Fledgling TFP Editorial Page Editor Hired To Be A “Flame Thrower,” He Tells Republican Group

Friday, August 24, 2012 - by Judy Frank
Pictured, left to right, are County Clerk Bill Knowles, Drew Johnson, Daphene Kirksey and Tommy Crangle, club president
Pictured, left to right, are County Clerk Bill Knowles, Drew Johnson, Daphene Kirksey and Tommy Crangle, club president
- photo by John Shackleford

Less than two months into his stint as one of the Chattanooga Times-Free Press’ two editorial page editors, Drew Johnson is already catching flak from some members of the conservative political groups he is openly courting. Thursday evening, for example, he was roundly criticized by Nightside Pachyderm Club members for withdrawing his endorsement of Republican state Senate candidate Greg Vital on the eve of the recent primary election – and writing a scathing column explaining his reasons for doing so.

Mr. Johnson stood his ground. “Greg went around and basically threatened people with his money . . . I don’t think that he is fiscally principled,” he told the club members.

Likewise, he said, he has the same complaint about Todd Gardenhire – who managed to squeak out a victory over Mr. Vital.

“I spoke with Todd and with Greg,” he said. “I like them both personally . . .  (but) I was displeased at both of them as a fiscal conservative.”

He sees similar flaws in many so-called conservatives, Mr. Johnson told the group. For example, “(apparent Republican nominee for vice president) Paul Ryan’s voting record is horrible . . . very liberal. He voted for auto bailouts, Medicare B . . . things no fiscally conservative person would support.”

Born in 1979 in Johnson City , Jason Andrew “Drew” Johnson has built his career on attack politics and he’s proud of it.

Thursday night, for example, he listed a litany of accomplishments he said he made during his tenure as head of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a think tank he founded to promote free market principles in the Volunteer State. He has also worked as a senior fellow for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.  

Thursday evening, addressing the Pachyderms, he was more circumspect than in some earlier pronouncements.

When he was brought in to replace longtime New-Free Press editorial page editor Lee Anderson, his new bosses were looking for a “flame-thrower,” he said.

“I see my role as making liberals really mad . . . and calling out Republicans who aren’t acting conservatively,” he told the group.

                   


TBI Launches Innovative Program To Protect Agents, Forensic Scientists From Fentanyl Risks

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched a program on Monday, to provide a potentially life-saving resource to its special agents who might come into contact with fentanyl. In recent years, law enforcement agencies across the country have reported an increase in exposure to the powerful and potentially deadly painkiller, primarily in heroin recoveries. In recent months, ... (click for more)

Police Say Man, 39, Dropped Off Girl, 14, For Sex At East Brainerd Motel

Police say a 39-year-old man dropped off a 14-year-old girl at an East Brainerd motel after an undercover officer arranged for sex. The office had answered an ad for escort services on the Internet site Backpage. John Harper Farmer Jr., of E. 5th Street, was charged with promoting prostitution, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and driving on a revoked license. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet!

Just moments before Florida would seal a football 10-9 victory over Tennessee in early October, the student section in Neyland Stadium stooped to a new low when it vociferously chanted, “F*** you, Florida! F*** you, Florida!” It was shocking, a loud and vulgar display of all that sportsmanship isn’t, and served as a great embarrassment to Knoxville and the university. Jimmy Cheek, ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)