Tennessee Newspaper Editor Fired for Op-Ed Critical of Obama

By:  Dave Bohon
08/06/2013
       
Tennessee Newspaper Editor Fired for Op-Ed Critical of Obama

An editor at a Tennessee newspaper was fired over an op-ed piece that included a headline that was too frank for his publishers.

Drew Johnson, who was the editorial page editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press until earlier this week, penned an editorial critical of President Obama's jobs-creation schemes that included a “ridiculous government spending spree and punitive tax increase” — but no jobs to speak of, Johnson wrote.

The piece coincided with a visit by the president to the city, which Johnson wrote was probably a good thing, since it would give Obama “an opportunity to see the failure of your most comprehensive jobs plan to date, the disastrous stimulus scheme, up close and personal.”

That scheme included a failed federally funded “Project to Nowhere,” Johnson wrote, “a $552 million socialist-style experiment in government-owned Internet, cable and phone services orchestrated by EPB — Chattanooga’s government-owned electric monopoly.”

While Johnson's editorial ridicule of the boondoggle “economic stimulus” program was enough to get him into hot water with his liberal editors, it was the headline that actually got him fired — which read: “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough.”

Johnson was fired after the editorial went viral across the Internet, drawing national attention just as Obama was visiting Chattanooga. The newspaper later released a statement explaining that Johnson had been ousted for “placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures.”

But Johnson said that had the headline been used on, say, former President George Bush, there would have been no problem. In fact, he told Fox News, the requirement that last-minute changes to headlines be approved up the editorial ladder was only implemented after his piece was published.

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