Pol to Press: You Need Permission to Use My Name

Maryland council member's rant does not go over well
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2015 5:42 PM CST
Updated Jan 11, 2015 12:35 PM CST
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(Newser) – A county lawmaker in Maryland is getting a very public lesson in freedom of the press after his angry Facebook post. This is what Frederick County Council Member Kirby DeLauter first wrote to reporter Bethany Rodgers of the Frederick News-Post: "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." When Rodgers responded that reporters don't need to get the permission of elected officials before mentioning them in articles, he fired back: "Use my name again and you'll be paying for an Attorney. Your rights stop where mine start."

You can see the full exchange at Boing Boing, which points out that the original story that sparked DeLauter's rage is a "dull" one about parking spaces. Here's a typical reaction, from Eugene Volokh at the Washington Post, who teaches free speech law: "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." The News-Post might have the best response of all: It posted its Sunday editorial in advance with the headline "Kirby DeLauter, Kirby DeLauter, Kirby DeLauter."

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