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Glen Beck and the 1st Amendment

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, Aug 10, 2016.

  1. I really want Beck to lose this, because he's a windbag. And I also don't think he had any sources, just bullshit he threw against the wall.

    Judge: Glenn Beck must identify sources on Boston Marathon bombing
  2. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Glenn Beck will undoubtedly go to jail to protect his sources and the Constitution.
  3. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Cheatwood and Weasel?
  4. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    Sounds a bit like Caddyshack.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    Represented, no doubt, by the fine law firm of Dewey, Cheatum and Howe.
    studthug12 likes this.
  6. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    He sure as shit will.

    Messiah complex.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Who knew that Bobby Heenan was a Glenn Beck producer?
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The problem with hoping other news organizations will rally around them isn't that they're a right wing organization, it's that they likely made up the "source".

  9. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Beck is screwed either way. Either he stonewalls and goes to jail, or admits he made it up and pays through the nose. Should've settled.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I haven't followed this. One thing I am not clear on from a quick read of it. ... Is she threatening him with jail if he defies her order? Or is it simply, "Reveal your [nonexistent] sources or else you are going to lose your case?"

    If it is the first, I have a huge problem with it. Then it is a first amendment issue. If it is the second, it should be fair game in a defamation suit. Defamation suits hinge on false statements made with reckless disregard for the truth. A possible defense is that you acted in good faith -- even if someone was feeding you bad info. If you could simply rely on an "Well, I had a source, but I am not telling you who it is," defense, it would be ridiculous.

    If you are a legit journalist, you should never rely on just an anonymous source. You need to try to verify anything an anonymous source tells you via other sources or with corroborating details from other places. I'd argue you should never report anything WITHOUT some level of independent verification. Even if you disagree about that, at the very least cover your ass (and gain credibility in what you are reporting), by saying in your report that your anonymous source couldn't verify what he or she was alleging, and you couldn't verify it on your own via other sources. Point out the efforts you made to try to verify what you are throwing out there. That way if you get sued like this, you can keep your source anonymous and at least have a semblance of a defense that you were not acting with reckless disregard for the truth.

    From what I read, Beck himself never even spoke to these supposed sources, at least according to his lawyer's statement. He certainly didn't try to corroborate anything from other sources or give any evidence that he did. It reads like he defamed the guy, and he is trying every first amendment defense possible to avoid dealing with the consequences. First he tried to say the guy was a public figure, which is ridiculous. Then, he is trying to say that what he said may have been false, but he didn't do it with reckless disregard for the truth. I never like a judge ordering someone to reveal an anonymous source. The judge could have proceeded without that. In a typical defamation suit, it sounds like he'd be screwed either way.
  11. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    Being sent to jail for failure to testify about a source is not a First Amendment issue. Journalists don't have privilege under the Constitution and generally are required to testify to anything a non-journalist would be required to testify to. That's why some states have shield laws.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    You are correct. I do, however, consider it is a first amendment issue in that the forced disclosure of sources threatens the rights spelled out in the first amendment. It undercuts the media's independence and can deter coverage of things that a reporter is afraid might draw a subpoena. Those subpoenas certainly abridge the freedom of the press, which is exactly the way it is spelled out in the Bill of Rights.

    The fact is, though, that it has never been recognized the way I am saying, unfortunately. Which is why I am a a huge advocate of shield laws and wish there was a Federal one.
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