The Citrus County Commission in Florida says it will no longer pay for the county library’s digital subscription to The New York Times, citing the newspaper’s “fake news.”
At the meeting Oct. 24, the five-member commission was asked to approve a $2,700 expenditure for the annual subscription. The motion was seconded and appeared to be bound for approval when three commissioners spoke up.
“Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” Commissioner Ron Kitchen asked.
That set off Commissioner Scott Carnahan, who had seconded the motion less than a minute earlier.
“I actually was going to say that,” Carnahan said. “I am going to be voting no for this. Fake news. I agree with President Trump. I won’t be voting for this. I don’t want the New York Times in the county.”
Carnahan was unmoved when reminded the library had sought approval to provide the subscription to its 70,000 cardholders.
“I understand, but they can take that money and do something else with it,” he said. “Those (Times readers) can subscribe and have it come to their homes. I support Donald Trump.”
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Kitchen said he wouldn’t support it either, citing a readership estimated at about 140.
“I won’t go into all the details, but when I saw $2,700 a year for digital format for a newspaper,” he said. “(Not) many people are actually reading that for $2,700 a year.”
The motion was withdrawn, drawing praise from Commissioner Jimmie Smith.
“I truly appreciate that because I have to ask why the heck we would spend money on something like that,” he said.
President Trump has repeatedly railed against the “failing” New York Times and other new outlets, citing “fake news.”
Sandy Price, chairwoman of the Citrus County Special Library District Advisory Board, said she was disappointed in the decision, adding that the board will discuss it at a meeting this month.
“Someone’s personal political view does not have a place in deciding what library resources are available for the entire county,” Price told the Citrus County Chronicle. “Libraries have to ensure all points of view are represented.”
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