Friday, August 12, 2016

Interesting First Amendment Issue

One of the main tenets of journalism is that journalists do not have to reveal their sources. That's necessary to keep a free and open press. On the other hand, there's Glenn Beck. From today's NOW column...

Judge orders Glenn Beck to reveal sources for his Boston Marathon bombing comments. Beck repeatedly said on his Premiere Networks show that Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi was “the money man” involved in the horrific attacks at the April 2013 Boston Marathon. Alharbi is suing Beck, his and Premiere for defamation, since he says Beck kept up his line of commentary even after the feds cleared him. (In fact Alharbi was injured, standing in the crowd at the finish line.) Politico reports that the judge in the case realizes there’s a First Amendment question about forcing the naming of sources. But she cites “vague and often contradictory” testimony from Beck and two former associates about the alleged Department of Homeland Security sources of the claim. The next move is up to Beck.

I'm not sure where I come down on this one. I'm normally on the side of journalists, but Glenn Beck is a bomb thrower who makes insinuations--often without actual proof. I suspect in this case there is no source at all, and that's what the judge is attempting to prove.