-winning journalist, co-authored a piece about a pro-Trump militia.  But his co-author raised some alarms over the way that Relotius mischaracterized the people they had met.  He had described some of these militia members as hunting down immigrants along Arizona’s Mexican border.

Der Spiegel’s “world class” fact-checking department employs 70 fact-checkers and might be the largest in the world.  But the Minnesotans this reporter interviewed were never contacted to verify the story.

That’s a fail.

Consequently, the magazine announced it would look into all of his past articles and announce how many errors or outright lies they include.  And it’s not looking good.  So far 14 out of nearly 60 articles include fabrications.  Relotius has since resigned from the magazine.

The Wall Street Journal has more:

Stefan Niggemeier, an independent media blogger in Berlin and a former Spiegel journalist, said some of the articles at issue appeared to confirm certain German stereotypes about Trump voters, asking “was this possible because of an ideological bias?”

A spokesman for Der Spiegel said that the magazine is investigating what if any role potential bias may have played.

I can save the magazine a little time.  If this writer were a conservative, would he had felt the need to mischaracterize these people?

What other explanation could there be?


Hat Tip: The Wall Street Journal

Image Credit: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann via Flickr

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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