OPINION: Pensacola News Journal Caught in Lies

Posted on July 25, 2021 by EDITORIAL BOARD

Gulf Coast Gun Owner Chris Smith pictured at the podium during a 2021 county commission meeting.

Santa Rosa County Administrator Dan Schebler isn’t the only one who has been busted for telling a lie when he said Santa Rosa County didn’t receive state road money because the state ran out of funding. Pensacola News Journal on July 24 also told a whopper or two!

PNJ’s story about lengthy county commission meetings by Santa Rosa County Reporter Annie Blanks falsely claimed Gulf Coast Gun Owner Chris Smith “sold a line of T-shirts at his store that read ‘Colten Wright shops at Baby Gap and it ain’t in Santa Rosa County.'”

Smith’s attorney will address that bald-faced lie.

What we want to address is what led to PNJ getting their story wrong, and it involves allegations of bias against Santa Rosa County’s staunchly conservative community. 

Smith says he declined to give PNJ an interview because of how he believes that newspaper doesn’t give Santa Rosa County citizens a fair shake. He told South Santa Rosa News that PNJ called him to discuss his “distrust” of the Santa Rosa County Commission for a story, and he asked if PNJ had also heard of his “distrust” for them. However, PNJ conveniently left out that last part. 

“Smith declined to talk to the News Journal for this story,” stated PNJ.

Perhaps when he declined to give the interview PNJ should have found another target instead of pressing forward and getting their story wrong. 

On Friday, Blanks sent a farewell letter to Commissioners and others, stating she’s leaving PNJ August 6.

“Since I’ve established close professional relationships with all of you over the past 3 years I’ve been covering Santa Rosa, I just wanted to take the time to let you know of my departure, but also to thank you for your public service and showing me how local government truly works,” she wrote, also thanking them for their help to “make sure that I’m up to speed on county happenings and understand how things work.”

Apparently those “close” relationships not only made it convenient for Blanks to do her job but also seemingly contributed toward what appears to be a general bias toward the county and against those who show it opposition. 

Sounds like collusion to me! When government and mass media work together to promote agendas and attack others, that creates a huge problem for the taxpayers, especially conservative tax payers who seem to be targeted by the mostly liberal media.

Blanks’ farewell letter also mentioned a 9-hour commission meeting. In her story today, Blanks said that July 13 meeting was “eaten up” by a three-hour public forum. 

Everyone who has attended commission meetings during the past year knows that dozens of citizens, limited to speaking four minutes each, show up for public forums. It’s not a “small few” as PNJ tries to falsely claim.

Wake up, PNJ. You are seemingly biased against Santa Rosa’s Conservative community. 

Santa Rosa County voter registration shows that out of around 150,000 voters, nearly 60 percent, about 90,000, are Republican. Only about 18 percent are Democrat and NPAs make up roughly 24 percent.

Yet, PNJ tries to make it sound like only a “few” citizens are upset with Santa Rosa County.

That’s simply untrue. 

Additionally, in our opinion, PNJ has also failed to cover the whole truth about the Waste Pro and racial allegations involving Santa Rosa County staff.

In closing, we will leave you with the letter to the editor submitted to us by the Waste Pro whistleblower, Natasha Borneo, who says Blanks told her that PNJ’s publisher “killed” her story. 


I am very sad as a woman to see another woman not comfortable with who she is as a person and being controlled by others to exist.

Ms. Blanks used her platform to provide false inaccurate information about me. As a woman, she should of used that opportunity to empower another woman by printing the truth. 
Ms. Blanks contacted me back late June early July to interview me about the Waste Pro debacle. In her own words that story was killed by her publisher but then she turned around and tried to smear me by giving the citizens of SRC the impression that I am a gossiper and attack others on Facebook.
I use my Facebook content to inspire others. I use my energy to add value.
I do hope that on Ms. Blanks path forward that she finds her true purpose and use her platform to print the #truth
Thanks to South Santa Rosa News and Romi White for doing just that, she keeps transparency on the forefront something that is lacking with our current Leadership in our County.
Natasha Borneo