Maryland Politician Says Local Paper Can't Use His Name Without Permission

from the my-imaginary-rights-will-be-respected! dept

All Frederick County (MD) Councilman Kirby Delauter knows is that he doesn’t like unfavorable press. Literally, that appears to be all he knows — at least as far as press relations go. He apparently believes that he holds the power to decide whether his name appears in print, rather than the other way around. Delauter blew off a phone call from Frederick News-Post writer Bethany Rodgers seeking comment on a story and then turned around and called her out on Facebook for using his name without permission.

The post has since been deleted by Delauter, but the image will live on forever… as will Delauter’s inability to comprehend how journalism actually works.

Here’s Delauter’s rant in case you can’t see/read the screencap:

Shame on Bethany Rogers for an unauthorized use of my name and my reference in her article today. She contacted me by phone yesterday, I did not return her call and did not authorize any use of my name or reference in her article. 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 contact me again since she has absolutely no morals or journalistic ability.

Bethany, please understand, when you do a hit piece, you need to know who you’re 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 this 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.

Having firmly established who’s wearing the pants in this councilman/unruly press relationship, Delauter was undoubtedly surprised to find himself swiftly de-pantsed by Rodgers herself.

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 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 the 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.

Delauter’s response? SWING BLUDGEON OF LAWTHREAT +2.

Use my name again unauthorized and you’ll be paying for an Attorney. Your rights end where mine start

And those rights? Nonexistent. Newspapers have been writing about all sorts of people for years, using all sorts of names without permission. That’s how that works. Eugene Volokh puts it this way.

Uh, Council Member: In our country, newspapers are actually allowed to write about elected officials (and others) without their permission. It’s an avantgarde experiment, to be sure, but we’ve had some success with it.

Now, Delauter’s name is everywhere (including this Kirby Delauter-deluge of an editorial by the newpaper hit with Delauter’s legal threats). His first mistake was assuming he could control it. His second was to broadcast his ignorance via a public forum. And, unless he’s willing to go the full Rakofsky, the internet is going to keep “using his name unauthorized” without having to worry about “paying for an Attorney.”

Ignoring reporters doesn’t keep your name out of the papers. All it does is allow them to push the narrative they want to push. At best, you’ll get a “did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.” Your decision to not participate in Rogers’ news gathering only hurts you, Delauter. It doesn’t make you immune from criticism or grant you some special right you can use to deprive others of theirs. If he didn’t want a public life, then Dealuter shouldn’t have gotten into the public service field. Delauter’s lousy grasp of pretty much every facet of this situation makes it pretty clear he shouldn’t be allowed to operate a desk, much less be an integral part of local governance. Politicians who think they have special rights are the worst.

Delauter has a small chance to salvage this situation, as Scott Greenfield points out. Anyone want to place odds as to whether he will?

There really isn’t much to add to such a facially laughable assertion as this, but I felt I would be remiss not to join in the Streisand-ing of Kirby Delauter (whose name is used here without permission) because this is a guy who is allowed to have a say in matters that impact on other people’s lives. And he’s a monumental dumbass.

The only question now is whether he’s got the guts to admit the abject stupidity of his threat, apologize and own his stupid. Tough guys like Kirby usually can’t.

We’ll see. Delauter has scrubbed his post from Facebook, so it appears there will be no immediate “ownership.” Of course, he may believe his rights extend on and on forever, unlike those of pesky journalists. Adam Steinbaugh captured this bit of unauthorized name appropriation by Delauter. Like Bethany Rogers’ phone calls to the councilman, this has yet to receive a response.

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Comments on “Maryland Politician Says Local Paper Can't Use His Name Without Permission”

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Anonymous Coward says:

But it can't have my name on it.

He was complaining that there were only 3 permanently assigned spots for council members when there are 7 council members. The three spots were for everyday use. The thinking was other spots would be reserved at the time of meetings.

jameshogg says:

Kirby Delauter’s mother obviously put plenty of hours of toil and sweat into naming him. So obviously she is entitled to the fruits of labour. How dare you steal it at least 4 times?

Unless of course you rip off Nintendo, which she obviously did, which renders that hard work null and void.

How dare you steal from Nintendo at least 4 times?

Anonymous Coward says:

Obviously he is not a legal eagle. Also, obviously, there is some previous history between the two that is not disclosed in the exchange. Curious that she made no mention of being called a liar in the original post. Perhaps she did previously lie and his reaction is, while wrong as a matter of law, understandable.

There is more here than meets the eye…but it remains lurking in the background.

DCL says:

Re: Re:

No doubt there is more to the story but it really doesn’t matter because an elected official at any level should not be that ignorant of a founding principal of our government.

Maybe he was just drunk and angry but that really doesn’t excuse him unless he apologies to his constituents that he did wrong because he was drunk and angry and forgot details from his US Constitution 101 class.

lars626 says:

Kirby Delauter

Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter.

There, I said it, repeatedly. Now he can come here and sue me. I am in Minnesota and we have a anti-Slapp law. This way when he looses I get to collect from him.

Oh boy, Oh boy; this is going to be fun.

known coward says:

kirby delauter

we should not mention kibry delauter’s name if kirby delauter does not want us to use his name, kirby delatuer. Why Kirby Delauter wants us not to say it is really none of our business but we should respect kirby delauter’s wishes and not use, kirby delauter. In closing i would like to say. thank you for your time and consideration. Kirby delatuer,

ps. in the newspaper’s editorial notice what the first letters of each paragraph spell out. the writer should get a Pulitzer.

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

The newspapers hilarious Editorial

Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter

Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2015 12:30 am
Frederick News-Post Editorial Board | 107 comments
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.
Discernibly, though, Kirby Delauter’s ignorance of what journalism is and does is no joke, and illustrates one disturbing aspect too prevalent in conservatives’ beliefs: That the media are all-liberal stooges hell bent on pursuing some fictional leftwing agenda. Generally this “fact” is bleated when the facts on the ground differ from conservative talking points. Take Councilman Billy Shreve’s abstract, almost nonsensical defense of KD*: “I think media outlets are cowards and they hide behind the label of journalists and that’s a bully pulpit to expand their liberal” agenda. Cowards? Tell that to the families of the 60 journalists killed in 2014, or the 70 in 2013, or the 74 who died in 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. All in pursuit of the truth, or the most reliable version of it at hand in the most dangerous regions of the world.
Edifying as it may be to lapse into name calling — and yes, we allowed ourselves a little childishness above and maybe a little bit below — we need to make one serious point the councilman needs to hear and understand: We will not bow to petty intimidation tactics because a local politician thinks he can score political points with his base throwing around empty threats.
Legally, Kirby Delauter has no case.
And why? Here’s how Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh, who “teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law,” nicely sums it up:
“Uh, Council Member: In our country, newspapers are actually allowed to write about elected officials (and others) without their permission. It’s an avantgarde experiment, to be sure, but we’ve had some success with it.” You know, that whole First Amendment thing.
That’s why we’re taking his threat with a pinch of salt. We’ve seen this behavior before (not just from Kirby Delauter) and it’s worth highlighting again. Bullying seems to be the only way Kirby “Don’t say my name” Delauter feels he can lead. Only now, the target is not the public at hearings or occasional “punk” staff member, an arrogant, self-serving, whining middle school teacher or fellow “moron” commissioner, it’s The News-Post. Instead of taking his job seriously like the voters demanded and the rest of the council seem to grasp, he’s grabbing at distractionary shoot-the-messenger tactics that make a lot of noise but, to quote Shakespeare, a man who knew drama when he saw it, noise that “signifies nothing.” Frederick County has big issues to tackle in 2015 and we have yet to hear Kirby Delauter sound out one single, sensible idea. He used the word “govern” in his slogan. Maybe he should apply that to his temper first.
Enough. Seriously. What’s Kirby Delauter going to do? Sue everyone who’s making fun of him on Twitter using the #kirbydelauter hashtag, or on Facebook? Boy, his attorney will be able to retire off that.
Reasonable men (and women) are required to move Frederick County forward. All Kirby Delauter is doing yet again is displaying his inability to control his temper, embarrassing himself, his district, the county and those who voted him into office. If he wants to govern like a taxpayer, he needs to respect the taxpayers whose money provides his paycheck, stop this silly, inflammatory nonsense, and get to work.

JustMe (profile) says:

It probably is not true that

Councilman Kirby Delauter is a crackhead
Councilman Kirby Delauter is a liar
Councilman Kirby Delauter is an idiot
Councilman Kirby Delauter kills Beluga whales for sport
Councilman Kirby Delauter hunts Belgians for sport
Councilman Kirby Delauter kills Belgian Beluga whales
Councilman Kirby Delauter is a moron
Councilman Kirby Delauter wouldn’t recognize a clue if it bit him.
Councilman Kirby Delauter is an idiot.
Councilman Kirby Delauter just got acquainted with the Streisand Effect.
Councilman Kirby Delauter has bigger problems than my sentences coming up in The Google Machine for the next decade: The Delautering, lol.

I am an ID10T too, sometimes, but I make myself laugh.

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