|Glenn Beck's got a, um, novel response to a defamation |
lawsuit against him.
Confused yet? Well, it is a tortured defense, if you ask me.
Here's the deal: This guy named Abdulrahman Alharbi was at the Boston Marathon when the terrorist bombs exploded in 2013. He suffered relatively slight injuries, and of course was terrified.
Law enforcement interviewed him, like they did a lot of people, and decided he had nothing to do with the bombing.
According to the Boston Globe and the Washington Post, police could not have been more clear when responding to media inquires about Alharbi: "He has been checked out," a law enforcement person said to the Boston Globe in the days after the attack. "He is not involved. He is just a victim."
Case closed, right?
Nope. Beck had other ideas.
Maybe because Alharbi has an Arabic sounding name, I don't know, Beck kept telling readers and listeners he would "expose" Alharbi and called him the "money man" for the terrorist conspiracy.
Alharbi sued for defamation, since he's obviously not a terrorist, though now in the eyes of many Beck fans, he is.
As Salon notes, Beck might have been wise to quietly settle out of court to make Alharbi and the controvery go away.
But Beck says his First Amendment rights are being violated by the lawsuit. Beck says Alharbi is a public figure, so the bar to sue is much higher.
And why is Alharbi a public figure? Because Beck says he acted suspiciously near the Marathon finish line that day, prompting federal investigators to question him.
Never mind that federal investigators questioned a LOT of people, so they could rule out suspects.
Beck says Alharbi is a public figure because he's been granting media interviews. And why has he been putting himself in the media limelight? So he could clear his name and make it obvious to the public he's not any kind of terrorist or danger to anybody.
So this is rich. Beck is the one who thrust Alharbi in the spotlight, and now that Beck shoved him into that spotlight, Alharbi can't' sue Beck for defamation?
Yes, Beck has the First Amendment right to spout almost any kind of garbage he wants. Unless it's untrue and defamatory.