New York Times newspaper

Residents in Citrus and across the country flooded the county offices with email opinions regarding the New York Times issue.

Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. knows exactly who to blame for the uproar across Florida and the country over the New York Times digital subscription issue.

“Far as I’m concerned, the Citrus County Chronicle threw Citrus County under the bus internationally,” Kitchen said. “They whipped this into something and made us the laughing stock because one commissioner chose to say something that other people didn’t appreciate.”

Ron Kitchen Jr.

Citrus County Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. 

Kitchen made his remarks Tuesday night to about 120 people attending a neighborhood meeting in Walden Woods, a 55-plus mobile home community in southwest Citrus County.

Kitchen, who said during last week’s county commission that he’s “not backing off one inch” on the issue, said he has received numerous emails from people who do not live in Citrus County, reacting to the board’s non-vote decision on Oct. 24 to block library director Eric Head’s request for a $2,700 digital subscription to the New York Times that would provide access to 70,000 library card holders.

The Chronicle reported of the board’s discussion, including Commissioner Scott Carnahan referring to the Times as “fake news,” and saying, “I don’t want the New York Times in this county.”

When The Washington Post picked up the story Nov. 5, followed that same day by numerous other national media, commissioners heard opinions from across the country. Many of those were from people who used vulgar language and name calling, Kitchen said.

“Do you know how many times this week I’ve been called a Nazi?” he said during the Walden Woods meeting.

Read all about it! County says no to NY Times

The Chronicle has made numerous unsuccessful attempts to reach Kitchen by phone and email to answer questions regarding his comments at the board’s Nov. 5 meeting. Tuesday night, Kitchen said he refuses to speak with a Chronicle reporter.

“I’ll never talk to them again,” he said. “You get interviewed by a reporter and they’ll ask you 15 questions. The next morning, if what you said doesn’t fit their story, none of your comments are in there. But if one or two of your comments fit their agenda, it’ll be in the paper. Real journalists report everything you say. I don’t like being censored.”

Brian Coleman Citrus County Commission 2017

Citrus County Commissioner Brian Coleman.

The Times issue returns to Tuesday’s county commission agenda, this time by Commissioner Brian Coleman, who is expected to be named chairman during the board’s annual organizational meeting Tuesday, is recommending the county drop the print subscription to the New York Times in the libraries and replace it with a digital subscription, which would save $290.

Questions, answers on the New York Times controversy

Coleman asked the matter be brought back for discussion and possible vote.

Outgoing board Chairman Jeff Kinnard said Wednesday he could have handled the Oct. 24 discussion better following Carnahan’s “fake news” remarks.

jeff kinnard mug 0318

Citrus County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard.

“It would have been appropriate that day … to try and restart the conversation,” Kinnard told the Chronicle Editorial Board.

Kinnard said the library should have parameters in place that set price and criteria before signing up for digital subscriptions. He also said the board should follow the library director’s recommendations.

“We should trust the personnel,” he said, “we have in place.”

Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(47) comments

lifelonglearner

Perhaps Kitchen should learn from the quotation: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." No one forced Kitchen to open his mouth and put his foot in it. The Chronicle was simply covering the words of an elected official. If Kitchen didn't want his ignorance exposed to the world, then he should to the purpose, not his

prejudices.

booevegeo

It wasn't the Chronicle that caused all of this publicity that money can't buy, it was Kitchen laughing like a school yard bully and Carnahan's "fake news" comment. Doesn't Kitchen realize those BOCC meetings are recorded and it went viral. He finally got caught and didn't get a free pass. As for getting the NY Times for free, all of us property owners pay a separate tax for the library. My bill was $58.00 for the library. Money well spent IMHO. Everyone needs to realize Kitchen doesn't pay any property tax so he has no skin in the game at all.

LO SAL

The national news always blows things out of proportion. But inappropriate comments by elected officials deserve to be reported.

LEIGHD

There wouldn't be anything to laugh about if those comments hadn't been made in the first place. Perhaps if MORE THAN ONE of the commissioners had kept their political views quiet and simply stated that it was a fiscal decision, there wouldn't have been anything to be embarrassed about. So no, Mr. Kitchen, the Chronicle isn't doing anything other than reporting what your loud mouth CommissionerS (yes, plural) said. And there's video to back it up, so quit crying about what was said.

DaleP

Standing together, I truly believe we can change the toxic attitude of the BOCC towards it's Liberal leaning Citizens. There is no reason we all can't peacefully co-exist with each other. Obviously it is Trumpism/birtherism that has poisoned the civil discourse.

psmith

Whatever our political persuasion we should realize that muzzling a free press is a first step in changing a democracy into an autocracy. Our duty as citizens is to inform ourselves by reading from and listening to a variety of reputable sources (The New York Times has over many years proved itself to be a reliable source.). May our free press always endure!

Msfahrenheit

“jAs) Far as I’m concerned, the Citrus County Chronicle reported Citrus County events truthfully, and the story "went viral" in this informational age.,” Kitchen said. “Stubbornness against apology and blindly following Mr Trump made us the laughing stock because one commissioner chose to say something that was inappropriate and a lie.” (Fixed it for you.)

It's so much easier to tell the truth; you don't have to remember everything you said to everyone to keep it straight! Plus, you'll be doing the right and honorable thing. Even if you make a mistake, just own up to it and move on! Don't pile on more lies! Haven't you read the Commandment concerning "false witness?" That is what lying is!

mmillsap

Taxpayers should not be paying for subscriptions to news whether it be Fake or otherwise. If you want to read the garbage, buy your own subscription.

LEIGHD

Then why have libraries at all? Why spend money for books, magazines, newspapers, computers, internet access, literacy programs, and community support? If you want any of those things, pay for them yourself!!! *SMH*

Libraries are a very important community support- that's why they are funded. They have books and periodicals of all types in them so everyone can find something that interests them. Commissioners/Politicians shouldn't make political decisions about funding for a non-political institution that provides a public service to ALL citizens, regardless of their political leaning.

Incidentally, I hope you have paid your subscription to the "garbage" you are commenting on!

DandyCandy535

I have known Ron Kitchen, in the political sense, for more than 20 years. I am most sincerely disappointed that he chose to pour fuel on the flames when he should have kept his mouth shut.

JENNIA

Is this why WaWa is pulling the plug on their store here ?????????????

whoever

Because it was a poor decision to put it there in the first place?

Msfahrenheit

I wouldn't be surprised. They are certainly doing well in Lecanto, I would think Crystal River would be more lucrative due to tourists and visitors. What other reason would it be? They carefully vet before they propose building anywhere. Maybe they are waiting to see if this affects the area before committing. That's good business. I hope they still open another store here.

billcate

That's what I was thinking. Maybe WaWa doesn't want to be associated with Gooberville.

SHC

I'm grateful that The Chronicle brought this matter to our attention. The citizens of this county need to know which of our representatives are ignorant sycophants (Carnahan, for one) and which don't understand how journalism works (Kitchen, for example). Kitchen is correct that the county is an international laughingstock due to this incident, but he has only himself and his fellow commissioners to blame.

whoever

why are not rush Limbaugh and britebart paid for by taxpayers, this is obvious discrimination and if the library does not provide every media out there for free they should be sued for equality

DaleP

We got our own three Amigos of Citrus County. They have my vote of no confidence.

JAMESMCINTOSH

... five Amigos.

billcate

This circus is going to be over one of these days. When it pulls out, the clowns will still be here. Then what?

DaleP

No disrespect intended but, you would think Mr Kitchen would want to spend more time with family during these turbulent times.

DAYSTO

And another Circus Act has started. Gee whiz, all part of the show. They followed the ring leader. LOL.....

LARRYG

Messier69 you are so right. Smells like a George Soros funded paper

Messier69

The Chronicle has turned into the NY Times, Washington Post, and even worse the Tampa Bay Times on a smaller scale.

CitrusCo Citizen

So what do you read, Messier? Or do you?

JAMESMCINTOSH

Heh, heh, come on! Chronicle is just a weekly newspaper that delivers daily.

CH

Uh, no, that would be the words out of Carnahan's mouth that started it. Geez, do all Republicans deflect and lie when you can see/read what comes out of their own mouths?

AlexanderLewis

Actually Democrats are the masters of lies and deception.

Msfahrenheit

With zero citations or proof, very typical "head in the sand" approach for deniers. Republican values are now an oxymoron, as they accept lies, deception, and attacks on The Constitution blindly from their "Dear Leader."

lifelonglearner

Where is the viable proof to your statement? By the way, the conversation is concerning the ignorant statements of Kitchen, but you seem unable to address the subject to accuse Democrats. Pitiful, but expected from those who refuse to check independent facts and/or follow the history of the story.

DaleP

Commissioner Coleman has 100 times the integrity than Mr Kitchen. Sad.

JAMESMCINTOSH

Get real: at the outset Coleman agreed with Carnahan/Kitchen; Kinnard, too.

SJOHNSON

very disappointed in the way the Chronicle has handled this from the beginning.

CitrusCo Citizen

I'm not. Like slamming us with extra property tax for our undeveloped lands, the BOCC was hoping to sneak this one by. The Chronicle just reported what was happening as it was happening, so as to keep us informed on a very serious situation and a threat to the First Amendment. I thank the Chronicle and hope that they continue to report anything else the BOCC tries to sneak past us and turn into policy.

whoever

Please look up what the amendments say, how can you ny times readers be so simple. This has nothing to do with any amendments, you can still read the gossip column, but, YOU pay for it. ooooohhhhh

JAMESMCINTOSH

Chronicle is not the worst newspaper in the US, the El Paso Times is. Chronicle is second.

LEIGHD

You mean that you're disappointed that the Chronicle reported on the exact words that came out of the Commissioners' mouths?

sierra1

Ironic how the Chronicle has done all it could in the past to protect the commissioners such as taking down readers comments that they feel might disparage them or call their integrity into question. Now that Mr. Kitchen has thrown the newspaper under the bus, perhaps, just perhaps, the newspaper might come to realize that the commissioners are not their friends and they are only out for themselves, as are most political officials.

crizor

The Chronicle threw themselves under the bus at the same time they threw the county under the bus. Mike Wrong did not get it W Right.

JAMESMCINTOSH

W Right — Cute.

CitrusCo Citizen

Agree. Things are getting interesting and Kitchen's honeymoon with the media is over. Kitchen is starting to sound like Jesse Ventura, the one-term governor of MN who called all newspaper reporters "media Jackals". That strategy seriously backfired on Jesse--from then on, the media reported on more than we ever wanted or needed to know about Gov. Jesse. I hope the Chronicle now reports on every little thing that the BOCC does, and especially Kitchen.

jens

Kitchen says he "doesn't like to be censored".

Isn't that exactly what he's advocating?

My God the ignorance is strong and pervasive on the BOCC.

bellis

We need to vote kitchen and few more out. They should put their energy into getting high pay jobs in here every one of them have a lack vision .

crizor

Try to stay on subject when commenting on a story.

sgeohegan

Vote Carnahan out. He and Kinard are only in it for their own interests.

Ssabmud

Come on, Kitchen. For god sakes, grow a pair and admit that you good ole boys blew it. I'm willing to bet that you were the one kid in the playground that would blame the other kids when you threw the ball over the fence. Apparently, that is where all of the balls you played with wound up, over the fence.

Miuke Nelson

Time for Kitchens to move on. Maybe he'll run for the House.

CitrusCo Citizen

I hope not. I hope he just retires and goes away somewhere--far away from here.

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