A few years ago during the Boston Bombing, Glenn Beck misidentified Abdulrahman Alharbi who he claimed was the Boston Bomber. Later, Beck was sued for defamation and lost his motion to dismiss the case. Fast forward to now, Beck has been on the ropes in court while still refusing to settle with Abdulrahman Alharbi. Now, a Federal judge has ordered Beck’s producers to identify the sources he used for that story. Beck then refused to do it, claiming that the sources could be killed for being identified. Then he added that if he gives up the sources no one would ever come forward to them again. Its a sticky wicket for sure, and he does have a point about sources. Once you burn them you might as well take a shovel to your newsroom.
On the one hand Beck should have just settled with the Plaintiff, on the other hand Beck doesn’t like to settle with anyone. He prefers to label someone wrongly and let them deal with the consequences. This is the major problem with right wing media. They want to smear anyone and everyone they can without facing any legal consequences for doing it..
For Beck and other right wing media, when they are winning in court they are always claiming that they are the victim. When losing in court, they often refuse to abide by court decisions. In this case, Beck is using the standard goto meme of Liberty and Justice for them, and for everyone else go piss up a rope. How they act in court is, the court has no authority over them when they are losing, because the case is about freedom and liberty and no taxation without representation, and they are Martin Luther King and they won’t abide by any decisions against them because the court has no jurisdiction over them.
They will continue to claim that the court can’t force them to do anything. Beck now seems to follow the familiar pattern with right wing media, screw the court, screw the orders, nothing a court says or does applies to them, because the court lacks the authority over them or because they are freedom loving patriots and will go to jail or lose the case and refuse to pay because patriots don’t pay anything. Its a standard that right wing media has become used to when smearing people and finally having to be held accountable for it.
A producer for conservative media host Glenn Beck is declining to comply with a judge’s order to identify the sources for reports accusing a Saudi Arabian student of involvement in the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013.
U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris, acting on a defamation suit brought by Saudi Abdulrahman Alharbi, instructed Beck, two of his producers and related companies to come forward by Wednesday with the names of the sources for the accusations Beck persisted in leveling even after senior U.S. officials publicly cleared the student.
However, a lawyer for Beck’s operation and producer Joe Weasel said Wednesday that he will not name the sources, previously identified as veteran officials of the Department of Homeland Security.
“Defendants cannot disclose the identities of Confidential Sources 1 and 2 for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, as a matter of fundamental journalistic integrity, Defendants cannot disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources without their authorization,” attorney Michael Grygiel said in a letter to Saris on Wednesday afternoon.
Grygiel said the sources were told of the judge’s demand, but “were unwilling to be identified,” despite the fact that Saris said she would keep their names out of the court record and bar those involved in the litigation from revealing who the sources are.
Beck’s lawyer also appeared to echo a public claim by Beck this month that the sources could be harmed, or possibly even killed, if they were publicly named.
“As previously represented to the Court, Defendants are justifiably concerned that substantial harm could come to the Confidential Sources if they are identified. Second, if Mr. Weasel were to disclose the identities of the Confidential Sources, it is a near certainty that no confidential sources would ever again speak to Mr. Weasel or The Blaze Inc. and its affiliates, to the detriment of an informed public,” Grygiel wrote.
The letter says Weasel worked for The Blaze “at the time” of the 2013 marathon reports, but it does not say if he still works for the firm or for Beck. A Beck spokesman did not immediately respond to a query on the point.
Weasel’s refusal to name the sources creates the possibility that he could be held in contempt of court and jailed, although Weasel is not a defendant in the case so there could be more legal hoops to jump through to go after him personally. Saris could impose fines on The Blaze Inc. or take action to limit the company’s defenses in the lawsuits, such as instructing a jury that it could infer that the sources did not exist.
It seems less likely that Beck would be held in contempt personally because Grygiel’s letter says the host had no contact with the sources “and could not identify” them.
It’s unclear whether mainstream journalists and other First Amendment advocates who have fought to protect sources in other instances will rally around Beck and Weasel as the judge mulls what action to take in the fight involving the polarizing conservative commentator.
In his letter, Grygiel asked Saris to set a conference to discuss what sanctions should be imposed due to the failure to comply with the judge’s order.
An attorney for Alharbi, Peter Haley, declined to comment on the development.
Of course in this case, Beck is probably not going to get too many people or organizations behind him due to his toxicity and the way he produces his news, which has rubbed many right wing media organizations the wrong way. Right wing media dumped Beck long ago for violating their core standards too many times, so its doubtful he will raise any alarms in right wing nutville to help him. So, it is highly likely that he will end up eventually losing this case. Of course he will appeal, and the case will drag on for a number of years before he decides to offer a paltry settlement, which probably wouldn’t cover costs or fees or any real decent settlement for the Plaintiff that could help him. But that’s how the game is played these days. Sad times….