Commissioner Wilson Robertson Blasts Media, PNJ At His Swearing In

November 21, 2012

After being sworn in for a second consecutive term Tuesday, Escambia County District 1 Commissioner Wilson Robertson launched a 10 minute attack on the media as the county’s “worst enemy”, in particular targeting the Pensacola News Journal.

“I am going to have my last say, because this is my last time to be sworn it,” Robertson said.

He started by thanking God, his wife and family, numerous supporters and the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Ethics Commission for his re-election.

Robertson was the subject of several stories in the Pensacola News Journal about his alleged actions behind the scene that would lead to his longtime friend Forrest Gibbs being named director of the Escambia County Equestrian Center. Subsequent investigations by the State Attorney’s Office and Florida Ethics Commission  found no wrongdoing.

“By the way, if you did not know that, there was a little bitty script in the back of the paper that said that, but there were eight front page headlines…about the crimes I had committed.” One of those headlines, he said, was above the PNJ’s headline about the capture of Muammar Gaddafi. “I did not know I was worse than a terrorist.”

“I do know why the News Journal did not like me for one thing,” he said. “I was a strong, strong opponent with having this county one city like Jacksonville. I’ll guarantee you one thing…the county of Escambia is in 10 times better financial condition than the City of Pensacola. And if you’d paid the extra 4.9 mils out in the unincorporated areas if that had passed, you wouldn’t be very happy.”

Robertson said the county’s worst enemy right now is the media. His media assault included the national media for their coverage of the BP oil spill.

He then turned his attention back to the Pensacola News Journal, saying he attended a luncheon with a “woman from corporate” from Gannett, the parent company of the newspaper.  He said she asked, “how are we going to survive, the print media today, versus the Internet?”

“You know what they decided?  This lady was willing to share it at this meeting…she probably did not know who Wilson Robertson was,” the commissioner said. “The only way we are going to continue to sell papers is to go after local elected officials and public leaders and bring out everything we can about them because the public loves to read that.”

“Folks, I don’t mind you printing news, but don’t go out and create the news,” he said.

He said a PNJ reporter told him, “It doesn’t have to be the truth if we are quoting someone…we don’t care if it’s the truth.”

Robertson said the PNJ tried to destroy the Touart family (George Touart will be the interim county administrator as of December 1.). He also accused the PNJ of destroying  the Gibbs family, “an honorable family”, and Sheriff David Morgan,  who “refuses to give the News Journal an interview”.

Robertson did offer compliments to Nate Monroe, the current PNJ government reporter, and then blasted Jamie Page, who is no longer employed the PNJ.

“I want to hit the Independent News,” he said near the conclusion of his remarks, accusing the Independent News of targeting School Superintendent Malcolm Thomas.

In a published story on the newspaper’s website Tuesday, Pensacola News Journal Managing Editor Ginny Graybiel said Robertson’s claims were “ludicrous”. She said Robertson’s comments about the corporate Gannett executive were “not true”.

“Commissioner Robertson wove today a conspiracy to create a boogie man–the Pensacola News Journal–to explain his problems with the public,” Independent News Publisher Rick Outzen said in a story published on his blog Tuesday night, adding that Robertson’s claims of a PNJ vendetta against him over consolidation were “ridiculous”.

“As for our paper, Malcolm Thomas and me, we don’t deal in political careers -could care less about them. We review, investigate, analyze and criticize our job performances of local elected officials,” Outzen wrote.

Robertson did not specifically mention or any other prominent  local media such was WEAR 3 or News Radio 1620 in any of his comments.

Pictured top: Escambia County District 1 Commissioner Wilson Robertson is sworn in Tuesday morning. Photo for, click to enlarge.


29 Responses to “Commissioner Wilson Robertson Blasts Media, PNJ At His Swearing In”

  1. Susan on November 25th, 2012 10:39 pm

    The good ole boy system is still alive and well in Escambia County. The word “Republican” is not a good enough reason for me to vote for these fellows. Most of them were Dixiecrats not long ago. I do not believe that they are liberals either. Just opportunists in a political arena.

  2. Cagey on November 24th, 2012 7:19 am

    AMEN Soggybob!

  3. The Patriot on November 23rd, 2012 7:47 am

    Mr Robertson, It sounds like it is time to put your big boy pants on. You have elected to serve the people of your district and Escambia County so DEAL WITH IT.

  4. Never happy on November 22nd, 2012 3:24 pm

    This county will never be happy with their elected officials no matter who they are, and the funniest thing is, is they are ELECTED.
    The people is this county need to learn to take responsibility for their own lives and their own community and stop blaming our elected officials for everything. Get over yourselves.

  5. Sandra on November 22nd, 2012 8:55 am

    I find it incredibly ironic that PNJ and INWeekly both endorsed Wilson Robertson for re-election!! HaHaHA! You get what you asked for! These clowns are going to run our town into the ground!

  6. Jacqueline on November 21st, 2012 11:44 pm

    This was not the venue for Robertson to be ranting. He really was inappropriate to hog all the time and attention from the new commissioners. And I guess his quote about “quoting someone didn’t have to be true” was appropriate because, according to the PNJ, it never happened. Lol Classic

    I don’t remember anyone bringing up Touart’s family except for Touart himself, bragging about his family being here for generations (and of course, Comm. Robertson emphasizing that again.)

    Criticizing George Touart as the awful administrator that he was is not “dragging his family through the mud.” Touart should have thought about his family name when he did some of these things. He lied about the catfish pond, he was taped making a deal for his retirement, and a lot of other things. Is everyone supposed to ignore these things because of ‘who he is’ in the community? I hate that mentality.

    Explain to the public why on earth hiring Touart was a good thing. Even if you believed that he was perfectly innocent (hard to do), you had to know it would breed an air of distrust. If you guys know something that the public doesn’t, why not tell us. His health and his need of retirement and insurance benefits was not enough. There are a lot of citizens in need of that.

    There must be more to it.

  7. Henry Coe on November 21st, 2012 11:17 pm

    Being that much of the staff at PNJ has changed, I’m not sure Wilson Robinson has a point.
    I think it is important for journalist to do their jobs and they shouldn’t feel threatened about doing their jobs.

    Robinson has probably inadvertently motivated someone with a magnifying glass that they are going to keep focused on him. Just sayin’.

  8. David Huie Green on November 21st, 2012 6:42 pm

    Wilson’s usually a good fellow, so we can assume something had him upset.

    Or perhaps he was trying to help the Pensacola News Journal sell papers by lambasting them.

  9. Friction against the machine on November 21st, 2012 6:00 pm

    Sounds as If this commissioner doesn’t want a free press criticizing his actions. He should run in the Atmore area were objective journalism is only found in the academic textbooks of college.

  10. Hammer on November 21st, 2012 4:03 pm

    explain why you voted for the gas tax ?the people in the north get no use out of the bus system so why should we have to pay

  11. Hammer on November 21st, 2012 3:43 pm

    mr.roberson the gas tax you voted for isa bust for the citizens of the north end of esc. county will be buying my gas in al. or santa rosa county

  12. deBugger on November 21st, 2012 3:32 pm

    So I guess that makes us (and co-conspirators & accessories to all the heinous acts of the other news outlets, since we have now gone on record as recognizing the sham of a mockery of a conjob that GOBs like Wilson make of local government.

  13. 429SCJ on November 21st, 2012 2:05 pm

    Would someone who voted for this joker please enlighten us. What do you see in such a person, that you would vote for him.

  14. molino jim on November 21st, 2012 1:54 pm

    There is to be a fund raiser this weekend for Wilson. This is to buy him a pacifier and a pair of big boy panties that he can pull up and do some honest county work. I wonder if the number of votes he won by tells him anything? Did the Gibbs block equal the wining number of votes? Also what happen to the property that was to be fenced or cleared by Forest or Wilson? I have a neighbor who needs a job, I wonder if he can get him on the county payroll?

  15. Soggybob on November 21st, 2012 1:28 pm

    These days people run as Republicans just to get people to vote for them.
    Robertson is a typical Socialist. Blame everything on someone else and don’t mention his own corruption.
    I’m sure he is not ashamed of himself. People like him have no shame.
    Like Obama however is is a world class liar.

  16. Frank on November 21st, 2012 9:35 am

    GraceF… there was a recall vote, “It was called Nov. 6th election”
    He won, get over it!

  17. Molino Mom on November 21st, 2012 9:22 am

    Sounds like case of dementia starting here. This was supposed to be just a swearing in, not a platform for his political beliefs. So simple.

  18. GRAHAM SMITH on November 21st, 2012 8:31 am

    Read about Roberson and was interested in the comments that followed, I am not a resident of Escambia county, but lived in Pensacola for over 30 ears after retiring from Navy. I keep in touch as I have a son living there.
    What caught my eye was the comment from representative from Gannet who said “The only way we are going to continue to sell papers is to go after local elected officials and public leaders and bring out everything we can about them because the public loves to read that.”
    Is this the model for journalism these days? I thought the media was supposed to show the TRUTH, no adhere to mudslinging.

  19. xpeecee on November 21st, 2012 8:16 am

    I just want to hear him explain why he voted for a gas tax!!!

  20. shiloh on November 21st, 2012 7:59 am

    Looked up JERK in the dictionary. Had a picture of robertson. What a self centered LIAR!

  21. citizen on November 21st, 2012 7:59 am

    Wilson, you are a liar. If you expect us to think that you didn’t help your ole buddy out getting that job, I’ve got some ground Zero property to sell you. How you got elected again is beyond me. Don’t think you’re going to go out with the respect from us. Enjoy your last term and be on your way. You will not be missed by us.

  22. GraceF on November 21st, 2012 7:50 am

    I actually laughed out loud at his comments! Too bad it’s no laughing matter for us residents or those poor people who applied for that job at the equestrian center. Doesn’t matter if no legal wrong-doing happened, his actions were wrong. If I lived in his district, I’d start a recall election. He is just the type we do not need in power. And then to blame the messager (the media)! Media are just telling people what these guys are doing who are elected by us. I haven’t seen such arrogance..
    I am so disgusted with him and the rest of the commission. Taxes? Touart? My blood pressure is rising.

  23. well on November 21st, 2012 7:37 am

    Wilson and the Mullet Wraper, what a pair.
    Those that are unhappy with breathing for themselves, or anything else…….
    Try moving to Alabama
    They have a state tax you can enjoy, along with their gas tax.

  24. Jimbo on November 21st, 2012 7:17 am

    What’s harder to believe is that Robinson was re-elected. Wilson, if you can’t stand the heat, leave the kitchen. Don’t tell us that this debacle with Forrest Gibbs was not worthy of ink in the media. You and your ilk make me want to move to another community

  25. Bob on November 21st, 2012 6:45 am

    I don’t believe Robertson, Touart and Thomas are good for the county . I did not vote for Thomas. Robertson not in my district. There part of the good old boy system. I don’t believe there intensions are for the interest of all in the county. If you subject yourself to public office and you don’t like what’s reported about you and want defend yourself get out of the public office. That whining and complaining and no responce about what’s reported about you prove them wrong. Or go away.

  26. Cheryl on November 21st, 2012 6:22 am

    My Way or the Highway kind of guy….. I’m sure he’s loving all the attention today. All puffed up and righteous.

  27. Fairlane on November 21st, 2012 6:08 am

    I’ll agree that the PNJ is a sleazy, inaccurate, lame excuse for a newspaper. It’s also true that many of the yellow journalists who work there are more interested in pushing a sensationalized personal agenda than they are reporting the news.

    However… the PNJ has never raised taxes less than two weeks after winning re-election while having the nerve to claim it’s a “conservative Republican”. That’s WAY worse than anything the PNJ has ever done by a mile…

  28. northendbratt on November 21st, 2012 5:42 am

    I bet if the PNJ had printed a raves review about Roberson he would have a ten minute rant about how great the paper is. So glad this is his last term, we have enough whiners!

  29. 429SCJ on November 21st, 2012 4:02 am

    Looking forward to enjoying that farewell address in 2016.

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