Relotius Case: Fraudulent Reporting in Spiegel

121 posts in this topic

19 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

When I was in university, I dated a journalism major.  Nice lass,... wondering now whatever happened to her.  Beside the point.  We were, I think, in our first year - me a business major.  One of the things she told me was something along the phrase of 'a reporter should never become the story' or some such.

Seems Claas missed that day in uni. 

 

I studied journalism and worked in The Biz for a short while before I looked into my crystal ball and realized 'wait... eff this'. I did enjoy it, sorta, but the low-ish pay, long stressful hours (night job 5 days a week), zero job security, everyone hates you... and (a separate issue, but...) being a white male, I was told specifically more than once that they liked me but I didn't fit the profile for hiring right now. I don't expect any sympathy on that last point, but it really happened and made breaking into the biz hard. Especially if you came from poorer background and couldn't afford buying a car to move to the sticks for a starter job. Who you knew (our instructors were all in The Biz themselves) and how much butt you kissed also clearly played a role. Journalism is not an industry which coddles the meek, and perhaps I was too meek at the time.

 

Anyway, I still have lots of friends in the industry back home. 

 

But making stuff up is crossing the line. Something we'd be expelled for in journalism school. Indeed, two students were that I know of. For me and my friends/colleagues, you learned to accept a lower grade on a less-rounded story because your contacts didn't answer back in time or you just couldn't root out the info/source you 'needed' (yes, journalists typically have an idea of the shape a story will take before starting it, though you learn to let it flow too). The "easy" solution of making something up never once crossed my mind, not even in the most stressful moments. It was THE taboo.

 

I have little sympathy for the guy. He got a position which people backstab and step over their grannies for. To abuse it like he did and even worse to tarnish an already struggling institution deserves no sympathy. Not saying he should be drawn and quartered or anything, nor drink the hemlock, and I certainly hope he does some soul-searching, but I am happy that a rat was caught. 

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On 20/12/2018, 11:37:27, AlexTr said:

How is this different from every reporter on every show every day on FOX News? The only honest guy they have is Shep Smith and they under-promote him.

Fox News is a political entertainment channel catering to a segment of the population that want to hear what it says, hence they tune it*. It happens to have the name 'News' in its title. 

 

*Frankly, the majority of American media are the same. The 'Internetization' of media consumption hasn't improved this...

 

On 20/12/2018, 17:15:00, BayrischDude said:

it's become a business model - twist the information just enough to where it's relatively correct, but also outrageous enough to keep it's customers returning.  'Honest reporting' left the house years ago. Now it's 'what sells' and it's been that way for quite some time. 

 

The media has ALWAYS been a business model. The main difference to yesteryear was that people were more likely to be exposed to different types of media, AND that media was not as pervasive as it is today. An informed citizen should read widely and compare accordingly. 

 

Television news is almost always garbage. Newspapers and some magazines still do good work. Radio (or 'podcasts' as the kids call them these days) are still important and I'm heartened by their popularity. 

 

Internet news either re-hash what newspapers do, or have even less standards. The internet is the great equalizer. ANYONE can write what they want on a blog, but on the other hand... ANYONE can write what they want on a blog.

 

On 20/12/2018, 11:26:39, swimmer said:

I'm astounded he's getting such a sympathetic write up.  Or perhaps I should not be because he's of the group that are excluded from decent behaviour. 

 

Although I am not entirely sure which 'his group' you are referring to, I think this may just be your Britishness speaking. There is an awful lot of trashy yellow press in Britain, so that the profession is not highly regarded... It's not like that everywhere though. 

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He was an entertainer a very good one, with a job to sell clicks will the advertisers get a refund? His story's where no more lacking in facts than any other newspapers

and perhaps he used Google rather than some ex stripper well past her prime. Which one is telling the truth. I agree with the stripper by the way based on my political opinion. Is that correct? In Australia we had a MP meet a girl on sugar daddies. Again any truth he is a total T? Yea sure 100% true mate.   

He can work perhaps for the Daily Express in the UK who write so much rubbish its as if they are taking the Micky being polite.

Even my local rag ran a story last week of a car crash that destroyed a BMW that had hit a road sign. 

Failing to mention it was maybe the tree behind the small white post that did most of the damage.

As Adrian Lincoln said on his death bed if you want the truth read Wikipedia. 

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6 hours ago, alderhill said:

There is an awful lot of trashy yellow press in Britain, so that the profession is not highly regarded...

 

That so true - when I'm on a rare visit to the UK I avoid the newspapers etc.

 

it wasn't always the case - when I first visited Germany (in the mid 1960s) we were appalled at the rubbish printed there (they were regularly taking the British monarchy apart) whilst nothing of the sort was in the UK press.  However, the later "learnt" over the years to the extent that they have overtaken the DE media in their stooping to ever lower levels.

 

Years ago there was outrage at the role of the media during the Gladbeck Hostage Crisis where the media seriously interferred with police operations.

I'm certain that some aspects within the media would act in the same way in the future - anything for sensation.

 

 

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12 hours ago, alderhill said:

The media has ALWAYS been a business model. The main difference to yesteryear was that people were more likely to be exposed to different types of media, AND that media was not as pervasive as it is today. An informed citizen should read widely and compare accordingly. 

 

You might wish to check this out:

 

https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/society-is-made-of-narrative-realizing-this-is-awakening-from-the-matrix-787c7e2539ae

 

And this docu from genius Adam Curtis:

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Metall said:

Link, perchance?

 

here

 

It may be in one of the links above. I'm not sure.

I wanted to point out that is is being talked about a lot over here in the U.S.

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The thing is his lies are so obvious that the only reason he got away with it is his stories fit in with what the Spiegel editors wanted to believe.  They were sure everyone in America is a right wing bigot and he delivered the goods.  Most of the falsehoods could’ve been detected easily with a quick phone call or even a simple Google search.

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I tend to agree with Buzznut3000, but I have to also point out that US reporting on all things German are pretty skewed as well.  Not so much with respect to facts in most cases (though american reporting is not immune to false facts), but definitely when it comes to the spin put on an article it's a bit questionable and very often lacking any understanding of German culture and perspective at all, and it's filtered through the cynical lens of what people think "Germans" are like.  I've stopped reading coverage of German news in they NY Times for this very reason.  It's just maddening and obnoxious, but I hate to say I think it's something reporters (and people) from all over the globe are prone to.

 

No, I am not suggesting this particular case is natural or within the bounds of normal bias - the crap he fully and clearly just pulled out of his ass is completely nuts.  A key figure in his story about a small town in Minnesota is a NE Patriots fan?!  AS IF!!!!

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3 hours ago, lisa13 said:

A key figure in his story about a small town in Minnesota is a NE Patriots fan?!  AS IF!!!!

 

I snorted out loud at that.

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14 hours ago, lisa13 said:

I tend to agree with Buzznut3000, but I have to also point out that US reporting on all things German are pretty skewed as well.  Not so much with respect to facts in most cases (though american reporting is not immune to false facts), but definitely when it comes to the spin put on an article it's a bit questionable and very often lacking any understanding of German culture and perspective at all, and it's filtered through the cynical lens of what people think "Germans" are like. 

 

I have found that most Americans have a generally positive impression (punctuality, nice cars, organization, Oktoberfest) of Germans and are unaware that the bias exhibited by Relotius and the Spiegel is pretty common.    

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Why does this come as a surprise? I have found heaps of fake news stories in the English speaking MSM.

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2 hours ago, WiccaChica said:

Why does this come as a surprise? I have found heaps of fake news stories in the English speaking MSM.

 

Like what? Post a list. 

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20 hours ago, alderhill said:

 

Like what? Post a list. 

Well the first one that comes to mind is when NBC edited a 911 tape making George Zimmerman look like a racist.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/nbc-issues-apology-on-zimmerman-tape-screw-up/2012/04/03/gIQA8m5jtS_blog.html?utm_term=.cfaa50a507f1

 

Quote

During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.

That apology addresses the “Today” show’s failure to abridge accurately the conversation between Zimmerman and the dispatcher in this high-profile case. This is how the program portrayed a segment of that conversation:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

And here is how it actually went down:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

No matter how you feel about Zimmerman, that bit of tape editing was unfair to the truth and to Zimmerman’s reputation, such as it is. Reaction on Twitter and elsewhere to my previous post on this matter, was brutal toward NBC, with many comments suggesting the worst about the network’s motivations, reliability and so on.

Does the statement adequately address those concerns? On the good front, it acknowledges the mistake and apologizes to viewers for the bad editing. It’s a forthright correction and spares us any excuses about the faulty portrayal. On the bad front, the statement is skimpy on the details on just how the mistake unfolded. Nor does it articulate an apology directly to George Zimmerman, the “viewer” who is most aggrieved by the screw-up. In light of all that’s happened, Zimmerman may be a tough person for a news network to apologize to, but that’s just the point: Apologies are hard.

 

Another example of NBC's dishonest reporting was when they dressed people up Muslims and employed them to go to a NASCAR event to provoke an anti-Muslim bias. It never aired because they didn't get the dirt that they were looking for.

 

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/apr/6/20060406-124609-2450r/

 

CNN also edited tapes to make a BLM protester sound like she called for peace while she really meant to take violence to the suburbs.

 

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/16/cnn-edits-out-milwaukee-victims-sister-sherelle-sm/

 

More on CNN corruption and how they censored news from Iraq.


https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2003/apr/15/20030415-090729-2947r/

 

ABC slandered a meat producer and were consequently sued for $1.9 billion.

 

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pink-slime-20170628-story.html

 

If you want to talk about bias, check this out. ABC's chief news anchor donated money to the Clinton foundation without disclosing it to his employer while claiming it was an "honest mistake". Pretty convenient considering he was moderating a presidential primary debate.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/05/14/george-stephanopoulos-acknowledges-giving-money-to-clinton-foundation/

 

Just to name a few.

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Narrative is very important to humans and so control of messaging through the media is very important. As a default perspective, one should think of the media as being a servant of power, not as a servant of the people. A handful of wealthy people control all the mass media in the US, which is particularly dangerous because it has the largest military, which has been trying to exert "full-spectrum dominance" since WWII (there are *still* US garrisons in Germany). So false narratives and other lies are common and are used to manufacture the consent of the governed. Many people are familiar with Herman & Chomsky's _Manufacturing Consent_ -- there's a great summary video narrated by Amy Goodman (who is herself corrupted/"limited hangout") that can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34LGPIXvU5M

 

Carl Bernstein and others have reported (see below the link to Bernstein's Rolling Stone article) on the infiltration of popular media in the US by the CIA. Search the internet on this topic and you'll discover the situation has only gotten worse since the 70s. Historically, "left" media is more-often targeted than right because the views of the "right" are already usually aligned with Establishment goals/perspectives. Anyway, it is no coincidence that you rarely hear anything about the CIA in the press. They're invisible. They try to be covert and they're usually good at it. But know that the CIA is very, very bad and corrupts everything they touch. They have no scruples whatsoever. Think mafia. If you join the club, you can't leave. Read books about the CIA if you can. They're the tip of the US empire's spear.

 

http://carlbernstein.com/magazine_cia_and_media.php 

rs-101258-1977_bernstein.jpg.8d6099d2d7e

 

----------

Re: Germany, conversations about corrupt mass media journalism with former FAZ.net reporter, Udo Ulfkotte:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGqi-k213eE (English)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm_hWenGJKg&t= (German)

 

Udo Ulfkotte's book -- Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) at Amazon.de (German only, translation likely faced a "democracy-style book-burning" (i.e. suppression) in the Anglosphere):

https://www.amazon.de/Gekaufte-Journalisten-Udo-Ulfkotte/dp/3864451434

 

----------

In addition to the Der Spiegel reporter, another recent topic of press corruption is the UK's "Integrity Initiative". We're living in the times of Orwell's _1984_ -- Ministry of Truth, crimethink, doublespeak, etc.

 

----------

I'll end with a favorite quote from Malcolm X:

 

“If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

 

Very true.

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@WiccaChica

 

The Washington Times are openly biased neo-cons. They have Birther conspiracy and climate change denial under their belts, so I'd take whatever they publish with a pinch of salt. WaPo is a more balanced, but I still wouldn't put in on the Top 10 Quality Media in America List (not that I have such a list at hand). Media discourse in general in the US is highly politicized and seems to be based on antagonism and points-scoring. Well, the genie is out of that bottle and has been for a few decades now... 

 

Nonetheless, I would not call these "fake news", largely because it's now a slur used to discredit any source you disagree with. The term was coined to refer to eastern European "entrepreneurs" taking advantage of Facebook's automated advertising, who purposely wrote wild clickbait simply for the revenue it would (and did) generate. It's telling that the likes of Putin, Erdogan and Assad (and ahem - Trump) very quickly jumped on the term to discredit anything Western in general. They didn't invent the word, but they quickly realized what a useful tool had fallen in their laps. Not so much to thumb their noses at us Westerners, but to "remind" their repressed citizens that democracy is messy and a sham, that a free press and an uncensored internet is all an elaborate hoax that need not be bothered with. Russia spends a lot of money on this. That might sound tinfoil hat woo-woo, but keep in mind that they are far more successful at this in Eastern Europe and their own post-soviet satellite state neighbours than in the West (so far). Calling these "fake news" is implying they purposely intended to deceive with statements they didn't believe in, rather than just being sloppy or being up their own arses.


Keep in mind that there is no mandatory training or professional/association standards journalists must follow. A journalism degree helps open doors and instills certain standards, but it's no guarantee of a job. Quality is in-house and only as good as the editors care to be. These days, traditional media have to compete with literally anyone who has access to the internet. Pewdiepie (fer crissakes!), a manboy who shot to fame narrating people plying videogames, has more subscribers and more internet gravitas than any traditional media. 

 

I can tell you from personal experience that copyediting and fact-checking resources have been cut, cut and cut again. Fact-checking barely exists anymore, and copyediting/layout is outsourced to India, and you can guess how well or detailed they are. As with any institution, poor choices or lack of oversight can happen.

 

Quote

If you want to talk about bias, check this out. ABC's chief news anchor donated money to the Clinton foundation without disclosing it to his employer while claiming it was an "honest mistake". Pretty convenient considering he was moderating a presidential primary debate.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/05/14/george-stephanopoulos-acknowledges-giving-money-to-clinton-foundation/

Yea, sucks, but journalists are not judges, they are allowed to have political leanings. TV presidential debates are part of the problem, and a total dog and pony show. It's like complaining that the blackjack dealer at a mafia-owned casino was bought and paid for.

 

As for the libel case, that's another issue. I'd say the pink slime manufacturers had better lawyers. :) After all, their "lean finely textured beef" is FDA approved for human consumption as a meat filler, so it is easy enough for them to claim it's safe and that news reports about them cannot say otherwise. It's "real beef" insofar as it comes from a cow and it won't kill you to eat it in one sitting (after a lifetime, well...). Even if it is chemically treated fleshy scraps hosed off a carcass.

 

Personally, I think personal and corporate donations for politicians and political parties should be capped at, say, 100 dollars/euros/whatever per year, period, no loopholes, no backdoors, gate slam, finito, zip, done. Strict spending limits should also be in place, along with clear and open accounting.

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... I wonder if really no one else knew about this guy for so long at  SPIEGEL... 

Ideally, there should be more people who should be questioned.

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On 12/24/2018, 5:05:31, alderhill said:

 

@WiccaChica

 

 I can tell you from personal experience that copyediting and fact-checking resources have been cut, cut and cut again. Fact-checking barely exists anymore, and copyediting/layout is outsourced to India, and you can guess how well or detailed they are. As with any institution, poor choices or lack of oversight can happen.

 

I wonder how a person who putting a layout together can solve for false reporting... !!!
But yeah, good you find some unwarranted scapegoats :)

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12 hours ago, kapil354 said:

I wonder how a person who putting a layout together can solve for false reporting... !!!
But yeah, good you find some unwarranted scapegoats :)

 

If you know how newspapers (or publishing media in general) work, you know that the layout elves are the last line before actually publishing/releasing to the public. When everything is in-house and more or less local, it's not a big deal to call up a reporter/desk and inform them for a quick rewrite. Of course, everything should be printable by then anyway... nonetheless, when the various stages of production are separated by continents, well, the problem is obvious, non? Naturally, if the material is garbage to begin with it doesn't make much of a difference, and I am sure you know that wasn't my point.

 

Webmasters/IT are usually at least in the same country as the intended market and can make fairly quick changes per request, but it's not necessarily their purview.

 

It's cheaper to pay a room full of Indians who have no connections or strong incentive to care about minutiae... and quality has thus sunk IME. They can't catch things that are obvious to locals, and the expected turnaround at the prices they are paid can't be expected to be as high quality as before. Simply how it is.

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