fake news, this time out of Germany

Der Spiegel’s first-class faker

Apparently made-up stories about rednecks in rural America were too delicious for the culturally-superior editors and fact-checkers to pass up.

The real moral of the story, not just for journalists but for all of us, is in the final two paragraphs:

So you have a Recretational Outrage google alert set for youself. a bit boring.

why is this related to your elections?

Moving from Elections to MPSIMS.


I thought it was related to politics because the subject of the lies was political:

Bone apparently disagreed.

Ha Ha! The reputation of Americans is so bad that professional journalists believed this story that made us look like enormous buffoons! I guess the joke is on…them?

Der Spiegel is “a magazine with a renowned fact-checking department”?

They are the ones that gave too much of a voice to anti-science views against climate change. They seem to have gotten better on that regard, but this latest scandal shows that that renown was not much deserved.

I wish there was more fake news these days. The absolute avalanche of horrible news coming from DC is getting very tiring. Too bad it’s real.

To get the full effect, you need to read the fact-checking by people who actually live in Fergus Falls.

My favorite is the virginal city administrator who has never seen the ocean. The article linked to has a picture of him. With his live-in girlfriend of several years. By the ocean. :smiley:


At least they have the stones to admit their fault and do an investigation of the error. I fear the day coming when media reports will either 1) double down on their lies and deny fault or 2) embrace the lies and be like, LIES YEAH!

Wow. Absolutely shameless.

It’s baffling that he thought he would get away with it. I mean 20 years ago, maybe no one in the town would ever see this but nowadays? He didn’t think some people might have searched for the article a foreign journalist spent 3 weeks in their town researching?

Of all the places to pick, why did he pick rural Minnesota? That’s probably the worst choice he could make. Rural Minnesotans tend to be fairly moderate, and there are even liberals there (Like my extended family.)

Psssst … don’t tell anyone because it’s a secret, but there are liberals sprinkled all over rural America (and conservatives in urban areas).

Herr Fib-meister mentions something that might explain it. He sort of said that there was only one person in town who read national magazines. So he might have figured that the rubes would never know what he was saying about them. And the non-rubes are assumed to hate their Trump-loving, American Sniper-watching, Mexican-hating compatriots, so they wouldn’t object.

He apparently got away with it before. Heck, he got awards for it. “Ya gotta dance with the guy what brung ya” - if it worked in the past, why change a winning game?

Besides, these are Americans. It’s not like they can read German.

His only mistake was not to include a spoiler in his article -Please, please - nobody tell them!


This does not appear to be a case of a media outlet with an agenda to portray Americans in a certain way for political reasons. Like the cases of Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass, it seems like a story of an insecure and lazy journalist who realized that his work would not be checked, started spinning stories, and got out of control. Unless additional evidence comes out, I don’t see it as representative of the current epidemic of fake news, just another in a long history of journalistic frauds.

“This time”? Makes it sound like it is part of a continuing story instead of an isolated incident. What other incidents of “fake news” do you think this is part of?

This being MPSIMS, it’s perhaps a little redundant to say that this thread is pointless, but it’s also kinda stupid. What is it that, having read this brilliantly informative anecdote, we are supposed to conclude? That mainstream news is all fake, and should be ignored, especially when it’s critical of Trump and the racist rednecks who support him? That we should get all our information from Fox News? That there’s no such thing as ignorant rural rednecks, or that they’re not overwhelmingly Trump supporters?

Because, in fact, they are. I suggest you read Hillbilly Elegy, about the Trump-supporting culture aptly described by the title, written by someone who lived in and grew up in (and eventually out of) that culture and still knows it intimately, and offers a critical yet compassionate account of it.

The irony is that the author, J D Vance, is a conservative who has been accused of offering an excessively sympathetic portrait of rural rednecks and their grievances, but the picture he paints is nevertheless very much consistent with the redneck misfits we’ve all seen at Trump rallies, drawn from Vance’s own family experiences in the rust belt of Middletown Ohio and Appalachian Kentucky. Trump got elected. He’s on display every single day, either enacting some asinine order, upsetting domestic policies or international diplomacy, obstructing justice, or otherwise embarrassing the nation. This is news, and it’s very real.

Ain’t these the guys who bought those phony Hitler diaries?

Perhaps OP is carefully noting any “fake news!” item that he encounters, and making public declarations for informative purposes. I’m surprised he had to go all the way to Germany. Probably wasn’t aware of Fox, Alex Jones, etc.

Did you read the article I cited? The second paragraph says this: