***UPDATED – Times Free Press opinion page editor fired after posting scathing headline aimed at Obama

***UPDATE: Drew Johnson is adamant that he didn’t violate any rules. He says the new rules were created after people complained about the headline and applied retroactively:


Times Free Press opinion page editor was apparently fired for writing a scathing article to Obama, telling him to “Take your jobs plan and shove it…” And according to Drew Johnson, it was the paper’s most-read article ever:

The paper claims they fired him for violating the “normal editing procedures” (emphasis mine):

Free Press editor Drew Johnson has been terminated after placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures.

Johnson’s headline, “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,” appeared on the Free Press page Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama visited the city.

The headline was inappropriate for this newspaper. It was not the original headline approved for publication, and Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline. 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.

So they didn’t like the ‘inappropriate’ headline. Sounds to me like there was more to it, after all the article reflected the headline quite well. And as we all know in this business, good headlines bring in the bacon and bad headlines make you wish you had a good headline.

Johnson refutes this claim though, saying they change their headlines all the time at the last minute:

The article is FANTASTIC and a must read, especially for those in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Here’s a portion below:

President Obama,

Welcome to Chattanooga, one of hundreds of cities throughout this great nation struggling to succeed in spite of your foolish policies that limit job creation, stifle economic growth and suffocate the entrepreneurial spirit.

Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests. You see, we understand you are in town to share your umpteenth different job creation plan during your time in office. If it works as well as your other job creation programs, then thanks, but no thanks. We’d prefer you keep it to yourself.

That’s because your jobs creation plans so far have included a ridiculous government spending spree and punitive tax increase on job creators that were passed, as well as a minimum wage increase that, thankfully, was not. Economists — and regular folks with a basic understanding of math — understand that these are three of the most damaging policies imaginable when a country is mired in unemployment and starving for job growth.

Even though 64 percent of Chattanooga respondents said they would rather you hadn’t chosen to visit our fair city, according to a survey on the Times Free Press website, it’s probably good that you’re here. It will give you an opportunity to see the failure of your most comprehensive jobs plan to date, the disastrous stimulus scheme, up close and personal.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 helped fund the Gig to Nowhere project, a $552 million socialist-style experiment in government-owned Internet, cable and phone services orchestrated by EPB — Chattanooga’s government-owned electric monopoly.

KEEP READING…the article gets better and better until it ends.

Comment Policy: Please read our comment policy before making a comment. In short, please be respectful of others and do not engage in personal attacks. Otherwise we will revoke your comment privileges.