He Who Shall Be Named (Kirby Delauter)
If you want to keep a low public profile, attempting to prohibit the press from use of your name is likely not the best strategy.
Recently Kirby Delauter, a Frederick County, Md., councilman, threatened a reporter from his local newspaper, the Frederick News-Post, via Facebook. “Use my name again unauthorized and you'll be paying for an attorney,” the councilman wrote. “Your rights stop where mine start.”
Baffled by the threat and certain of the Frederick News-Post's First Amendment rights, Terry Headlee, managing editor of the 33,000 daily circulation newspaper, told The Associated Press, "I just don't know how to respond to a request that stupid." It was soon decided that Delauter needed a lesson in "Freedom of the Press," and the paper countered by ridiculing his demand.
In an editorial released in the paper’s Sunday edition, titled Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, the author describes the newsroom mocking the threat, and sarcastically exploring possible ways they could refer to Delauter without using his name, including "K—- D——-," or "Councilman (Unauthorized).”
To top it off, the first letters of each paragraph in the editorial spell out K-I-R-B-Y-D-E-L-A-U-T-E-R.
It didn’t stop there. Social media spread the story, which was picked up by national news outlets including National Public Radio, The Washington Post, NBC and The Blaze. The BBC even ran a story.
If Delauter tries to sue… well, everyone at this point… The Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh, who teaches free speech law at the University of California, points out that the suits likely wouldn’t go far. “In our country, newspapers are actually allowed to write about elected officials (and others) without their permission,” he wrote.