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Reuters Fake Factcheck

May 28, 2020

By Paul Homewood


 Reference was made in yesterday’s post on Naomi Seibt to a so-called Factcheck by Reuters, which supposedly debunks her side of the story.

Not only is the Reuters’ whitewash inaccurate, it poses more questions about their own reliability than the original story:


A widely shared post on social media makes the claim that 19-year-old German climate change skeptic Naomi Seibt has been fined and banned from social media for expressing disagreement with climate activist Greta Thunberg, known for organizing youth climate strikes ‘Fridays for Future’. This claim contains some inaccurate information. 


The post makes the claim that while Thunberg has been praised by the media, Seibt is now “banned from YouTube, Facebook and many other social media platforms”, as well as “fined the equivalent of $400 by authorities in her region of Germany for the crime of being ‘not climate friendly’.” ( here

Seibt — an influencer and YouTube personality — has garnered controversy for denouncing what she has called “climate alarmism”, and for calling climate consciousness “a despicably anti-human ideology” ( here ).  

Her public image has prompted comparisons with Thunberg, covered widely by the press for her vocal climate activism. Seibt has adopted some of Thunberg’s communication for her own purposes, such as the cry popularly associated with Thunberg’s address before the UN Climate Action summit last year: “How dare you?” ( here

In February 2020, Seibt joined the Heartland Institute—a right-wing American think-tank—to work on “communicating the climate realism message to her generation – which has marinated in apocalyptic nonsense their whole lives – for audiences in Europe and the United States,” according to a press release ( here ). 

Heartland, according to the Washington Post, is concerned that Berlin’s environmental policies could begin to spread overseas ( here ). James Taylor, director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy, told the Post that Seibt was a “fantastic voice for free markets and for climate realism.” 

In late February, some outlets reported that Seibt “has previously described a white nationalist who appeared to promote ‘white genocide’ theories as one of her ‘inspirations’” ( here  ;  here ). Seibt has also spoken at events run by Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, although she has denied formally being in the party, according to the Independent ( here ). 

As of May 21, 2020, Seibt’s YouTube ( here ) Facebook ( here ) and Twitter ( ) profiles, however, are all active. The claim that social media platforms have deleted her accounts for the views she has expressed is untrue.  

In April, Seibt posted a video on YouTube where she explained, in German, that she had chosen not to renew her three-month contract with the Heartland Institute. She claimed that her affiliation to Heartland resulted in the Landesanstalt für Medien NRW (Nordrhein-Westfalen) — a regional supervisory authority for private broadcasting — threatening to delete her YouTube account and her videos, alleging that through her collaboration with the American think-tank, she was spreading U.S. conspiracy theories in Germany ( here ). Seibt claimed that the allegation was not true, and that it violated her freedom of expression. 

A fundraising page for Seibt found on Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL) – an independent foundation that operates in the fields of climate change and policy – puts the situation in different terms. It claims that according to the Landesanstalt für Medien NRW, Seibt had advocated against Germany’s climate policies while also discussing her ties to Heartland ( here ). The page later claims that the authorities “demanded a fine of about $400 and costs on top, and instructed Naomi that she must not mention the Heartland Institute in her videos. The insubstantial ground for this attempt at silencing Naomi was that such mentions constituted unlawful product placement under a recently-enacted law of the North-Rhine Westphalia region.” 

The Landesanstalt für Medien NRW confirmed to Reuters via email that it did not issue a fine to Seibt: 

“Ms. Seibt was requested to delete two YouTube videos because they violate German law. The basis of our decision is the prohibition of third party influence on the editorial content in audiovisual media according to articles 7 para. 7 sentence 1 in connection with 58 para. 3 sentence 1 of the Interstate Broadcasting Treaty (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag-RStV). 

“Ms. Seibt was heard on the facts of the case. Her statement was not able to invalidate the accusation of illegal thematic placement (in German „Themenplatzierung”). Unlike in America, in Germany it is prohibited by law to provide media content, if a third party has exerted influence on it and if the cooperation is based on a compensation. Unlike in America, in Germany Freedom of speech is not touched by this ban.” 

Seibt did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment at the time of publishing this check.


False. Naomi Seibt was not banned from social media platforms. Regional German telecommunication regulators did not fine Seibt, but requested she delete two YouTube videos for violating German law.

Let’s go straight to the actual “claim” which Reuters has claimed to factcheck:

19-year-old German climate change skeptic Naomi Seibt has been fined and banned from social media for expressing disagreement with climate activist Greta Thunberg,

This claim appears nowhere at all in either of Monckton’s articles, nor have I seen it made in any other publication or blog post. What he did write was that she has been ordered to withdraw three videos, and that she would be fined or imprisoned if she refused.

Reuters link to this supposed claim takes us to a Facebook post by somebody called Roger Roots, and it is clear that it has not been widely shared, as Reuters falsely claim – indeed most of the sharers have highlighted Facebook’s False Information warning, in order to discredit it. The post does not even include any links to the original story.

In other words, this whole factcheck is based on a strawman, claiming to debunk a claim that has not been widely disseminated.

Which brings us to the question of why Reuters have gone to such lengths to counter it. Who tipped them off? And why are they so keen to stamp out any sign of climate scepticism?

The “factcheck” then goes on to mention things that are neither accurate or relevant. All in any event worthless, because the central claim is fake.

There are, for instance, several references to right wing – as, for example, the Heartland Institute, a right-wing American think tank. But what the hell does the political persuasion of Heartland, Naomi or anybody else have to do with the accuracy of their statements. Are we only allowed to voice opinions if we are left wing?

Reuters go on to complain that Naomi has spoken at events run by also spoken at events run by Germany’s far-right AfD (Alternative for Germany) party, although she has denied formally being in the party. Reuters may not like them, but the AfD happens to be Germany’s official opposition party. Again, why should Naomi be censored if she chooses to speak at one of their events?

Then Reuters refer to her praising a white nationalist who appeared to promote ‘white genocide’ (links to the ever reliable Guardian and Huff Post!!). This is a reference to Canadian podcaster Stefan Molyneux, whose recent guests include respectable commentators such as Jordan Peterson and Michelle Malkin. Reuters’ smears about him derive from the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which have never been substantiated. (Maybe Reuters should be doing factchecks on libellous comments such as those!).

Reuters in fact do not disagree with any of the fundamental aspects of the case. Namely that the German State Agency, NRW, have ordered Naomi to take down the videos, or be fined or imprisoned if she refuses.

Instead they merely repeat the NRW’s version of events, hardly a “factcheck”. As Monckton’s article detailed, many of the NRW’s claims do not hold water. For instance, her association with Heartland is not in itself grounds for action, according to the actual law. (Fuller explanation from Monckton here.)

And NRW’s claims that Naomi was heard on the facts of the case is an outright lie. As Monckton explains, she asked for more time to respond due to serious illness, but this plea was ignored.

Finally Reuters claim that Naomi did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. But she does not have the well organised army of PR staff that Greta does, so can hardly be expected to. That does not excuse Reuters from writing a blatant, one-sided hit piece.

The bottom line is that Reuters’ so-called factcheck is nothing of the sort. It creates a fake strawman to strike down, and then goes on to smear Naomi and whitewash the NRW.

So I ask once again, who put Reuters up to this? They would never in a million years bother with an obscure Facebook post, with only 86 comments.

The actual intricacies of the law are immaterial here. If the NRW succeed in censoring Naomi, enforced by threats of fines and imprisonment, then that is a sad day for freedom of speech and the rights of the individual in Germany.

Instead of trying to cover this scandal up, why is not Reuters asking the real questions that need to be asked:

  • Why is an official German State Agency persecuting a 19-yr old?
  • Who set them up to do this? Clearly the NRW would not have even been aware of the videos in the normal course of events.
  • Why is the NRW so keen to ban opinions that are not “climate friendly”?
  • What does this whole debacle say about free speech in Germany today?

And if Reuters want to do a proper factcheck, maybe they should turn their attention to Greta, who not only is closely associated with a number of extreme left wing groups, but also regularly spouts hysterically false poppycock.

  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 28, 2020 6:22 pm

    Yep, total BS.

    Who will check the fact checkers, who will check the fact checker checkers………

    Anyway, no surprise, the solar farm as previously mentioned on here was approved.

    • Mack permalink
      May 28, 2020 7:43 pm

      Am looking forward to it ‘powering 91,000 homes’ as Harrabin claims it will. He just forgot to add the caveat…. ‘but only on Tuesday afternoons, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday mornings, and only in June, July and August, if they’re lucky.’

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        May 28, 2020 7:59 pm

        And, if it has to be said, nog at night. These people, they really think we’re fools – but if we are, we have pittchforks!

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      May 29, 2020 9:03 am

      As a local resident, you can trust me on this one……..this decision will be challenged.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 29, 2020 11:41 am

        Good luck, hopefully common sense will prevail.

  2. Thomas Carr permalink
    May 28, 2020 6:23 pm

    I thought as much .
    But don’t forget that Reuters is a news wholesaler not a detective agency.
    So it was the hubris behind the so-called factcheck which gave the game away.
    This does much damage to Reuters.
    It will be interesting to see if the story is taken up by A.P. or Agence France Presse.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    May 28, 2020 6:27 pm

    ” Are we only allowed to voice opinions if we are left wing?” The answer quite clearly is Yes. Just ask the avowed socialist Bernie Sanders whose initials tell it all 🙂

  4. jack broughton permalink
    May 28, 2020 6:32 pm

    I write very frequently to The Engineer on climate junk-science articles that they publish. Sometimes they publish these, but fairly often reject them as most (if not all) of the editors are declared, convinced AGW believers, it is after all a London based publication.

    There have several times been responses from trolls asking the editors to ban my views as they are clearly not in-line with the “proven science”: fortunately, the editors have retained their belief in freedom of speech so far, even if they do reject many of my postings!

    • HotScot permalink
      May 28, 2020 7:11 pm


      I gave up with the Engineer. Whilst I’m convinced Engineers are the most level headed people on the planet, many contributors to the Engineers comments page appear to have a screw loose.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 28, 2020 8:14 pm

        Once you have editorial control, you can create any perception you want. There could be thousands of letters like Jack’s, and only half a dozen opposed – or none except for the ones specially solicited. Not saying that’s how it is, but just how easy it would be.

      • bobn permalink
        May 29, 2020 4:20 pm

        Agree with Mr Grim. The editors censor publications so they can create the illusion that everyone agrees with them. The majority of replies may disagree but few of these will be published. Occasionally i comment on blogs like the Mirror’s or MSM (microsoft media). If i am being critical (always) of their party line my comment is promptly deleted just leaving the luvies to congratulate themselves that all agree with them. Of course now Twitter, faceplant and Utube are following this pattern of excluding any centerist comments. Only far left allowed in luvieland.

    • Roger B permalink
      May 29, 2020 7:30 am

      I tend not to bother with The Engineer any more. Why bother to write something you know they will not post.

  5. May 28, 2020 7:24 pm

    Reuters has been infiltrated by non-journalists, at a guess. We can speculate about their ultimate motives.

  6. Geoff B permalink
    May 28, 2020 9:06 pm

    Excellent analysis Paul, as the one who first drew attention to the article by Reuters. I just wonder who was behind it? However it does confirm that you really cannot take anything at face value on the internet.

  7. Andrew Dickens permalink
    May 28, 2020 9:11 pm

    The Economist is similar. A really good publication, except when the subject of climate comes up (which happens with increasing regularity), and then it goes completely gaga.

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 28, 2020 9:20 pm

    Fact check crazy!

    “Meanwhile, Naomi Seibt’s lawyer has written to Reuters to insist upon corrections to a misleading ‘fact-check’ article…….”

    Along the lines I guessed and commented before:-

    “Reuters had also said Naomi had not replied to its request for comment, but Naomi did not recall having received any such request.”

  9. Nordisch geo-climber permalink
    May 28, 2020 10:27 pm

    Fortunately this website of Paul’s is heading toward 12 million page hits. we are not alone.

  10. CheshireRed permalink
    May 28, 2020 10:49 pm

    Close down dissent.
    Control any public discourse or sceptical narrative.
    Project your chosen narrative unopposed.
    Claim the science is settled and the ‘debate’ is therefore over.

    Honestly, these liars deserve a far greater come-uppance than I can talk of here. Reuters should be ashamed of themselves. Keep up the great work, Paul.

  11. BLACK PEARL permalink
    May 28, 2020 10:54 pm

    I’ve always found Reuters full of twisted narrative when it comes to reporting climate stuff.
    No different to the rest of the media pack. They all need a good dose of Trump-20 to fix ’em up 🙂

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 28, 2020 11:46 pm

    If the lights go out, perhaps something other than renewables might be responsible.

    Elexon had been very quiet about that. I only found it while trying to access bmreports, which is currently down, although it was functioning yesterday. They’re not exactly being very transparent now. Was it a foreign power? Or XR? Or a bedroom hacker?

  13. Michael Hammer permalink
    May 29, 2020 5:39 am

    So lets consider the apparently non opposed claim that NRW wrote to Naomi requesting that she take down 2 videos or suffer a fine or imprisonment. What Is she supposed to do. Option 1 take down the videos in which case she has been effectively banned from social media. Option 2 she does not do as she is told and is then issued with a fine or imprisonment. In which case she will have been fined. Maybe the statement should have read that Naomi has been banned from social media OR (rather than and) fined. That slightly modified statement (other than timing) would seem to be an inescapable logical conclusion to the NRW letter. Does that make everything all right? Somehow I don’t think so. If the NRW letter had asked that Naomi explain why her videos are not in breach of German law (no mention of fines or imprisonment at that stage) with reasonable time to respond, that would have been different but apparently NRW skipped that step and went straight to deeming her guilty.

  14. Bill Lancaster permalink
    May 29, 2020 8:16 am

    Naomi Seibt’s entry in Wikipedia looks like it was written by one of her critics, in it she is described as a ‘climate denier’

    • bobn permalink
      May 29, 2020 4:30 pm

      Wikipedia is edited by the far left. All those who question climate alarmism have disparaging and slanderous biography descriptions in wikipedia. Jo Nova’s is a case in point. I submitted corrections to the biased bio they’ve written of her but of course they didnt allow the corrections. ‘Is it true, or did you read it on wikipedia!’

  15. grammarschoolman permalink
    May 29, 2020 8:39 am

    ‘Roots’, ‘Reuters’ – no similarity there, then.

  16. dennisambler permalink
    May 29, 2020 9:21 am

    A couple of days ago, the Washington Post described Boris’s government as “Right wing, Nationalist.”

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 29, 2020 11:48 am

      Political relativity!

  17. May 29, 2020 12:36 pm

    Yesterday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which, in essence, makes these social media platforms subject to libel laws. Prior to that they agreed that they were essentially a forum and did not make editorial judgments on the content posted to the forums, with several exceptions.

    Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned whether social media companies deserve to keep their Section 230 immunity. As Gaetz pointed out, “they enjoy liability protections that are not enjoyed by your local newspaper or your local TV station, or Fox News, or CNN, or MSNBC. They have special benefits under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as digital platforms because they’re not creating content for which they should be liable. They’re not making decisions about content, they’re simply saying come one, come all with your content. And as a consequence of that, they’re getting a bunch of protections.”

    Dan Bongino, radio talk show host and former Secret Service officer stated prior to the President’s decision to sign the executive order, “Twitter made a HUGE mistake. They have now injected themselves into a US election and decided to become editorialists, rather than a platform. ALL platform protections should be immediately revoked and Twitter should be treated as a publisher. They did this to themselves.”

    President Trump stated yesterday when signing the order that it should be taken up by Congress and some rules put into place regarding the various social media platforms. They have become blatantly anti-conservative and anti-Christian forums with constant take-downs, shadow bannings and demonetizing.

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