The Firing Of An Editor - And Response (14)

Thursday, August 1, 2013
So let me get this straight- as long as an editor writes an opinion headline of your choosing then everything is hunky dory, huh? 

You guys are a joke.

Trent Adkison

* * *

Just when I believed the Times Free Press was recovering from decades of raindrops on roses journalism, commonly known as the Griscomesk Period of nothingness, they evoke another round of self-destructive business model.


Let’s face it, how many foundation art events can one newspaper publish and be interesting?  That is exactly the problem with the Times Frees Press - they are simply b-o-r-i-n-g. While our local governments engage in bid and contract fraud, cut land deals with friends, let me assure you, the Times Free Press is checking whose toes they may step on, instead of facts.


I don’t believe for one minute Drew Johnson was terminated for changing a story headline for which he had editorial authority to do.  I think his stories on local corruption ruffled the foundation feathers, and the Times Free Press was just looking for an opportunity.

Real journalism is not for the cowards at the Times Free Press.  They are too afraid to report the truth. 

Cowards not newspaper.

April Eidson

* * *

It had been decades since I had read a Free Press editorial without shaking my head, usually in dismay that the then-editor purported to represent Chattanoogans. In fact, I rarely read the right-side editorials until Drew Johnson was hired - not because of my liberal leanings but because those editorials tended to be simply extended rants. I was curious to see what Johnson brought to the discussion. I was quite surprised to find myself nodding to myself as I read many of his editorials, not because I agreed with him in most cases but because of his ability to present his take on classic conservatism, not the neo-conservatism that relies on hate and scripture (usually inappropriately applied to the topic at hand). 

I certainly agree that the headline could be perceived as inappropriate, but I doubt that was the sole motivation behind his firing. After all, surely there are other eyes on what's being published. I'll miss the often thought-provoking editorials. I certainly hope that the right side of the paper doesn't revert to what it was until a year ago.

Patty Streip 

* * *

It was too good to be true. After years of turgid mediocrity, the Chattanooga Free Press finally found itself a smart young editorialist who could not only write a coherent English sentence, but brought to the right-side editorial section a sense of clarity and fresh ideas. Agree with Drew? Not too much, but enough so that I was amazed at myself.

I was not at all happy with Drew's choice of words in the headline that ostensibly got him fired, but I sensed he was using his words to powerfully underscore his basic conservative message.  To hire a bright person as a chief editorialist and then not allow him freedom to exercise his craft is downright stupid.  Alas, it once more confirmed to me the inherent backwardness of the newspaper's conservative owners.

One commentor wrote, "I don’t believe for one minute Drew Johnson was terminated for changing a story headline for which he had editorial authority to do.  I think his stories on local corruption ruffled the foundation feathers, and the Times Free Press was just looking for an opportunity."

There may be some truth in that.  I also feel that it is likely that Drew shook up those who relished hearing the same old stodgy incoherent poop that Lee Anderson doled out for far too many years. And that was his undoing.

I for one shall miss him.

Everett Kidder

* * *

Tabloid journalism belongs in tabloids.  Subscriptions will be renewed.

Michael Mallen

* * *

The Chattanooga Times proudly stamps C Bennett's cartoon drivel on its pages despite the many complaints here in the Bible Belt and yet the Times fires a very talented editor just because he doesn't drink their Kool-Aid. 

Ironic that "Drew's Views" got him fired. I suggest instead a more accurate heading should have been used. How about "Drew's Censored Views" ? 

 By the way, when did NBC buy the Times?

Michael Burns

* * *

Things happen for reasons. Was there so much corruption in Chattanooga that Drew Johnson's next stop may be just what the doctor ordered, a blessing? Hopefully he finds a pulpit so large and powerful that those that think they have accomplished something with his dismissal, and brag about it, will miss the days when he only had a local, not so large, voice.  

I have never met you and didn't always agree, but you are a brave soul and I admire that. Good things happen to good people, so best wishes, Drew, and we will be looking forward to your vibrant insight in the future, on the big stage, and never forget the political corruption and incest you may have witnessed in Chattanooga.

P.S. Do you know anyone with the television show, American Greed, wink, wink? 

Joe Blevins

* * *

Finally. Drew never figured out how to disagree without being disagreeable.

Bob Lyons

* * *

Drew Johnson and I didn't see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I respected his consistency.  I also respected his willingness to afflict the comfortable. To look behind the curtain, so to speak.   

His headline was over the top, but I don't for a minute believe that's why he got fired.  I guess I'll go to The Mirror from now on for hard-hitting local news.  Or the Chattanooga Bystander.  They're both free.

Melissa Cantrell

Signal Mountain

* * *

Honestly, I wasn't a big fan or even an avid reader of the former editor's column.  I did read that one that got him fired, though, and remarked that it was the first time I agreed with anything much this newspaper published since the 1980's.  

If he got fired for speaking his opinion, perhaps the newspaper has become irrelevant.  That is what they are for; opinion and editorial, as well as factual news (at least that is what I thought).  

I am sure the former editor will find a better place, and I am sure intelligent people will continue to find news when they need it.  I am not sure I would suggest the local newspaper if they are seeking the truth.  

Ted R. Wells

* * *

Did I agree with Drew Johnson?  Much of the time absolutely not.  Did I read and enjoy his views?  Absolutely.

A wonderful breath of fresh air to a paper, or side of a paper, that needed CPR.  Didn't agree with his column that "got him fired".  But he presented and supported his thoughts well and made the readers do the same, agree or disagree.  Will miss him a lot and wish him well.

Michael Lawrence

* * *

Firing the Free Press editor over a headline not pleasing to Obama? Please guys, let's get back to the 1st Amendment. If you're going to start firing people for their views, you need to start with your cartoonist. His stuff is not only offensive; he doesn't know what he's talking about.

We subscribe to the weekend edition of the Free Press, basically for the comics, but we could probably get our comics elsewhere if we really need to.

Phillip Haymaker

* * *

I was finally able to read “reason, intellect and truth” from an editor. And for him speaking “truth” he get’s fired?  

Well, I’ve had enough of the CTP. I call for a boycott. I’m done. How about you? 

Debbie Davis-Peck


* * *

Look, it was a stupid headline to a legitimate editorial.  Reading between the lines, there is little doubt that this is only the latest incidence of complete insubordination.  It's also telling that this editorial was about a plan which had yet to be unveiled.   Personally I thought his editorials resembled Congressional press releases by arrogant rookies.  Not that such distinction matters in newspaper journalism anymore. 

But the criticism of bias among the paper's management is also valid.  Fortunately, Harry Austin is gone so we don't have to read his vitriolic personal attacks, although that went on for decades.  What about the completely inappropriate and over-the-top cartoons?  Bennett is full of the hate and anger which he crusades to oppose.  So much for tolerance and inclusion.

Tom Sullivan

* * *

I'd like to add a reply.

When Mr. Johnson flip-flopped his endorsement for the state senate - on the eve of the election, no less - I lost all confidence in his judgment. A high school newspaper editor would be more professional.

Gary Wood

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