- December 29, 2018
CNN’s Journalist of the Year Accused of Embezzlement
It would appear that Germany’s star journalist Claas Relotius aside from faking news stories for years is now also accused of stealing money from orphans.
The former “Der Spiegel” reporter and recipient of “CNN’s Journalist of the Year” award, has been charged with embezzling money allegedly meant for Syrian orphans.
The scam involved another phony story by Relotius, fabricating a Syrian refugee boy in Turkey named Ahmed who had to bury his mother and had a sister who was forced into brutal work in a textile factory.
The article titled “Königskinder,” published in July of 2016 in Der Spiegel Magazine contains many falsehoods according to Turkish Photographer Emin Özmen.
The most glaring being that Ahmed’s mother is still very much alive and working in a furniture shop in Gaziantep, and that no sister exists.
However Relotius went a step further than simply writing phony stories, he actually set up a personal bank account asking his readers for donations in order to bury Ahmed’s mother
Relotius deception came to light after fellow journalist Juana Moreno, working on a collaborated piece discovered factual issues had been fabrications involving an American vigilante group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border titled “Hunter’s Border” in which actual events were changed. Moreno shared his concerns with the magazine, which in turn began an internal investigation.
In recent years, Der Spiegel has published just fewer than 60 articles by Claas Relotius, who has admitted that some of his work has been fabricated and distorted.
The acknowledgment forced the German magazine to issue a public statement regarding the journalist
“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.”
Relotius after confessing his willful misdeeds attempted to spin it in his favor, perhaps anticipating being criminally charged.
“I am sick and I now have to allow myself be helped. It wasn’t because of the next big thing. It was fear of failing. My pressure to not be able to fail got even bigger the more successful I became.”
However, Relotius scam in defrauding his readers was a lot more sophisticated and refined than simply asking for donations from unsuspecting readers. Relotius created an entire storyline, indicating that he perhaps meant to continue the ruse. Claiming within interviewers, he had managed to bring other children from the area to Lower Saxony where they are now living with a family.
Relotius’s anti-American bias was also on display with another fabricated article involving rural America in the small town of Fergus Falls, Wisconsin, in which he described Americans as racist & xenophobic. The entire article was initially false, which sparked the ire of Richard Grenell, the U.S. Ambassador to Germany saying; Spiegel literally fabricated stories saying people (Americans) were racist & xenophobic. They made up events, details, & lies, and no editor checked the stories.”
Adding, “One reporter was able to publish anti-American propaganda for years without an editor or fact-checker?! It’s absurd for them to pretend this is only about one reporter,” he added.
As for the magazine itself, they’re very much in line with CNN’s anti-Trump fervor and apparently creating fake news, however perhaps, more importantly, their anti-American views, and the failed doctrine of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.