Florida County Denies Library Funding for NYT Subscription, Citing “Fake News”

The commission received intense online backlash after refusing to grant libraries funding for NYT subscriptions.

The librarians of Citrus County, Fla., request on Oct. 24 for a digital subscription to the New York Times was seen as a joke among county commissioners, according to The Washington Post

Local officials laughed out loud at the librarian’s modest request, which they reasoned could offer their roughly 70,000 patrons an easy way to research and catch up on the news for $2,700 annually. 

One commissioner, Scott Carnahan, declared the paper to be “fake news.”

“I agree with President Trump,” he proclaimed. “I will not be voting for this. I don’t want the New York Times in this county.”

It just so happened that the discussion took place the same day the Trump administration announced their plans to cancel federal agencies’ subscriptions to the Times and The Washington Post.

The Citrus County commission is meant to be nonpartisan, yet the surrounding area, north of Tampa, is deeply conservative. 

They quickly moved on to other topics, one of which was declaring October as “Friends of the Library Month,” which they did without any sense of irony.

“Someone’s personal political view does not have a place in deciding what library resources are available for the entire county,” said Sandy Price, the chairwoman for the library’s advisory board. “Libraries have to ensure all points of view are represented.”

After the commission received intense online backlash, some members began to backtrack on their statements, although Carnahan held onto his views and said that his decision had nothing to do with his personal views and was rather in favor of saving taxpayers’ money. 

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