Jan Helfeld

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Jan Helfeld is a political journalist who conducts interviews and produces documentaries.[not verified in body]

He has hosted the weekly The Bottom Line program,[1] which employs the Socratic method to gain deeper insight into an interviewees positions. Jan asks politicians, especially on the federal level, questions about their support of certain aspects of public policy in a way in which he tries to surface any contradictions and hypocrisies. His interview topics have included morality, crime,[2] ethics (including meta-ethics), taxation, marijuana legalization,[3] the federal budget deficit, and human nature. Helfeld attended the University of Puerto Rico both as an undergraduate and for law school.[4] Helfeld is a minarchist.[5]

Helfeld's Socratic method interviews have, on occasion, gone viral when distributed on the internet via YouTube and other internet distribution channels. Some of these interviews have included Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Barney Frank.[4]

Lawsuit with Esteban Torres[edit]

Following a 1995 interview with Congressman Esteban Torres, Torres' staffer Roderic Young stole one of two videotapes of the interview, threw a microphone at Helfeld, and " tried—but failed—to take back a release form that Torres had signed consenting to the interview."[4] After Helfeld had left the congressman's office, Young called US Capitol Police and reported that Helfeld had stolen a document: the release form. After Torres repeated the stolen document charge to the police, and Helfeld was detained and handcuffed, Helfeld sued Torres[6] and won a settlement of $45,000 with a written apology in 1996.[4] [7]

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