Jan Helfeld

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

He hosted the now defunct weekly The Bottom Line program,[1] which employed the Socratic method to gain deeper insight into an interviewee's positions. Helfeld asks politicians, especially on the federal level, questions about their support of certain aspects of public policy. 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 interviews have, on occasion, attracted millions of views when distributed on the internet via YouTube and other internet distribution channels. Some of these interviews have included Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Barney Frank.[4]

Lawsuit with Esteban Torres[edit]

It was reported that following a 1995 interview with Congressman Esteban Torres, Torres' staffer Roderic Young 'snatched' the videotape of the interview from the camera, 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[1] and won a settlement of $45,000 with a written apology in 1996.[4][6]


  1. ^ a b "TV Host's Suit Charges Torres With False Arrest" Los Angeles Times, 24 October 1996
  2. ^ How to reduce crime, YouTube, 2009
  3. ^ LEGALIZING MARIJUANA - Rep. Carson, YouTube
  4. ^ a b c d Swift, Jim (2014-03-26). "Socratic Assassin Meet Jan Helfeld, Internet provocateur". The Weekly Standard. Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  5. ^ Anarchy vs Minarchy, YouTube, 2009
  6. ^ Settlement, Jan E. Helfeld v. United States of America, 96-2163-GK, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1996

External links[edit]