Two More Spiegel Employees Out After Fake News Scandal Expands

Saturday, December 29, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 12/29/2018

Two senior editors at Germany’s Der Spiegel have been fired amid the country’s largest newsroom scandal in decades.

Ullrich Fichtner, and editor-in-chief, and Matthias Geyer, a chief editor, have been “suspended until the (magazine’s) internal commission has completed its investigation into the affair,” according to editor-in-chief Steffen Klusmann, according to AFP, citing a copy of an internal letter obtained on Friday.

“Superstar” journalist Claas Relotius, a 33-year-old reporter for Der Spiegel and several other publications, falsified at least 14 articles according to Klusmann. Relotius abruptly resigned amid the December 19 announcement by Der Spiegel.

“The Relotius affair raises the question as to whether” Ullrich and Fichtner “can continue in their jobs after such a disaster,” said Klusmann. “The first discovered it for Der Spiegel, the second hired him and was until recently his superior.”

“We could now hold to account anyone who has dealt with Relotius, and that could continue up to the top of the hierarchy,” Klusmann added.

Relotius, meanwhile, has “gone underground,” according to the Guardian, returning several awards for his work while being stripped of others, such as CNN’s two Journalist of the Year awards. A German publication also stripped the journalist of a similar accolade.

At least 14 articles by Relotius for Der Spiegel were falsified, according to Steffen Klusmann, its editor-in-chief. They include an award-winning piece about a Syrian boy called Mouwiya who believed his anti-government graffiti had triggered the civil war. Relotius alleged he had interviewed the boy via WhatsApp.

The magazine – a prestigious weekly – is investigating if the interview took place and whether the boy exists. Relotius won his fourth German reporter prize this month with a story headlined “Child’s Play”.

Klusmann admitted the publication still had no idea how many articles were affected. On Thursday it was revealed that parts of an interview with a 95-year-old Nazi resistance fighter in the US were fabricated. -The Guardian

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