A county commission in Florida agreed with President Donald Trump that the New York Times prints “fake news,” citing the president while rejecting a proposal to provide funding for a library system to subscribe to the paper.
The Citrus County Commission made the decision on Oct. 24, the same day that Trump’s White House told federal agencies to not renew subscriptions to The New York Times or The Washington Post; the White House halted subscriptions to both papers in late October.
The libraries in the county already have a print subscription to the New York Times that costs about $3,000 a year, but library director Eric Head told the Citrus County Chronicle that he wanted the county to pay over $2,600 a year to add digital subscriptions.
When the proposal arose in a commission meeting, one commissioner asked: “Do we really need to subscribe to The New York Times?” reported the Tampa Bay Times.
“Why the heck would we spend money on something like that?” asked another.
“I support President Trump. I would say they put stuff in there that’s not necessarily verified,” said Commissioner Brian Coleman.
Commissioner Scott Carnahan added: “Fake news, I agree with President Trump I don’t want the New York Times in this county. I don’t agree with it, I don’t like ’em, it’s fake news and I’m voting no. They can take that money and do something else with it … I support Donald Trump.”
Critics say The New York Times is openly biased against Trump.
Three of the other commissioners also cited the cost and said it was unnecessary when physical copies of the paper are already available at the libraries.
“I’m open to a free press,” Carnahan later told the Chronicle. “Not at the taxpayers’ expense.”
“Guess what we’re attacked for: Some of us support the president of the United States,” he added. “I’m not backing off one inch.”
Coleman said the proposal should be discussed further.
“Do I think I made a mistake? Yes,” Coleman said. “Our decision should have been impartial, instead of having it become a personal thing.”
Sandy Price, the advisory board chairman for the county’s libraries, told the paper she didn’t like the reason cited for the funding being blocked.
“Someone’s personal political view does not have a place in deciding what library resources are available for the entire county,” Price told the Chronicle. “Libraries have to ensure all points of view are represented.”
Trump on Tuesday shared four news articles on Twitter about the commission denying funding for the digital subscription.
Speaking about the decision not to renew the subscription to the paper, Trump said last month: “You see every article is just—no matter what you do, no matter how good you’re doing … they just won’t give you a decent article.”
“The media’s corrupt. Not all medias, look I know some great people, including you, but I know some great journalists. Look, they gave Pulitizer Prizes to people that got it wrong,” the president added.
“Okay, all these people from The New York Times—which is a fake newspaper, we don’t even want it in the White House anymore, we’re gonna probably terminate that and The Washington Post. They’re fake. But you take a look at The New York Times, and you take a look at the kind of reporting they do, it turned out to be all wrong.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said about the decision to issue guidance to federal agencies about not renewing subscriptions to the paper and the Washington Post that there would be “a significant cost saving for taxpayers—hundreds of thousands of dollars.”