Category Archive 'Der Spiegel'

21 Dec 2018

Fergus Falls 1 — Elite International Journalist 0

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Rod Dreher was mightly amused at the American small town’s revenge.

In 2017, the German magazine Spiegel sent a reporter to Fergus Falls, Minn., to write a story about Deep Trumplandia.

Unfortunately for Spiegel, Fergus Falls residents Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn read the story (which is no longer available, for reasons you’ll discover below), and wrote a stunning exposé on all the things he got wrong. “Got wrong” is too benign a characterization. The reporter, Claas Relotius, just made things up. Excerpts from the exposé:

1. The Sleeping Dragon

    “After three and a half hours, the bus bends from the highway to a narrow, sloping street, rolling towards a dark forest that looks like dragons live in it. At the entrance, just before the station, there is a sign with the American stars and stripes banner, which reads: “Welcome to Fergus Falls, home of damn good folks.”

    Fergus Falls is located on the prairie — which means our landscape mostly consists of tall grass and lakes. While we have trees, we do not have any distinct forests in our city limits, and definitely not in the route that the bus Relotius would have taken from the Twin Cities. And sadly, our welcome sign is quite mundane in its greeting.


Spiegel fired the reporter and began investigating just how much stuff he had simply made up.

28 Jul 2008

Nicht so Schnell, Herr Spörl

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William Kristol mocks Spiegel’s premature coronation of Barack Obama, and dies a fine job.

Life is full of disappointments.

Early Friday, I went to the Real Clear Politics Web site, as I do every morning, for my fix of political news and commentary. I perked up when I saw the third entry on the list of that day’s notable articles — “No. 44 Has Spoken.”

“Hank Aaron has spoken? Wow,” I thought as I clicked through.

Nope. The article was by Gerhard Spörl, the chief editor of Der Spiegel’s foreign desk. “No. 44” didn’t refer to the uniform number of the man some of us still consider the true all-time major-league home-run champion. It referred to the next president of the United States. The article’s premise was that an Obama victory is a foregone conclusion: “Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin’s Siegessäule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States.”

So it wasn’t Hank Aaron speaking. It was just another journalist fawning over Obama. That was a disappointment. But disappointment was quickly replaced by the healthier emotion of annoyance.

“Nicht so schnell, Herr Spörl,” I thought, drawing on what Obama would consider my embarrassingly limited German. Not so fast.

Don’t the American people get a chance to weigh in on this in November? Maybe they’ll decide it’s more important to have John McCain as commander in chief than Barack Obama as orator in chief. Maybe they’ll further suspect that 200,000 Germans can’t be right.

I was cheered up by this notion.

Read the whole thing.

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