Newspaper Editorial Writer Fired Over ‘Shove It, Mr. President’ Headline

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Chattanooga Times Free Press has fired one of its editorial page editors after he changed the headline on a column critical of President Obama.

According to the paper (http://bit.ly/18Pt2WQ ), the headline read, “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough.”

The headline appeared Tuesday, the day Obama visited Chattanooga to introduce a jobs plan.

Editor Alison Gerber said the decision to fire Drew Johnson had nothing to do with the editorial’s content. She said Johnson had been warned numerous times not to make changes without his editor’s consent.

Johnson disputed that during a phone interview Thursday night, saying it was common practice to make such changes to what he called a “placeholder headline.” He also said the headline he wrote was left online for two days.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press has two editorial pages, one conservative and one liberal. The headline appeared on the conservative Free Press editorial page.


From the Chattanooga Times-Free Press story:

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.