No, Really, We’re Talking about Literal ‘Fake News’
Excerpt: Quite a few noticed Relotius’s “Gorillas in the Mist”-style reporting among conservatives in the American heartland, and Richard Grenell, the pugnacious U.S. Ambassador to Germany, contends that this is a systemic problem at the publication: “Spiegel hasn’t answered as to how this fraud happened. One reporter was able to publish anti-American propaganda for years without an editor or fact-checker?! It’s absurd for them to pretend this is only about one reporter.” In the Washington Post, Charles Lane points out the hard truth that a lot of mainstream journalists prefer not to think about too much: Reporters and editors are as susceptible to motivated reasoning and confirmation bias as readers are, though we say, and believe, that professional norms and training equip us to resist distorting influences. Yet the power of stereotype remains… While many German journalists report honestly from this country, going to great lengths to travel and meet ordinary people, the gun-toting, death-penalty-seeking, racist American nonetheless remains a stock character of much superficial coverage, particularly in left-leaning outlets such as Hamburg-based Der Spiegel.