Let’s face it – local politics can be boring, even in your own hometown. So it’s not often that a local political story makes waves nationwide. Frederick, Maryland has brought us a rare local political story that’s not only interesting, but downright hilarious.
Kirby Delauter, a city council member in the town located in the center of Maryland, published a Facebook post on January 3 in which he threatened to sue the local paper, the News-Post, if they used his name again without 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.
Delauter, a Republican, has expressed his disdain with bias at the paper on other occasions – in fact, one of his fellow Republicans on the council agreed with him in the article – but the paper’s response was priceless: an editorial using his name as often as they could:
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?
You know, Delauter could be right about the bias (and he and I are on the same side politically), but the paper is right to stand behind what it calls “that whole First Amendment thing.” After all, arrogant politicians of any political stripe need someone to take them down a peg or two.
Thankfully, the News-Post figured out how to do it with a dose of laughs.