Kirby Delauter, a member of the Frederick County, MD County Council, seems to be a bit sketchy on how the First Amendment works. He’s demanding that the Frederick News-Post, the local paper, not use his name or reference him in any way in an article without his permission.
Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter wrote on social media that he plans to sue The Frederick News-Post if his name or any reference to him appears in print without his permission.
In a Facebook status posted Saturday, Delauter said he was upset with reporter Bethany Rodgers for “an unauthorized use of my name and my reference in her article” published Jan. 3 about his and Councilman Billy Shreve’s concerns over County Council parking spaces.
“So let me be clear…………do not contact me and do not use my name or reference me in an unauthorized form in the future,” Delauter, R-District 5, said in a Facebook status update…
Rodgers responded to Delauter’s post Sunday afternoon, stating she will continue to contact the councilman for comment as well as print his name and reference in the newspaper.
“First of all, there is no requirement to get a person’s authorization in order to mention them in the paper, particularly if that person is an elected official,” Rodgers wrote in a comment below the original post. “It is not just our right but our responsibility to report on people like you, who occupy positions of trust in our government, and I make no apologies for doing that.”
Delauter said he would pursue legal action if his name or reference were published again.
“Use my name again unauthorized and you’ll be paying for an Attorney,” Delauter wrote. “Your rights stop where mine start.”
Good luck with that, you moron. The managing editor of the paper said that “to threaten to sue a reporter for publishing his name is so ridiculously stupid that I’m speechless.” No kidding. But then the editorial board responded brilliantly:
Knowing Councilman Kirby Delauter as we do, we weren’t surprised that he threatened The Frederick News-Post with a lawsuit because we had, he says — and we’re not making this up — been putting Kirby Delauter’s name in the paper without Kirby Delauter’s authorization. Attorneys would be called, Kirby Delauter said.
In fact, we spent quite some time laughing about it. Kirby Delauter, an elected official; Kirby Delauter, a public figure? Surely, Kirby Delauter can’t be serious? Kirby Delauter’s making a joke, right?
Round about then, we wondered, if it’s not a joke, how should we now refer to Kirby Delauter if we can’t use his name (Kirby Delauter)? Could we get away with an entire editorial of nothing but “Kirby Delauter” repeated over and over again — Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter? OK, imagine we agreed because of temporary madness or something funny in the water that week, how would we reference “Kirby Delauter” and do our job as journalists without running afoul of our lack of authorization?
Blanks? Sure, we sometimes use hyphens in the case of expletives. Perhaps we could do that: “K—- D——-.” Or, perhaps, “Councilman [Unauthorized].” We giggled a bit more than we should have when we came up with “the Councilman Formerly Known as Commissioner Kirby Delauter,” which doesn’t seem as funny written down in black and white and includes his name, which defeats the point. Maybe we should just put his initials, “KD,” with an asterisk to a footnote (KD*), or refer to him as GLAT, the acronym for his campaign: “Govern Like A Taxpayer.” We could even make it sound a little hip-hop with a well-placed hyphen: G-Lat. Speaking of, could we get away with “K-Del”? Or we could simply go with the Harry Potter-esque “He Who Shall Not be Named.” (Cue the lightning strike and peal of thunder.)
Yet we could take the low road down even further and childishly mangle “Kirby Delauter” into references you, the reader, would still understand. “Sherbert Deluder,” say. Or “Derby Kelauter.” “Shirley Delaughter” (and don’t call me Shirley). We found a great automatic online anagrammer that generated all kinds of alternatives and could make it a challenge for our readers to decode each time we have to reference the councilman: “Rebuked artily.” That was a good one. “Bakery diluter” is just silly but does have a ring about it. “Keyed rural bit” was another that caught our eye as somewhat telling, because Kirby Delauter’s pretty keyed up. We’re sure there’s a joke in “Brutelike Yard” somewhere.
It just occurred to me that I didn’t ask Kirby Delauter’s permission to use the name Kirby Delauter in this blog post. Oh no! What shall I do?