The Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial page editor who criticized President Obama’s jobs plan by telling the president to “shove it” is now out of a job.
Drew Johnson’s editorial, titled “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,” went viral and drew national attention earlier this week when Obama visited the city.
Johnson, who had been with the newspaper for just over a year, addressed his firing with a classic comment on Twitter.
“I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper’s most-read article,” he tweeted. “We change headlines all the time without incident or issue.”
Worse yet, Johnson said the policy he reportedly broke “did not exist” when he changed the headline.
“It was created after people complained about the headline & was applied retroactively,” he tweeted.
Johnson added: “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.”
Johnson said in multiple interviews the headline was a play on country musician Johnny Paycheck’s song “Take This Job and Shove It.”
In an interview with Fox News, he said his criticism of the president’s jobs plans was in line with the views of many readers, but his bosses were dealing with complaints.
“[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.
The newspaper released a statement Thursday saying Johnson had been fired for “placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures.”
“The headline was inappropriate for this newspaper,” the statement read. “It was not the original headline approved for publication, and Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline.”
The newspaper denied Johnson’s firing had anything to do with the content of his editorial.
“The Free Press page has often printed editorials critical of the president and his policies,” the newspaper stated.
“This newspaper places high value on expressions of divergent opinion, but will not permit violations of its standards.”
The newspaper has since removed the original “shove it” headline and replaced it with the generic line, “President Obama’s policies have harmed Chattanooga enough.”
As WND reported, the no-holds barred commentary greeted Barack Obama in an entirely new way as he traveled to Chattanooga, Tenn., to visit an Amazon.com business center and lobby for his newest strategy to try to create jobs for Americans.
“Forgive us if you are not greeted with the same level of Southern hospitality that our area usually bestows on its distinguished guests,” editors admonished.
“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,” the newspaper said. “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.”
At Amazon’s Chattanooga fulfillment center, Obama boasted of creating “7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months” because of the “grit and resilience of the American people.”
The newspaper noted “64 percent of Chattanooga respondents said they would rather you hadn’t chosen to visit our fair city,” but the editorial said it actually was good that Obama visited.
“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 editorial said.
Johnson’s termination was the talk of the paper’s Facebook page, with most visitors taking the newspaper to task for firing an opinion page editor.
“Free Press means free to print as long as the Politburo approves it, right?” one person asked.
“You have FREE PRESS in your name but someone get’s fired for their opinion. WOW,” added another person.
“So … fired the guy who wrote his opinions against the president? That’s cool. … Free Press? Right,” opined another Facebook user.
Johnson revealed via Twitter that his firing comes just two weeks before his wedding.
He vows to continue defending liberty and free-market principles when he lands another job.