Three Escambia County Commissioners were sworn into office today–Lumon May, Steven Barry and Wilson Robertson, who told the packed house that this would be his final term. May and Barry thanked their family and supporters and talked about looking forward to serving.
Robertson, however, asked for extended time to go after the Pensacola News Journal for its coverage of him over the hiring of Forest Gibbs and for the Independent News for “crucifying” Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas.
Robertson accused the daily newspaper of going after him because he didn’t support county consolidation. He said that the county was in much better financial shape than the city of Pensacola.
He stated that he had attended a luncheon and that Gannett, owner of the Pensacola News Journal, had a “woman from corporate” who, according to Robertson, said that the only way Gannett could survive the Internet was to go after local officials. He accused the media of creating news.
The commissioner also said that the daily newspaper didn’t quote him accurately and that often he didn’t recognize his responses when the News Journal printed them. He said that one PNJ reporter told him, “We don’t care if it’s the truth as long as it’s a quote.” He praised the work of the PNJ’s new government reporter, Nate Monroe, and appeared to be pointing the finger at Jamie Page, who now works in Nashville, Tenn.
Robertson said the media had tried to destroy the Touart family (George Touart will be the interim county administrator as of Dec. 1). He said that the daily newspaper had also tried to destroy the Gibbs family.
The Independent News didn’t escape his wrath. Robertson cited our paper for its coverage of Malcolm Thomas saying that the paper was crucifying one of the finest superintendents this county has ever had. “They claim to have no sacred cows, but when they put x’s on someone’s back, you better watch out. They can’t sell the paper…they have to give it away.”
Robertson received loud applause when he finished.