President Donald Trump and Commissioner Scott Carnahan both have at least one thing in common: They hate the New York Times.

And partially because of that, the county commission nixed a plan to have the Times available free digitally to 70,000 Citrus County library card holders.

“I don’t want the New York Times in this county,” Carnahan said during Thursday’s board meeting. “I don’t like them. It’s fake news.”

Scott Carnahan mug

County Commissioner Scott Carnahan.

Library Director Eric Head had requested board approval to subscribe to the Times’ digital service. The three-year agreement had an annual cost of $2,657 each of the first two years, and $2,714 the third year.

With the county subscription, anyone with a library card could access the Times digital newspaper through their login to the library website.

Commissioners, though, weren’t interested.

Ron Kitchen Jr.

Citrus County Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. 

“Do we really need to subscribe to the New York Times?” Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. asked.

Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith added: “Why the heck would he we spend money on something like that?”

Jimmie T. Smith mug

Citrus County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith

Print copies of the New York Times and four other newspapers — Citrus County Chronicle, Tampa Bay Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal — are available at each library branch.

The library has no digital subscriptions to any newspaper.

Head said he is always looking to provide more access to digital materials for county residents.

“In general, they always ask for additional digital resources,” he said of library patrons. “They like to use their devices.”

Commissioners said in interviews Friday that the Times digital subscription was an unnecessary waste of money.

“You can go to the library and have internet access to all kinds of media,” Smith said. “There’s a plethora of different websites available.”

jeff kinnard mug 0318

Citrus County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard.

Commissioners Brian Coleman and Chairman Jeff Kinnard said approving a subscription to the New York Times could open the door to requests for  subscriptions to radical publications.

“I don’t feel like the county is obligated to subscribe to every major newspaper or every point of view,” Kinnard said. “At some point you draw the line.”

Trump heaps much of his “fake news” criticism at the Times and Washington Post. In fact, according to media reports, Trump cancelled subscriptions to both newspapers at the White House.

Coleman said he shares the same opinion of the Times that Carnahan has.

“I support President Trump. I would say they put stuff in there that’s not necessarily verified,” Coleman said.

Brian Coleman Citrus County Commission 2017

Citrus County Commissioner Brian Coleman.

None of the four commissioners reached Friday said they read the Times. Carnahan did not return calls for comment.

Even without the subscription, library patrons in Citrus and across Florida have access to a service provided by the Florida Department of State that provides daily links to select stories in the Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

Coleman, who is in line to become board chairman in late November, acknowledged a reporter’s question about the fairness of commissioners making a decision based on politics about reading material available through the libraries.

“I see what you’re saying,” he said. “Maybe we’ll have another conversation about it.”

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

(90) comments

StanleyJ

Frankly I can care less what the commissioners think. They showed their true colors by begging for the Suncoast Parkway to continue further into Citrus County. That being said and having lived in the NY area for 60 years I find the NY Times to be a liberal rag. If you folks want to read it go right ahead, but do it on your own dime, not the taxpayers.

ceteguss

The commissioners of this county can only get away with this censorship because there is a budgetary cost associated with it. Their argument in court will be based on finances - not censorship. Here's a thought, have a group of people donate the $2,000+ dollars to carry the New York Times in the public library. Then Carnahan won't be able to censor and if he does, ACLU will probably take the case and sue. After all, the first amendment includes access to information which is being selectively denied by Carnahan and members of local government.

CitrusCo Citizen

Ceteguss--that's a great idea! We could start a Go Fund Me to donate to the Citrus County Library System, to purchase a subscription to the NYT. I don't see why not--I will call the librarians and see what they say about it. By the way, the headlines to this article are wrong! It reads "The county says no. . . etc" The headlines should read, the BOCC says no and the people say "yes" to the NYT. We the People ARE the County, some of us voted for those boys in the BOCC, and we can vote them out, too. They work for us. They don't think for us.

crizor

You are free to purchase that Fake News Rag if you choose. but it's not up to the public to provide it for you.

PaulAsmart

Isn’t there a library board that decides how to allocate their budget? They are in the best position to decide what resources are needed or most valuable bang for the buck for the library membership. Politics should not be a factor to consider in this regard.

DianeWiegand

I would contribute to getting The New York Times for the library. I am a esubscriber to the paper of record and I think that the students of citrus should have access to its contents as well as adults who might not have the money to pay for their own subscription.

Michael

SusJoh

Beg your pardon, but not paying over $2000.00 to have digital access to the NYT in the library is NOT censorship. IF you bothered to read the article, you would see that the print edition of the NYT is carried, so no one is "selectively denying" access to information. You really shouldn't try to add your incorrect, pre-conceived ideas about the 1st amendment into the text. The 1st does not address "access to information". It specifically states Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech...or of the press... the NTY is not being suppressed. I remember a time when newspapers used to be given to public libraries for FREE. Now, the NYT wants to charge nearly $200.00 a month!?!?! Wow, so much for the free press to "just want to get info out to the people." lol. Oh, wait, it's a business, they have to turn a PROFIT in order to pay the obscenely high salary of their CEO and all other staff.

Sandy Cheeks

Buy your own New York Times. Pay for your own Beverly Hills pool. You sure want a lot for people that don't want their taxes to go up.

JAMESMCINTOSH

Re: Buy your own NY Times: That's right, Sandy Cheeks, and "pay for your own" books; in fact, close the libraries and watch Fox News 24-hours/day.

Teddi Rusnak

👍

CitrusCo Citizen

Pretty sure the people who watch Fox news 24/7/365 do not visit their local public library on a regular basis and some, not at all. In fact, other than reading social media, Twitter and emails, I'm pretty sure they don't read print media.

Sandy Cheeks

There are print versions of newspapers in the libraries. Why duplicate? Follow the NY Times facebook page. If you do one digital paper then you have to do them all. Would you like to pay for it?

Ssabmud

Sounds a little squirrely to me.

billcate

The last thing we would ever want to do is increase the knowledge base in Citrus County. It's almost impossible to be the worst in the state at everything but this group of commissioners gets close. Fortunately they do provide some comedic relief.

KerryM

“I left my phone in the car and one. of my friends sent the disturbing text.”

“Of course I live in a shed that was recently permitted.”

“College? That’s for eggheads.”

“NY Times. That’s fake news.”

George W

[thumbup]

booevegeo

Funny how Carnahan never responds since he got caught up in "text gate". At least his wife knows the truth! We all know he doesn't live in the district he represents, but I guess he is above the law. Now he doesnt even want to enhance the library system. Probably thinks that is a waste just like the Beverly Hills pool. This county is doomed with the current leadership. I am so glad that everyone of them are republicans. Can't blame Democrats for anything wrong with this county. Can't wait to move....

crizor

Good News! U Haul runs specials all the time. Don't have to wait.

JOHNWEST

Wow. I was surprised to read all the comments about censorship. This was not about censorship. It was a decision about spending county tax money to provide a free service that is ( in my opinion ) not needed. The fact that some commissioners do not like the paper really should have nothing to do with the decision. I found it odd that our paper saw that as the issue. Still, although I often do not agree with our commission, this time I’m glad they chose in favor of the taxpayers

Miuke Nelson

Really? “I don’t want the New York Times in this county,” Carnahan said during Thursday’s board meeting. “I don’t like them. It’s fake news.” So how is that not censorship.

CitrusCo Citizen

I agree. Carnahan wants the NYT canceled because it has criticized Trump who Carnahan obviously worships and voted for. Trump has proclaimed the NYT as fake news because it has dared to expose him for what he is--a charlatan. But Trump's followers, including Carnahan, will do whatever Trump tells them to do. Before this whole ridiculous fiasco I didn't care very much for Carnahan because he's for the destruction of the nature coast to build a highway that ony the rich dudes want. But now I definitely will never, ever vote for Carnahan because he's lying when he says he wants to save my tax dollars--what he really wants is for no one to think for himself or herself by reading a very well respected, well established and well-written newspaper. If he wants to save our money then he has to cancel ALL of the subscriptions.

Native Cracker

Obvious that anyone that cancels the FREE PRESS in a Democratic society is hiding something, has no back bone and is a sniveling follower not a leader!

DebraR

You hit the nail on the head...thank you!

Littled

[thumbup]

SusJoh

May I ask please, how is his PERSONAL opinion "censorship?" You have print editions available at the library, why spend an additional nearly $200.00 a month for what amounts to a duplicate service?

Native Cracker

Don't you get it? The paper,(IMHO) is just as biased as the leadership. We are doomed...in a waste basket, likity split!

Teddi Rusnak

And yet here you are - albeit on line - commenting away on the Chronicle site about a Chronicle story.

Native Cracker

Yes, just wait,,,,it is but a fleeting operation!!

TRAININGV

Mr Wright could have written this piece with emphasis on fiscal rather than political motives. The pot is stirred and the extremes are heating it. Sad.

Miuke Nelson

Anyone who thinks this was simply a cost saving measure is a being willfully naive.

Mike isn't that dumb.

NormanPaley

No one is stopping any citizen in Citrus County from subscribing to the NY Times or any other Newspaper at their own expence. Why must it always be at taxpayer expense? This country was not founded on the idea that it is there to give its citizens free stuff.

KATHARINEK

NYTimes offered "Available FREE digitally" Why can't the library card holders decide?? Think about that.

Sandy Cheeks

It's free to you digitally but costs tax payers over $2,000 a year for one newspaper. If you do one than you do them all. Print versions are available at your local library. Go check it out.

Miuke Nelson

Censoring what the citizenry reads is the first step in the fascists playbook.

Native Cracker

TOUCHE'

Ssabmud

Why must the taxpayers always have to pay for paving roads that were put in by a land developer to sell lots years ago, I never drive on those roads. Why must the taxpayers have to pay for a traffic light at SR200 and CR491. I never use that intersection. Why must the taxpayers always have to pay a freakin fortune on their property tax bill for schools. all of their kids have grown and were gone long before they bought property in Citrus County. No one is stopping people from paying to pave their own road, driving a different route, or paying for their own kids to go to school. Blah, blah, blah, blah, conservatives love their free stuff. If I am paying my taxes, then nothing I get from the county is 'free stuff'.

PAULLANGEVIN

The discussion should be about whether there are enough people in Citrus County that would take advantage of the availability of the New York Times (NYT). When I am away from Citrus County, my newspapers ask me to donate my copies of the paper to students while i'm away, so I presume that many students would like the NYT. I know that I would access the NYT frequently and I suspect that many users of the Library would also access the Times. The Library currently provides access to books over the internet. How is the decision to procure an electronic book different from the decision to procure an electronic newspaper. Shouldn't the same process apply to both?

KATHARINEK

Good question, Paul. Commissioners, answer, please.

We're looking forward to the next election, btw.

booevegeo

Katharinek, We had a great candidate run against Carnahan but Citrus County voters could not get past voting for someone with a D after their name. I thought Coleman had common sense but after seeing his comments I am glad he is a one term commissioner....

CitrusCo Citizen

Yes, his comments on this topic definitely made me determined to NOT vote for him. I'm actually glad this topic came up--censorship of our reading--because it is helping me to become a more informed voter. Now I know who NOT to vote for!

Native Cracker

Are you still waiting? Are you blue yet??? Good luck on getting an answer

Kathy Robey

I, personally, already have a NYT digital subscription and believe it would be valuable for all library card holders to have the paper available to them. The library currently has a subscription to the NYT Sunday print version but that

necessitates that they come into the library to read it. Given the reduction in library hours instigated in October 2018 (due to expected budget cuts) fewer hours are available for patrons to access the libraries. Adding access to information from a newspaper recognized as a leading source of well researched investigative journalism can only enhance the understanding of what is happening in the world at large as well as nationally. The fact that the content may not please some people's sensibilities does does not mean that the news is "fake" only that it offers another view of events.

BRichardson

Just another example of the dumbing down of America.

CitrusCo Citizen

MADA. Make America dumb again.

CitrusCo Citizen

And Dumb and Dumber are good examples right here in the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County.

KerryM

They admit they do not read it. Then they condemn it. The NY Times would greatly upgrade the current library newspapers. Can’t wait to vote the ignorants out!

CitrusCo Citizen

Not only do they not read it--like Trump, they don't even read, or maybe can't and that's what makes them so very paranoid.

Native Cracker

That's what they have in common......literacy is to open the mind and offer alternatives to a mindless society.

Native Cracker

Ignorance breeds ignorance.....

RickH

So funny... I've read incredibly moving, important Chronicle stories...with zero

comments. Mention agreeing with the President, in the smallest of stories, and you get double-figures comments... all with such great passion (hate/disgust).

Personally, I'm always glad when the commissioners choose to NOT spend our money on unnecessary things. THAT should be the story.

Native Cracker

That may good as a total leadership choice, controlling expenses but they will be raising taxes as the parkway continues and takes our environment. They don't have a clue what the future holds fiscally. Our roads are crumbling under our feet and there is no relief in site. Certain people in certain positions trying to bring businesses into this county, I believe, have been milking our taxes for many years without any output. They have not been successful because this county runs on the Good Ol boy system. Ignorance breeds ignorance.

Hjoanne

I am appalled that anyone, especially anyone in public office, would ban or censor any form of informational reading material. YOU do not make decisions for me. Such narrow mindedness should not represent the city, county, state or country. Shame on you.

ENGELINAW

Censorship! Stupid ! Let people make up their own mind!

LynnBechdolt

Thank you, Citrus Chronicle for letting us know that now, even what we read in the library is going to be censored because two people in the county don't like a particular news source, one of the best, most independent sources in the US. Now, if somebody wants to organize a protest at the next meeting, please let me know how I can join you. Use Next Door app for Citrus Hills/Beverly Hills, etc.

KennethKiker

Good job.

StephanH

Being one of the "human scum" that lives in this county, Carnahen and Colemen (spelling like your president does) need to wipe that inch of brown stuff off their noses and get the black shoe polish off their tongues. Good to see that we have the same quality of people in our commission as are running our country. Being a proud vet, are you two cowardly draft dodgers like your hero? You will go down in history like the maggot in the white ouse.

Theamann

Oh, good. So now we've reached the censoring ideas we don't like.

I'm so proud.

Native Cracker

Just wait till the paper stops comments!! It's coming.....

SusJoh

well, that's interesting...seeing as how the Citrus Chronicle is a business, JUST LIKE the NYT, the SF Examiner, The Washington Times, The NY Post, the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today...

RobertCarter

If our self serving commissioners can not be trusted to make a nonpolitical decision on a $2600 item. How can they be trusted to make million dollar decisions that effect all of Citrus County's taxpayers? Our Local government is expected to provide measured, thoughtful governance for all citizens and should be accountable to a high standard. This example of tribal politics is inexcusable.

davisonlorna

Bravo Robert. Well said.

CitrusCo Citizen

Right, the Highway to Nowhere that Nobody Wants or Needs is going to cost us Citrus County taxpayers millions. It seems that instead of cutting off an excellent, and well respected news source the NYT, they should be thinking more deeply about approving the boondoggle of a highway that we'll be paying for for the rest of our lives.

RobertRoscow

It sounds like the BOCC is actually supporting Trump’s view of the NYT and WAPO as “fake news.” This kind of essentially censorship does not make the county appeal to a more open minded prospective buyer. We get labeled as a bunch of “Trumpists.” It also shows that the intelligence of the BOCC is subpar. These two newspapers are have probably more Pulitzer Prize winners to their name than any papers in the country. I have nothing against the library board also having digital subscriptions to legitimate newspapers with opposing points of view. If you want to be a part of the 21st Century a county library system should offer digital subscriptions. Most people work very hard during the day and then have families to take care of so realistically have no time to go by a library to read hardprint or wait for someone to finish the periodical they want.

My mother is deceased but spent a good chunk of her life putting together the CHS library collection that also included videos and supported the county library and donated to its collection. She was a benefactor of Central Florida Junior College. Although she died before the of powerful cell phones that allowed people everywhere to access the resources of the library system she would be appalled that the BOCC is now censoring open library resources. Sometimes the mental acumen of the BOCC just amazes me former commissioner Damato said the the Etna Turpentine Camp was not Historic even though it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I guess he thought that was a tuck stop or something. Who knows. I sure hope the present commissioners will change their mind and not follow a person who calls most news “fake news.” Also if you don’t want people using the internet and cell phones to access information why are you supporting again the destruction of our environment for a road the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast and then north to Georgia for hurricane evacuees and to allow us sharecroppers who enjoy these undeveloped spaces being able to access the internet that you want to control like the Russians do. Sorry but it would be good to connect the dots!!!

DUNCANT

I bet like Trump, the board doesn't know how to read. Maybe if they did, they'd realize they're supporting a criminal who never read the Constitution!

KIlsley

Nobodys'saying you can't go buy the rag

Sandy Cheeks

Exactly

MichaelRicard

Talk about an abuse of power! The GOP in Citrus is a joke. I cannot believe they inject there own personal views on the people of Citrus. People of Citrus, wake up! They are not governing the county for the good of the citizens, but solely for the benefit of themselves. Having a board that is all the same party for so long is the issue. I suggest we vote the real problem(s ) in Citrus out of office. Who are they to deny freedom of the press.

DandyCandy535

"The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper"

CitrusCo Citizen

WOW! Thank you for that background on the NYT!

DandyCandy535

So, Chief Censor Scott Carnahan has a rabid bias against the NYT? Much the same opinion as held by Chief Thug Donny Frump.

Atlas

Discussion was to add Internet access not the print copies Read article above carefully.

“Print copies of the New York Times and four other newspapers — Citrus County Chronicle, Tampa Bay Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal — are available at each library branch.“

Kathy Robey

I, personally, already have a NYT digital subscription and believe it would be valuable for all library card holders to have the paper available to them. The library currently has a subscription to the NYT Sunday print version but that necessitates that they come into the library to read it. Given the reduction in library hours instigated in October 2018 (due to expected budget cuts) fewer hours are available for patrons to access the libraries. Adding access to information from a newspaper recognized as a leading source of well researched investigative journalism can only enhance the understanding of what is happening in the world at large as well as nationally. The fact that the content may not please some people's sensibilities does does not mean that the news is "fake" only that it offers another view of events.

SHC

What an embarrassing pack of bobble-head yokels.

CitrusCo Citizen

Wait, what?? Everyone knows that Trump doesn't read books or newspapers and now that he's mad at Fox News for something, he only gets his news from OAN--One America News which he turns into tweets. Just because the Citrus County commissioners have confessed that they all are Tumpeters and believe that all news is fake if it doesn't favor Trump, doesn't mean that those of us who know how to think and read critically must have this excellent newspaper removed from our public libraries by refusing to fund it. The Citrus County Commissioners have no right to withhold funding from libraries for books, newspapers, magazines, videos that are not favored by their political party. What's will they censor next--paintings, music, dance, and theater? I am hoping those wonderful librarians will realize that banned print material is the first sign of a failed democracy and find other funding sources to that will help to include the New York Times. Otherwise, to be fair, they need to also exclude the Wall Street Journal which leans conservative so at least there is a balance to violating our First Amendment Rights.

LyndaB

Because you don’t agree with it, does that make it fake news? I hope that those branding fake news are willing to do their own research on events and statements and not blindly following the word of a man who is a proven liar, just because of a party affiliation. That is not what democracy is, it is finding the truth for all, and understanding that the laws apply to everyone, equally.

LARRYG

Thank you so much, finally grew a pair. We don't need any more mullet rapers past along to our citizens. we are overrun with fake news already. No more bad reporting please.

Miuke Nelson

Do you condone mullet raping?

CitrusCo Citizen

Sounds like he thinks that's o.k. cause they're only mullets after all. Oh well . . .

Native Cracker

Sorry, but just can't stop laughing!!!

Native Cracker

Ignorance breeds ignorance, Do I need any more proof?

KerryM

You read and write as poorly as the president. There is a difference between wrapping and raping fish that like to jump!

Msfahrenheit

Don't forget the difference between past and passed! I'll add that to me list: no/know, loose/lose, to/two/too, affect/effect, etc.

Native Cracker

I love all these raggers! What proof does any of these raggers offer that any of this is fake news. Is the Pulitzer a fake honor also? Proof is always in the pudding!

Ssabmud

This has to be the worst form of fake news. If there really were 'mullet rapers' here in Citrus County, I'm sure that the Sheriff would have done something about it.

Native Cracker

Funnnny!!!!!!!

DonnaBaillod

We need to remove all the commissioners with a level-headness and a neutral stance. They shouldn't be allowed to say what stays or goes. They did a terrible job in this county when it came to constructions (roads and buildings).

Politics have no place. So what? Let the people read NYT. Let them read what they want as long they are level-headed because heaven knows we sorely need them.

CH

Seriously? A county Commisioner calls the New York Times fake news? Does he watch Fox? I don't care whether they pay for a subscription or not, but they sure don't seem unbiased and open to a variety of news options. I'll vote everyone of them out of office that seem biased toward Trump who is all about corruption. I hope they don't admire Trump and base their leadership on what he does. Disturbing.

CitrusCo Citizen

I agree. They don't have the right to control what we can and cannot read in our public libraries. Censorship, based on Trump's twitters because he was criticized by the NYT and withholding our tax dollars to do so, violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I have faith that our librarians will take notice and either (1) make sure that there is a balance of news sources from both political parties or (2) make sure that there are NO news sources from both political parties. Either decision would be the right thing to do.

Miuke Nelson

GOP Goobers On Parade

Ssabmud

The GOP (Goons of Putin) doing what they are told to do. Goons usually do what their Don tells them to do, be it illegal or unethical, they don't care.

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