The editorial-page editor of a leading Tennessee newspaper has been fired for running a derogatory headline slamming President Barack Obama.
Over an editorial about Obama's visit to Tennessee to promote his employment and economic proposals, The Chattanooga Times Free Press
splashed the headline: "Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough."
That proved too much for the paper’s owners. They terminated editor Drew Johnson.
“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 Free Press told its readers Thursday.
"[Our] 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."
Johnson, who had been editorial-page editor for 14 months, was stunned by the dismissal.
"I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper's most-read article," he wrote on his Twitter account.
The newspaper explained it has two separate opinion pages — one liberal and one conservative — and "places high value on expressions of divergent opinion. …"
But, it added, it "will not permit violations of its standards."
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, one of the South's leading newspapers, called Johnson's headline "rude" and "downright hostile."
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