Top lefty journo busted for ‘falsifying articles on a grand scale’, CNN once dubbed him ‘Journalist of the Year’

A top journalist for Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine has resigned after admitting that he made up interviews “on a grand scale.”

The reporter, Claas Relotius, was named CNN Journalist of the Year in 2014.

(Image: Twitter)

The 33-year-old staff writer resigned following an internal investigation by the magazine, according to Der Spiegel which reported that it had published about 60 of Relotius’ articles before the writer “admitted that, in several instances, he either invented stories or distorted facts.”

“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 publication revealed.

Suspicions were raised by a colleague working with Relotius a story along the US-Mexican border who questioned some of the details in the journalist’s reporting on the article which was published in November. Juan Moreno, who “grew distrustful” of his colleague, tracked down and questioned two of the alleged sources Relotius had quoted in his article only to find they had never met him.

Another investigation uncovered falsified reports about seeing a hand-painted sign that read “Mexicans keep out,” alleged prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and even a phone call with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s parents.

“I am sick and I need to get help,” he reportedly told the magazine when finally admitting his actions.

Relotius, who first wrote as a freelancer for the magazine before being employed as an editor for the past year and a half, admitted to Der Spiegel that at least 14 of his articles were partially fabricated, though the publication wondered, “Is he to be believed? Could that figure actually be considerably higher?”

Some of the articles under scrutiny have been nominated or have won journalism awards.

“Claas Relotius committed his deception intentionally, methodically and with criminal intent,” Der Spiegel noted, explaining how the writer never met the persons he quoted.

“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,” the publication stated, noting the scandal “marks a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel.”

The online articles by Relotius will remain up until “the allegations have been sufficiently clarified,” Der Spiegel noted.

Though Relotius had never been hired by CNN, the fact that he won CNN’s Journalist of the Year award spurred many reactions on Twitter, including one from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who called “Karma!”

Frieda Powers

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