The always controversially embroiled, Glenn Beck, was hit with a defamation suit by Saudi student and Revere, Massachusetts resident, Abdulrahman Alharbi that he tried to get out of however, a U.S. District Judge basically told him, ‘too bad’, he’s going to court. The lawsuit claims Beck continually publicly accused Alharbi of being the ‘money-man’ and a co-conspirator in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings which resulted in much distress to his reputation and bodily threats that leave his safety in question. The damages Alharbi seeks are as yet unspecified.
According to a report out by Reuters,
U.S. District Judge Patti Saris in Boston on Tuesday said Abdulrahman Alharbi’s allegations “easily permit an inference” that Beck, his company The Blaze Inc, and a distributor of his radio show were negligent toward him over Beck’s comments.
In a digital age of instant information sharing, it is easy to pass ones opinion off as fact when you have a platform the size of Beck’s, but having a ‘name’ of any measure does not leave one free to slander and libel another. Exposing truths and people still has to be done with standards; when mistakes are made, formal retractions should also be made.
Former Challenging the Rhetoric guest, high-profile D.C. Attorney, Mark Zaid, says of the Judge’s decision to not dismiss Alharbi’s case,
This is nothing but a garden variety defamation case except that the defendant is Glenn Beck and the subject matter is a horrific and terrifying terrorist bombing. The Judge merely followed well settled law that the plaintiff, who was simply watching the marathon, is not a limited purpose public figure, which would have required proof of malice at a higher standard. This means the plaintiff now has an easier chance of demonstrating that Beck defamed him and caused harm.
In Beck’s case, even though Alharbi was cleared of any involvement in the bombings, the newscaster continues to say otherwise on his platforms.
Case No. 14-11550, Alharbi v. Beck et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, could prove to be pivotal in how reporters report going forward.
Is it OK to make wild accusations in the public realm against someone and not be held accountable for making them? Would it matter if the statements ultimately turned out to be true?
If you like this or other Challenging the Rhetoric articles, please share it with others; follow our website, Facebook page and/or follow us @CTRNewsFeed on Twitter. Don’t forget to listen to the LIVE show every Weds. @6pm PST/9pm EST. Thank you!