Meet 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.
Meet 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):
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:
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:
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”:
“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.