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Maryland Councilman Kirby Delauter’s Threat to Newspaper Backfires

Local politician Kirby Delauter likely had little idea what he was in for when he threatened a newspaper with legal action if it used his name without his permission. The councilman from Frederick County, Maryland, wrote on Facebook that The Frederick News-Post had written a "hit piece" about him — a story that covered his concerns about County Council parking spaces. Delauter added that if journalist Bethany Rodgers used his name again "in an unauthorized form...you'll be paying for an attorney."

To say the paper ignored the Republican's threat would be an understatement. It published an editorial Tuesday entitled: "Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter." The piece used his name no less than 26 times and even featured an acrostic — spelling KIRBY DELAUTER with the first letter of each paragraph. "What's Kirby Delauter going to do?" the newspaper asked. "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."

The editorial was a red rag to the bull of social media, with readers sharing it some 20,000 times on Facebook and 6,000 times on Twitter. The hashtag #kirbydelauter received some 11,000 mentions on Twitter on Tuesday, with various memes based on "Breaking Bad," the TV game show "Wheel of Fortune," and "Lord of the Rings."

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- Alexander Smith