Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Rate That Apology, Part 3: Kirby Delauter

I posted on Facebook, though not on the blog, about Kirby Delauter, the Frederick County councilman who became an internet sensation when he angrily told a local journalist that she was prohibited from using his name "without permission." The (above linked) Frederick News-Post editorial in response was a classic, and I highly encourage you to read it.

In any event, after a brief radio silence, councilman Delauter has issued the following statement:
“The first amendment is alive and well in Frederick County. As a public figure working to maintain and improve the county, it can be very frustrating to feel misrepresented or misinterpreted by a local media outlet.

“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.”
Honestly, I think that's pretty solid. Kind of hangs his colleague Billy Shreve out to dry ("I think The News-Post is extremely biased and someone should sue them"), but that's on Shreve. This one takes responsibility for the wrong and admits that it was a wrong unequivocally. I don't take the notation of how "frustrating" it is to "feel misrepresented" to be an excuse, but simply a point of a context and one we can all relate to, particularly since he doesn't return to it (e.g., with some sly construction about how "everyone should strive to be fair" or like language that suggests there was mutual fault here). The closing sentence is appropriately conciliatory and stresses the right note, which is that the media can and should cover him as an elected official and that's part of what makes our democracy thrive.

So good job, Kirby. I think this hits all the right notes. 9/10.

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