Citrus County commissioners will not allow its public libraries to carry digital subscriptions to the New York Times because some said the newspaper prints "fake news."
During an Oct. 24 meeting, commissioners denied a $2,700 budget request by the library system for a digital subscription to the newspaper. The county will continue spending about $3,000 annually for the print version of the Times at its four libraries.
“Fake news. I agree with President Trump. I will not be voting for this,” said Commissioner Scott Carnahan. “I do not want the New York Times in this county. … I don’t agree with it, I don’t like them, it's fake news and I’m voting no.”
After his comment, more rebuttals were made. One of the commissioners said: “Why the heck would we spend money on something like that?”
His words were followed by laughter from the board, and Carnahan said “fake news” once again. Another board member joked that the newspaper “has a good crossword puzzle.”
Some members of the public were less amused. The Citrus County Chronicle reported it received several negative comments about its original reporting.
Commissioner Brian Coleman told the paper he thinks the issue should return to the board for further discussion.
“Do I think I made a mistake? Yes,” Coleman told the paper. “Our decision should have been impartial, instead of having it become a personal thing.”
But Carnahan is sticking to his opinion. He told the Chronicle it isn’t about his view on The New York Times.
“I’m open to a free press,” he told the paper. “Not at the taxpayers’ expense.”