Kirby Delauter – American Hero
I’ve had at least 5 people suggest that I blog about this story from Fredrick Maryland. It seems that Frederick councilman Kirby Delauter threatened the Frederick News-Post with a lawsuit if the paper contacted him, used his name or mentioned him in “an unauthorized form in the future.” Delauter was upset that reporter Bethany Rodgers mentioned him in this news article. The article is an innocuous report about Frederick County’s new charter system. The reference to Delauter is by all accounts truthful and straight forward.
But Delauter apparently believes truth is not the point. In his bizarro universe, he has veto power any time the media wishes to report on his activities as an elected official. It’s pretty hard to argue with this comment from Terry Headlee, the News-Post’s managing editor: “Kirby Delauter can certainly decline to comment on any story,” Headlee said. “But to threaten to sue a reporter for publishing his name is so ridiculously stupid that I’m speechless. It’s just a pointless, misguided attempt to intimidate and bully the press and shows an astonishing lack of understanding of the role of a public servant.”
Of course, just because something is ridiculously stupid doesn’t mean others can’t support it. Delauter’s fellow council member Billy Shreve is apparently also Delauter’s biggest cheerleader. According to Shreve: “I did not see his post, but I think The News-Post is extremely biased and someone should sue them.” When asked if news media outlets should obtain permission to publish an elected official’s name or reference, Shreve said, “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).”
Ah yes, the liberal agenda. Well, when you put it that way, sure, sue the pants off them. Except, consider the consequences. If elected officials could require permission before a news outlet could report on them, how would anyone report on anything? And if so, how would we know anything? And that would mean a lot of ignorant voters out there. Which would probably mean lifetime tenure for Delauter and Shreve.
The really annoying thing is that Delauter and Shreve probably bemoan the liberal assault on the Constitution. I guess it’s okay, however, to assault the First Amendment. I wonder if Delauter and Shreve list as their hobby “throwing stones in glass houses.” They should.
This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie “Kingpin” – where Woody Harrelson learns that his character’s last name – “Munson” has been turned into a verb for screwing up.
Going forward, I intend to use the term “Delauter” as a noun or a verb to describe a truly stupid idea. So to use in a sentence – “My friend bet $100 on the Bengals to win the Super Bowl. What a Delauter.” Or this: “My cousin plans to vote for Kirby Delauter. That’s the most Delautered idea I’ve ever heard.”