HANOVER, Germany — Der Spiegel has introduced that it’ll press expenses towards a former star reporter accused of systemically faking interviews and articles, in what is likely to be the largest journalism scandal in Germany since one other newsmagazine revealed faux Hitler diaries 35 years in the past.
The announcement got here as america ambassador waded into the scandal by accusing the newsmagazine of anti-American bias and calling for an unbiased audit.
Richard Grenell, the American ambassador to Germany, wrote a letter to Der Spiegel on Friday that appeared to attempt to tie the fraud dedicated by the reporter, Claas Relotius, 33, to the newsmagazine’s editorial strategies.
A number of the most notable articles that Mr. Relotius admitted faking are set in america, equivalent to profiles of a spiritual activist who travels the nation to witness executions, anti-immigrant militiamen in Arizona and a city of Trump supporters in Minnesota.
“These faux information tales largely deal with U.S. insurance policies and sure segments of the American folks,” Mr. Grenell wrote within the letter, which was published by the newsmagazine.
“We have previously voiced our concerns directly to Spiegel editors and journalists regarding bias in reporting on U.S. policy and the U.S. Administration,” the ambassador wrote.
Since taking his post in Berlin in May, Mr. Grenell has been an outspoken advocate for the Trump administration. Since the letter become public, Mr. Grenell has been active on Twitter, repeating the charge of anti-American bias to his 114,000 followers on the positioning.
The American diplomat’s tone was much less concerning the transgressions of 1 reporter and extra concerning the perceived bias by a newsroom anticipating a sure kind of article to be filed.
Within the letter, Mr. Grenell instructed that a lot of the crucial protection of america might be averted if German reporters would examine in with the American Embassy earlier than submitting their articles.
“Sadly, it’s routine apply for Spiegel reporters to not even name us earlier than writing,” Mr. Grenell wrote.
The editors of Der Spiegel, the nation’s most necessary newsmagazine, who’ve been coping with the fallout of the affair and the reputational injury to its vaunted fact-checking division, have apologized to People who felt insulted concerning the former reporter’s fraud. However they pushed again on the ambassador’s criticism.
“Once we criticize the American president, this doesn’t quantity to anti-American bias — it’s criticism of the insurance policies of the person presently in workplace within the White Home,” Dirk Kurbjuweit, the deputy editor in chief, wrote in an open letter to the ambassador.
“Anti-Americanism is deeply alien to me and I’m completely conscious of what Germany has the U.S. to thank for: a complete lot.”
The journal’s admission that articles by the previous reporter had been partly or wholly fabricated for years got here at a second when public belief in journalism is already low. Far-right activists in Germany reveled within the information.
On Friday, Der Spiegel devoted its weekly version to the scandal.
On Saturday evening, the journal introduced in one of many many articles documenting Mr. Relotius’s misdeeds that the editors can be submitting a felony grievance towards him after it emerged that he had arrange a non-public donation drive ostensibly to assist two Syrian orphans that he had profiled.
In line with Der Spiegel, solely one of many two orphans exists, and the help cash went to the reporter’s personal checking account.
Mr. Relotius has not been accessible for remark for the reason that scandal broke, however based on the newsmagazine’s editors, final week he defined the fraud this manner: “It wasn’t concerning the subsequent large factor. It was the concern of failure.” He additionally mentioned, “The strain to not fail grew as I grew to become extra profitable.”
Maybe essentially the most egregious case of fraud tied to the award-winning reporter concerned a bit on Fergus Falls, Minn., which Mr. Relotius became a caricature of a pro-Trump, anti-immigrant city in his 7,300-word report.
Within the title of transparency, Der Spiegel has not taken down Mr. Relotius’s previous work, however is as an alternative re-reporting lots of his articles to confirm or debunk them. An editor’s word is connected to the unique experiences.
On Sunday, the journal revealed a brand new dispatch from Fergus Falls, by which a reporter confirms what the city’s residents have mentioned: A lot of the unique report was fiction.
Equally, Der Spiegel discovered that elements of a extensively learn interview with a survivor of one in every of Nazi Germany’s best-known resistance teams, who now lives in South Carolina, had been faux.
The newsmagazine was pressured to name Traute Lafrenz, 99, and ask her to learn Mr. Relotius’s authentic interview. She discovered phrases attributed to her that she by no means uttered.
Mr. Relotius’s fakery was revealed after the journal printed a narrative about an Arizona militia group and a caravan of migrants hoping to cross the Mexico-United States border.
The co-author of the piece, Juan Moreno, discovered that the militiamen Mr. Relotius had profiled had by no means met him.