New York Times at Central Ridge library

The New York Times is delivered daily to Central Ridge Library in Beverly Hills.

A newspaper 900 miles north of Citrus County published an item Tuesday morning and all heck broke loose.

The Washington Post, citing the Citrus County Chronicle, reported of the county commission’s decision to block library director Eric Head’s request to spend up to $2,700 for an digital subscription to the New York Times that could be accessed free by the county’s 70,000 library card holders.

The Post story zeroed in on Commissioner Scott Carnahan’s comment from the board’s Oct. 24 meeting that the Times was “fake news” and that he stands with President Donald Trump. It included a link to the county commission discussion.

Later, CBS News, Fox News, USA Today and other publications also ran a similar story.

Numerous people tweeted their opinions, mostly negative, regarding the issue.

Wayne Atherholt, director of cultural affairs for the city of St. Petersburg, tweeted: “Citrus County, Florida. It should be mortified for its stupdity.”

Six people sought donations for the digital subscription in separate gofundme.com accounts. One Boston man, identified as Kevin Gallagher, wrote: “I just read a disturbing article in the Washington Post about Citrus County Florida denying the libraries request for a subscription to the New York Times, citing the presidents stance on fake news. This is reprehensible.”

Gallagher had topped the $2,700 goal by 3:30 p.m. The others collectively had raised about $700.

The national publicity and negative attention was a nightmare for Josh Wooten, a former Citrus County commissioner who is president and chief executive officer of the chamber of commerce.

“You don’t want to be seen as an ignorant community or an intolerant community.” Wooten said.

Inverness resident Dale Pray scolded commissioners during their meeting Tuesday.

“I see you scholars have made Citrus County famous worldwide,”  he said. “Do you have any idea how idiotic you make this county and state look when you spout that fake news Trump nonsense? Especially while doing county business on TV?”

County commissioners noticed as well, but were not swayed by the attention.

“The media is so excited this made national news,” Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said.

Here’s a sampling of tweeted comments:

• FloraG, a city planner in Portland, Oregon: “Citrus County FL, where ignorance and censorship is public policy.”

•  Peter Schorsch, Florida online media publisher: “And Citrus County just made the Washington Post. Well done Jimmie Smith!”

• David Andelman, CNN contributor, former correspondant for New York Times and CBS News:: “I guess this will be @realDonaldTrump’s new Florida home!”

• Donald Albertson: “I’m glad I don’t live in Citrus County Florida.”

• Donald Putin: “It’s the only paper of record FOR SMART PEOPLE! Why would Citrus County, Florida need anything like THAT?”

• Justin George, former Tampa Bay Times reporter who spent time in Citrus: “I’ll just say it’s unfortunate for residents who want verified national news, and it shows just how effective the attacks on journalism have been. Take note as I doubt this is unique.”

• Jim Kidney: “Citrus County motto: Born dumb. Stay dumb.”

•  State Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Howey-in-the-Hills Republican: “Lake County Commission should do the same!”

• Beth Reinhard, Washington Post reporter: “Do better, Citrus County. This sounds dangerously like censorship.”

• Jimmy Chase, including a GIF of the banjo player from “Deliverance,” wrote: “If you have to look up where Citrus County is, you already know the deal.”

• Anton Hein: “America...2019.”

• April Simpson: “I grew up in Citrus County, and aspired to work at the New York Times. I actually did a summer internship there. Disappointing, but not at all surprising, to see my hometown doesn’t consider the Times a source of reliable news.”

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

(15) comments

NelseneL

It's a shame people get so emotional about something so simply solved. I have a home both in Crystal River (where I subscribe to the Citrus County Chronicle digitally) and also in North Carolina (where I also subscribe to their local paper digitally) and neither county has offered to pay my subscription. I don't understand why these folks get so indignant about having their favorite paper. It's digital for goodness sake. I'm not happy that they want my tax dollars to be spent on something they could buy for themselves. I agree with the County Commissioners in their choice not to pay for it. They're not banning it from the county; they're just saying the tax payers shouldn't have to foot the bill. Bravo!!!

sitecer

Absolutely agree Nelson!!

KATHARINEK

We also agree! As of this afternoon (Wed) their stock has slid 7% due to a

slump in Ad Revenue. Give it up and close that lefty rag.

KATHARINEK

I don't know why my post disappeared an hour or so ago. But, here we go again...total agreement. BTW, the NYT stock took a 7% dive due to lack of Ad

Revenue.

CynthiaHogle

Not everyone can afford a subscription. Nor can everyone afford books hence the public library. You have two homes and the luxury of affording two digital subscriptions. Read those papers so you will gain insight into other socio-economic conditions particularly in Citrus County. Everyone should have access to multiple points of view to make informed decisions on multiple topics. It’s serves everyone well to read multiple points of view regardless of your opinion

DianeBochiaro

Totally agree.

ChrissyM

Let's call this what it is CENSORSHIP.

CynthiaHogle

Yes!

whoever

We fully support the commission not wasting our money on a political gossip tabloid for the democrat party. I demand the commission pay for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity programs, and will be appalled if they violate my first amendment by not supporting them, in fact if they do not get Limbaugh, they will be communist fascist.

DandyCandy535

whoever .... I have no idea what you are saying. Pass the brandy snifter maybe ....

CitrusCo Citizen

It's appropriate that a BOCC that is beyond ignorant receives national attention. And they're not even ashamed or embarrassed! Why are we not surprised?

booevegeo

I think after seeing Ron Kitchen laughing in the video, which was very unprofessional I might add, should pay for the subscription to the NY Times since he has never paid property taxes in Citrus County. He can well afford it since he is making about $68,000 a year as a do nothing commissioner. Looks like he is living off of us taxpayers and getting a free ride...

rmcconnell

And yet you support the ever so professional “boos”? It’s O.K. for the people in the audience to act immature because they agree with your opinion?

Truth Crusader

The Bocc are supposed to be Community Leaders, paid by the taxpayers. People in the audience are not!

DandyCandy535

Another incomprehensible ramble from (presumably) another Frump Fan .....

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