Editor Fired for Anti-Obama Headline Says Bosses Caved to Pressure

Saturday, 03 Aug 2013 05:43 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Tennessee editor canned for a headline critical of President Obama says his bosses caved into pressure from the president's supporters -- but tweeted Saturday there'd been "positives from this experience."

Drew Johnson, the former editorial page editor at The Chattanooga Times Free Press, told Fox News he was thinking of the 1977 blue-collar anthem by the late Johnny Paycheck -- Take This Job And Shove It -- and believed it "apt" to replace a headline over his editorial criticizing the president's new job plan announced in Chattanooga earlier this week.

Johnson was fired for "placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures."

Johnson denied that to Fox News, saying the policy, which requires that last-minute changes to headline be approved, was implemented after the headline ran, and calling it a "retroactive firing."

"(The editor) said that she was disappointed in the headline, that she thought it was crass and she'd gotten a lot of complaints by Obama supporters," he said, recalling a meeting he had with the editor earlier in the week.

Johnson argues that the executives at the paper, though criticizing the headline, left the story up online as it drew increased Internet traffic.

"I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper's most-read article," he tweeted, then added later: "To answer a question I've gotten a lot: I feel confident that if the headline had referenced Bush instead of Obama, I would still have a job."

The newspaper countered it has printed editorials critical of Obama and his policies in the past.
On Saturday, Johnson was upbeat about the experience.

"Positives from this experience:Support & new friends I've made, I'll end up w/ a better job," he tweeted. "I have time to lose 5 more lbs before wedding."

One reader outraged at the firing called the firing "censorship."

"Perhaps he might get a reprimand, but his job, no. Even though you tout your policy of publishing opposing views, this action certainly is an indicator of the current liberal media bias and intolerance prevalent in this nation."

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