All errors should be reported to

Friday, December 21, 2018

There is no forest in Fergus Falls

The Trumpenfreude List consists of people who foolishly feuded with The Donald and wound up crashing into the sea like Icarus.

But that is nothing compared to the self-immolation of journalism. An entire trade took on President Trump, and has now watched in horror as its credibility melts away like the wax that held together the wings of Icarus.

Our ratings are high, they respond. We have online subscribers, they respond. We have a record number of web hits, they respond.

"HuffPost Lays Off 39, Including Site’s Only Pulitzer Winner."

"Layoffs come to the East Bay Times after Pulitzer win."

"More layoffs expected for Pulitzer Prize winner The Denver Post."

"A West Virginia Newspaper Won Journalism’s Top Award. Now It’s Filed for Bankruptcy."

Much of this is poor management. The people who ran that West Virginia newspaper couldn't lead a den of Cub Scouts to a candy store. They wound up with nothing. They lost an enterprise once valued at more than $100 million, and received zero when the bankruptcy court sold it off.

And nothing is all that is left of Der Spiegel's credibility after ace reporter Claas Relotius took on Donald Trump and his supporters, and lost.

Relotius visited Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to write about Trump supporters. It was a disaster. Liberals Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn live there and wrote a piece that pointed out the numerous errors in his 7,300-word piece.

They went with the Top 11 boners he pulled. He wrote: "'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.'"

There is no forest. There is no sign. There are no dragons.

The pair wrote, "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."

They showed a picture of the sign. It reads, "Welcome to Fergus Falls."

Nor is there a sign that says, "Mexicans Keep Out." Relotius wrote that, too.

Why create a sign and a forest? The actual boring topography and boring sign would have worked far better for his purposes.

But Relotius was on a mission to destroy Trump voters. He was clumsy because he couldn't get his facts straight. Had he stuck to his facts, he would have made a better case.

Even Anderson, who is not a Trump supporter, was taken aback. She wrote, "Knowing that Relotius’ purpose was likely to focus on a few of our many conservative voters, I still had an ounce of faith in journalism. Maybe, just maybe, since he was a professional, award winning, international journalist and was spending not one day here but several weeks, he would craft an interesting, nuanced story about how we all somehow manage to coexist with each other in Trump’s America without burning each other’s houses down.

"But I also had a distinct gut feeling that his portrayal of this town could go very, very wrong.

"What happened is beyond what I could have ever imagined: An article titled 'Where they pray for Trump on Sundays,' and endless pages of an insulting, if not hilarious, excuse for journalism."

Now then, Der Spiegel is considered the best magazine in the world. Complaints about the Fergus Falls story not only cost the writer his job, but hurt Der Spiegel.

The Wall Street Journal, which is not too shabby itself, wrote, "The affair cast doubt on the effectiveness of Der Spiegel’s renowned fact-checking department, once described as the largest in the world by the Columbia Journalism Review. The magazine, which said it employs around 70 fact-checkers, said its system had failed."

The Fergus Falls flap forced Der Spiegel to go back and fact-check 60 previous stories he wrote. So far, errors were found in 14 of them. What exactly was this renowned team of fact-checkers doing? They deserve the Talia Lavin Award.

The Journal also reported, "Stefan Niggemeier, an independent media blogger in Berlin and a former Spiegel journalist, said some of the articles at issue appeared to confirm certain German stereotypes about Trump voters, asking was this possible because of an ideological bias?

"A spokesman for Der Spiegel said that the magazine is investigating what if any role potential bias may have played."

Of course he fed management's stereotype of Trump supporters. If he failed to give management what it wanted, he would soon be replaced by someone who did.

That he was CNN's Journalist of the Year in 2014 provided much mirth among conservatives, but really, this is his year because no one better represents the trade in the Trump Era. An entire occupation has dedicated itself to the downfall of the president of the United States.

Journalists are using every trick they have to get him, which has only exposed them as tricksters.

The Observer reported, "Glenn Greenwald brought The Guardian the biggest scoop of the Obama years when he reported on U.S. agencies collecting metadata on its citizens — turning whistleblower Edward Snowden into a household name, while defining the national conversation surrounding government surveillance."

However, Greenwald is no longer enamored of the British newspaper.

The Observer reported, "After The Guardian published an uncorroborated report by Luke Harding and Dan Collyns alleging Paul Manafort met with Julian Assange at London’s Ecuadorian Embassy, Greenwald called out the reporters for failing to vet the information — accusing the publication on Twitter of behavior that 'erodes trust in journalism and undermines the work of journalists everywhere.' From Greenwald’s perspective, it was indicative of a much more frightening trend in media: the reliance on government sources for scoops and information."

And therein lies the problem. Far from being an independent press, the Washington press corps serves as the public relations department for the Deep State.

The Trump hate has exposed this because so many, many times the disinformation the Deep State feeds reporters is wrong. I said the Russian dossier was a pack of lies when CNN broke the story nearly two years ago. It still is a pack of lies. It always will be a pack of lies.

There is no forest in Fergus Falls. There is no Russian collusion. There is no future in journalism.


  1. Add the U.S. military to the Trump list. No only did the Orange One blow off the Laying of the Wreath ceremony, he just pissed on those U.S. soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifices in Syria and soon-to-be Afghanistan by throwing a hissy fit and pulling troops which will allow ISIS to be reborn as mightily as ever.

    Before you Surbots go in a tizzy, first provide this blog the names of three U.S. military officers - active or retired - who thinks Trump's move in Syria is the correct course. Plenty of Rs - including a newly elected R to Congress who shirtailed President Dennison - and a former Navy SEAL - said the Syria decision is disastrous.

    Trump betrays everyone. You refuse to accept but you will soon learn.

    1. Why don't you provide the names of three military officers who think like you do? And since when did you become anything like a war hawk? Your buffoonish behavior is just making you the laughingstock of this blog.

    2. Guess again, gutless.

      We won in Syria, now we're leaving. ask the Rangers how they like going home.

      IS to be reborn as mightily as ever? They're the JV, just ask your Mocha Messiah. Trump and the Rangers blew them to Hell.

      Which is where you belong.

      But Satan has too much class.

    3. So, we always have to stay?


      You know you have done the right thing when liberal opponents of endless wars side with conservative proponents of endless wars.

      Bring all of our troops home. Fold up not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but get us out of Europe and S. Korea.

    4. If you piss off Bill Kristol and Rachel Maddow, you know you are on the right track. Go Trump.

    5. Where were you trolls when President Bush went to Iran? Or when the "brilliant" Obama reduced forces in Iran? If President Trump wanted to do anything one way or the other you "Jealous, little, I'm a better person than he is" people would find fault.

    6. P.S. I obviously wrote "Iran" when I meant "Iraq".

    7. Swap Iraq with Syria (or Afghanistan).

      You're Welcome

  2. Love your blog, Don. But can you please ask Soros to purchase you a better class of troll? This one's sticking.

    - AZ

    1. I agree. This NPC is defective. It is not Orange One. It is Orange Man.

      But enjoy the sudden hawkishness of people who last month called pepper spray Banned Chemical Warfare.

    2. Great comeback Anon and Surby. I guess you have nothing left now that your furhrer is on the verge of total collapse. At least he will have left West Virginny in great shape.

  3. There is no forest in Fergus Falls.

    If I was your editor this would be the title of this post.

    1. Being on the prairie, there couldn't be much of a falls, either. I searched the internet and Google Earth for a while but could not find a photo of the "falls." Does anyone know where they are? - Elric

    2. Maybe Fergus was the first white man in that area and the town sits where he once stumbled and face-planted?

    3. Wiki says, "The falls from which the city gets part of its name were discovered by Joe Whitford (a Scottish trapper) in 1856..." Maybe it's a local secret - or a joke. Even the official city website doesn't mention the falls. - Elric

    4. Elric, the falls are not much. The Central Dam in downtown Fergus was created by the Otter Tail Power Company and basically eliminated them.
      Minnesota and the area have plenty of falls. Sioux Falls SD, Little falls, Thief River Falls. nothing like Niagara, but while people want to think of the Great Plains as flat. There is plenty of hydro power in Minnesota.

    5. JeremyR - Thanks for answering my question. - Elric

  4. Syria, Afghanistan, Europe, Africa, Asia....what the hell are we doing in these shitholes? Fix our own country first, then we can go looking for trouble. Every Islamic country is our enemy, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia. China is a dictatorial hellhole, as is Russia. Maybe Australia can be counted on, and Austria and Poland. Israel,once we cut off aid to them.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. As far as I'm concerned Turkey should no longer be a part of NATO. They are now part of the problem and not part of the solution.

  5. It doesn't matter whether the problem is crime, poverty, dictatorship, or whatever, people have to fix their own problems.

    How many times have we knocked off some evil dictator only to see that country devolve into a bloody civil war and/or a new dictator who is even worse than the first?

    We've been pouring money into Africa to fight poverty and famine for at least 50 years that I know of, and they are still poor and would be starving except for the food we provide.

    Even in our own country we have seen multi-generational welfare dependency because people are allowed to use our social safety net as a hammock.

    Meanwhile the left is trying to weaponize our own compassion and use it against us. They want us to give them more power and control over our lives. Ironically, if they ever succeed we're all gonna be poor. (Except for the elite leftists, of course.)

  6. Der Spiegel says it has compassion for their reporter. He fell into error , unnecessarily trying to win ever bigger prizes for their already famous magazine, gorged as it was with trophies already. Meanwhile they will leave his corpus of lies unchanged online in the hopes its contents will be fact checked by others. More clicks for everyone!
    The NYT had a similar problem years ago with Jason Blair, who later claimed to a bar pal that he had sunk the paper. The editor and owner apologized, then never missed a beat making opinion into news, just as their replacements have to this very day, now leading the Resistance, just like Victor Lazlo. I'm sure the Beagle will do the same, secure inthe knowledge memory is short and opinion is money, not fact and most of its regular readers probably don't care anyway. I have to admit though, I have no compassion.

  7. My favorite part was where he claimed the town manager was a 40 year-old virgin who had never seen an ocean. So the guy posts a picture of himself and his girlfriend at the beach.

  8. When I was young, I believe that Der Spiegel occasionally had pictures of topless African women like National Geographic did. I went to the library to see. That is the only value that rag had then. It has jobs now.

    1. the wet chicken smell of mocca tits never prepares a guy for the perfume of a pair of white ones....

  9. I just interviewed the late Walter Duranty on the Ouija phone. Wally thinks Claas Relotius is great reporter and promised to haunt Pinch to hire him and give Relotius his old desk.

  10. Replies
    1. Finally furnishing facts of Fred Farkle's Family from Fergus Falls?

  11. These anti-conservative journos are DEFINITELY using different drugs than the rest of us ...

  12. The difference between reporters and the monkey chained to the calliope while the man churns the handle to grind out the tune is the name of the doctor who treats them for their fleas.

  13. There probably is a Falls in Fergus Falls because the Otter tail River passes through it.

  14. Welll... Liberals ARE known proven liars, cheats and thieves. All else follows logically. Liberals really ARE dumber than they think we are...... They actually think that 'we' believe them just because THEY say it. it's the opposite with me.

  15. The USA and the world would be better off if there was a "known to be accurate" newspaper.

    The NYT used to be that. Now, after so many Fake News and biased news, it is not.

    Perhaps it's time for a Newspaper to try having openly biased reporters write the facts / opinions / and rebuttals to other reporters.

    I don't know now what would be good, but I do know they need to try more different things.


    "Nation’s Oppressed Christians Huddle Underground To Light Single Shriveled Christmas Shrub
    UNDISCLOSED LOCATION—Persecuted and driven into hiding because of their beliefs, the nation’s oppressed Christians reportedly huddled in a secret underground bunker late Wednesday night to decorate and light a single withered Christmas shrub.

    At great personal risk, the Christians were said to have smuggled in a few strings of colored mini lights, tinsel, popcorn garlands, Hallmark Keepsake ornaments, and other contraband in order to trim the shrub inside the subterranean chamber, the last place in America where they were safe to celebrate Christmas...