Media Training, Crisis communications Play of the Week from Frederick County Council member Kirby Delauter

Earlier this week you may have seen the news (it was scattered everywhere) that a Maryland local official, Kirby Delauter, told his local newspaper that they weren’t allowed to use his name in the paper and that he would sue him if they did. This was roundly and justly ridiculed by everyone as an absurd display of ignorance and hubris. The  Frederick News-Post then published articles repeating his name incessantly and essentially said “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah!”

Yesterday, the offended council member responded with the following post:

“Over my career I have fired off my fair share of angry e-mails, which in hindsight I wish I hadn’t. I can’t think of one that had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict. I thought I had long ago learned the lesson of waiting 24 hours before I hit the send key, but apparently I didn’t learn that lesson as well as I should have.

Of course, as I am an elected official, the Frederick News-Post has the right to use my name in any article related to the running of the county — that comes with the job. So yes, my statement to the Frederick News-Post regarding the use of my name was wrong and inappropriate. I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong.

I got elected to serve all the citizens of northern Frederick County, Democrats as well as Republicans. I look forward to the local papers covering my effort in that regard.”

Wow. This was a great post. Delauter did something few politicians are willing to do–admit he was wrong (quickly, and without threat of incarceration). His post reflects real humanity and hits on points most people can relate to. Delauter has insulated himself from further criticism on this issue. Now, anyone who wants to criticize Delauter will look like a bully.

That’s why I think Kirby Delauter deserves the Media Training – Crisis Communications Best and Worst Play of the Week Awards.

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