Silly and Petulant Conservative Kirby Delauter

Kirby DelauterMeet Kirby Delauter. He’s a Republican Councilman from District 5 in Frederick County, Maryland. It’s a decent sized place with a population density slightly larger than my own home of Sonoma County, California. I mention this because I don’t want you to get the idea that Delauter is representing some tiny county with a thousand people. His position is one with a fair amount of power. And he could certainly go onto state government directly from this post. Or at least he could if he were smarter than he seems to be.

Bethany RodgersMeet Bethany Rodgers. She’s a reporter for The Frederick News-Post. She had apparently written an article about Delauter last year that he didn’t like. So, according to a recent post on his Facebook page, “I had let her know after her hit piece during the election where she embellished, twisted and downright lied about what we discussed for that article, that she was never to contact me again since she has absolutely no morals or journalistic ability.” I assumed he also un-friended her and refused to eat lunch at the same table as Rodgers and the other mean girls.

Things got very bad last Saturday when Rodgers wrote, Shreve Raises Staffing, Parking Concerns. The article is about parking for the new council members. It has two references to Delauter in an 1,100 word article. Other than the fact Shreve and Delauter come off as self-important, there isn’t much to complain about. After all, it’s about how various people in the local government will share parking!

But Delauter was hopping mad. On his Facebook post he continued (suddenly addressing Rodgers directly):

Bethany, please understand, when you do a hit piece, you need to know who you are dealing with. I have worked very hard to earn an honest reputation in this county. You could have earned my respect, instead you’ve shown that you will sell your soul for the liberal agenda at the FNP. You’re better than that, but you have already sold your credibility and that is something you won’t easily get back.

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.

If only Nixon had come up with this idea, he could have shut down all those Watergate articles. It’s brilliant! “I’m a councilman, but you can’t mention my name anymore!” I have to wonder if it would be okay to describe him, “The silly and petulant Republican Councilman from District 5 in Frederick County”? Rodgers doubtless loves this. She replied:

Wow. Well, just to answer a few of these accusations: 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. 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. I am also aware that you asked me not to call you anymore. However, it is a journalistic principle to reach out to individuals who are part of an article. Again, it would be irresponsible for me NOT to do so, and I plan to continue giving you the opportunity to comment on articles that concern you. Whether or not you return my calls is up to you.

Not to be outdone, Delauter threatened legal action, “Use my name again unauthorized and you’ll be paying for an Attorney. Your rights stop where mine start.” The managing editor of the newspaper, Terry Headlee, said, “[T]o threaten to sue a reporter for publishing his name is so ridiculously stupid that I’m speechless.” But apparently, she didn’t remain speechless.

Yesterday, The Frederick News-Post editorial board published, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter. Mostly, it is just an exercise in not using a pronoun when talking about the councilman:

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?

You should read the whole thing. It includes a discussion of how they might refer to this nitwit. My favorite was, “The Councilman Formerly Known as Commissioner Kirby Delauter.” There is also quite a bit of serious discussion about the issue. A good picture of Kirby Delauter — and the American conservative movement generally — comes through in this whole episode.

Update (8 January 2015 10:22 am)

From The Frederick News-Post, Delauter: Statement to The News-Post Threatening Legal Action Was “Wrong and Inappropriate”:

“Over my career I have fired off my fair share of angry e-mails, which in hindsight I wish I hadn’t. I can’t think of one that had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict. I thought I had long ago learned the lesson of waiting 24 hours before I hit the send key, but apparently I didn’t learn that lesson as well as I should have.

“Of course, as I am an elected official, the Frederick News-Post has the right to use my name in any article related to the running of the county — that comes with the job. So yes, my statement to the Frederick News-Post regarding the use of my name was wrong and inappropriate. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong…”

Mr Delauter, that was a fine apology. I’m impressed.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

3 thoughts on “Silly and Petulant Conservative Kirby Delauter

  1. I didn’t notice, but thank dog one of the Frederick News Post commenters did, but the first letters of each paragraph in the editorial spells the arsehole’s name out again. Well done, FNP.

    Too bad the paper didn’t take him on in the last election like they did in this editorial. Maybe Frederick County would have one fewer jerk to deal with now.

    • That’s brilliant! I totally missed it, so I had to go over and see how they did it. It was seamless.

      I figure the paper must have done an okay job, given how angry they made the guy. Of course, in the conservative lexicon, “liberal” means mainstream — usually just slightly conservative. But I suspect Delauter won for the same reason Republicans did so well nationally: low voter turnout. We liberals have got to figure out how to get our people out to vote.

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