60 Acts of Defiance

On a day when we are mourning the murder of journalists, it’s a small but noteworthy consolation to note an American newspaper that went out of its way to defy attempted intimidation by a politician. In case you’ve missed the story, a Frederick, Maryland city councilman threatened a reporter for a local paper with legal action if she ever mentioned his name (Kirby Delauter) again without his “permission.” This did not go over well with said local paper, the Frederick News-Post, which proceeded to publish an editorial which mentioned his name sixty times (counting three times in the headline) in the course of tearing him a new one.

To make sure Kirby Delauter got the point, the editorial also spelled out his name if you read down the first letter of each paragraph. Having been ordered once upon a time to do the same thing (with the crucial difference that I was spelling out a profane message rather than a name) in a “congratulatory” letter to someone my boss despised, I can confirm this is a lot harder than it sounds.

If I were Kirby Delauter, I’d seriously considering finding a new name. That one’s mud.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.