As you’ve seen here on this humble blog, the complaints I and others have filed with German institutions and media companies who have one-sidedly broadcast Söring’s innocence claims have achieved results. Many people have written me to share their own complaints and objections to Söring’s media campaign.
I’m still the most prominent critic, because I write publicly and openly under my own name. But a new “Söring Skeptic” is born every single day. Actually, hundreds are.
Thus, a friendly advisory to any German newspaper, newsmagazine, television show, or institution: If you invite Jens Söring to spread misinformation about his case without any objective moderation or contrary points of view, you are putting your reputation at risk. By all means invite him — but invite me, or another critical voice, as well. At the very least, your duty is to clearly remind your readers and viewers that any comments Söring makes about his case represent only his point of view, and that his claims have been challenged (and discredited). Let viewers/readers know there is another side to the story, and let them make up their own minds.
We’ve already seen one feature about Söring go down in flames for endorsing Söring’s false claims about his case. ProSieben obviously put plenty of effort into its feature about Söring, but it was all wasted. After I and other viewers (including Tom, who has a real gift) filed complaints, they had to trash the segment completely. It has now been completely scrubbed from the Internet.
Amusingly enough, Söring’s media consultants don’t seem to have discovered this, since his Instagram feed still advertises the special:
If you’re contacted by Söring’s publicity machine, take a lesson from the experience of the German-American Institute of Heidelberg and ProSieben — do your homework. There is now a trove of reliable factual information about the case which proves many of Söring’s claims to be fraudulent and misleading. Please read it. And if you have questions, get in touch with me — I’ve got plenty of evidence to back up my claims. Team Söring doesn’t tolerate any criticism and asks you to take his claims on faith. I don’t. I will show you exactly how I came to my conclusions, and share documents and evidence proving my claims.
I used to give German media outlets a few days to evaluate Söring’s claims before taking next steps. But the time for giving deadlines to the German press to do the right thing — to practice journalism — has now passed. There is now ample information showing Jens Söring’s innocence claims to be (at the very least) questionable. If you choose to disregard this information, you will face criticism immediately. There is no excuse for any reputable journalist to allow Söring to recycle his innocence claims without doing a 5-second Google search that will reveal the problems with his story.
Oh, and if you’re the German law school who was apparently interested in hosting Söring at one time, I hope you’re reconsidered. By all means invite him — but make it a debate. I will show up and even pay my own way, and will be happy to engage in a polite, illuminating exchange of views with Mr. Söring about his innocence claims and his characterizations of the American criminal justice system.
As the legendary quote attributed to Hans-Joachim Friedrichs has it: “Ein Journalist darf sich mit keiner Sache gemein machen, auch nicht mit einer guten Sache.” — “A journalist must not commit him or herself to a cause — even if it’s a good one.” The cause of laundering Jens Söring’s reputation isn’t even a good one. If you commit yourself to it by airing his one-sided falsehoods without objective distancing or critical scrutiny, you will damage your own reputation — immediately. The time for gentle persuasion and generous deadlines is over.
The choice is yours: Do adequate research in advance, or take a public hit to your reputation for accuracy and objectivity.