A former New York Mets executive, who’s reportedly irked that a Florida county decided to cut access to the New York Times at local libraries, says he’ll pay out of his own pocket to keep the Gray Lady available in the Sunshine State.
Sandy Alderson, a longtime MLB front office figurehead who most recently served as Mets general manager from 2010 to 2018 and is currently a special adviser in the Oakland Athletics’ front office, told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday he was upset after calling Citrus County’s library office to discuss local commissioners’ refusal to pay $2,700 for digital subscriptions to the Times for library cardholders.
“Honestly [I] was outraged by the attempt to censor responsible journalism, and the idea of not making the New York Times, or frankly any newspaper, available to library members was ridiculous,” said Alderson, 71, who noted officials took down his name but have yet to take him up on the offer. “I’m sure there are many people who felt the same way.”
Commissioners in Citrus County reportedly decided against spending the money to sustain the digital subscriptions for the Times, which was once the so-called paper of record but has seen its reputation wane due to charges of biased reporting, according to critics — one of whom is the President of the United States. President Trump regularly mocks the “failing” newspaper and derides much of the Times’ unflattering coverage of his administration as “fake news.”
The Citrus County officials said they concurred with Trump.
“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,” Commissioner Scott Carnahan said before the Citrus County commission in October as other officials reportedly erupted with laughter. “They can take that money and do something else with it…I support Donald Trump.”
All five members agreed to reject the library’s request for digital subscriptions. Other commissioners reportedly criticized the Times, too, with one asking “Why the heck would we spend money on something like that?”
Advisory board chairwoman Sandy Price, however, had a different view.
“Someone’s personal political view does not have a place in deciding what library resources are available for the entire county,” Price told the Citrus County Chronicle. “Libraries have to ensure all points of view are represented.”
The commission eventually backtracked somewhat, with members telling the Chronicle they would re-examine the situation.
“Our decision should have been impartial, instead of having it become a personal thing,” Commissioner Brian Coleman told the paper.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.