I have a new column up at The Federalist today, “CNN Journalism Award Winner Exposed As Massive Fraud.” This was done quickly at the end of last night after I noted the CNN award angle during a conversation about the scandal. CNN was hardly alone in honoring this serial liar.
What got left out for space? Some nuance, as is often the case. For example, I note that these stories by Claas Relotius “occasionally further a larger anti-American narrative,” including an invented phone interview of Colin Kaepernick’s parents. Sloppy readers might assume I’m also calling the former-NFL QB anti-American, which I am not — though one could have a lengthy discussion on that question. Regular readers may recall that I have previously written about the very real problems of police brutality and police shootings in Chicago. But the question of whether those problems should be a deal-breaker to standing during the National Anthem is obviously controversial, particularly when the protest comes from a fan of Fidel Castro. What I’m really suggesting is that a journalist fabricating a story to promote that critique of America by Kaepernick — as part of a series of fake stories portraying America as a seething pit of nativism and racism — seems to be pursuing an anti-American agenda. And since the faker is German, that label does not carry with it a traitorous connotation, merely an ugly, stupid and ungrateful one.
Also, it struck me more after submitting the piece that it’s interesting how this fraud got caught by a fellow journalist — as has happened in other cases. (My column links to an earlier piece of mine recounting numerous cases of journalistic fraud.) In the future, I would probably emphasize how much of the problem here is with editors who become remarkably gullible when their socio-political biases are being confirmed.
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