Chattanooga Times Free Press fires editor over 'take your jobs plan and shove it' headline

Chattanooga Times Free Press fires editor over 'take your jobs plan and shove it' headline

Free speechIt’s looking more and more as though freedom of the press is coming under attack in Obama’s America.

On Thursday, the Chattanooga Times Free Press announced it fired Drew Johnson, the editor who wrote a headline on an editorial telling Barack Obama to “take his jobs plan and shove it,” saying he operated “outside of normal editing procedures.”

The story, titled, “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,” appeared on the paper Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama visited the city.

The paper said it was “inappropriate,” and not the headline approved for publication.

“The newspaper’s decision to terminate Johnson had nothing to do with the content of the editorial, which criticized the president’s job creation ideas and Chattanooga’s Smart Grid. The Free Press page has often printed editorials critical of the president and his policies,” the Times Free Press said.

“I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper’s most-read article,” he tweeted, adding the termination comes just two weeks before his wedding.

We covered Johnson’s article here, and the Drudge Report — a very popular news site — also picked it up, meaning that it received a great deal of exposure.

Johnson questioned the paper’s decision, saying in another tweet that the publication frequently changes headlines all the time.

In his view, the original headline “stunk” and he got inspiration from the classic Johnny Paycheck song, “Take this job and shove it.”

Worse yet, Johnson said the policy he reportedly broke “did not exist” when he changed the headline.

“It was created after people complained about the headline & was applied retroactively,” he tweeted.

Conservative commenter Dana Loesch said in a tweet that Johnson was fired because the paper “disliked his column which took issue with Obama economic policy.”

Johnson also told The Blaze Thursday that he was never made aware of a headline approval “procedure” during his tenure as the opinion page editor.

Johnson believes the headline became an issue because it involved Obama.

“There were definitely some Obama supporters upset that I would dare criticize great leader,” he told The Blaze. “But the majority of calls I got were overwhelmingly supportive…Most of Chattanooga is conservative.”

Johnson’s termination sparked a great deal of conversation on the paper’s Facebook page, mostly by people taking the Times Free Press to task for firing an opinion page editor.

“Free Press means free to print as long as The Politburo approves it right?” one person asked.

“You have FREE PRESS in your name but someone get’s fired for their opinion. WOW,” added another person.

“So…fired the guy who wrote his opinions against the President? That’s cool…. Free Press? Right,” opined another Facebook user.

Several called for a boycott of the paper and others said they were canceling their subscriptions.

Johnson, who said he never dreamed his firing would make the Drudge Report, promised to continue defending liberty and free market principles wherever he ends up.


Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.


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