Times Free Press Officials Deny They Yielded To Political Pressure In Firing Editor Drew Johnson; Claim He Wanted To Tout Benefits Of Pornography

Friday, August 2, 2013

Chattanooga Times Free Press officials denied they yielded to political pressure in firing editor Drew Johnson.

The reason given for the firing was a headline he wrote relating to Tuesday's visit to Chattanooga by President Obama.

TFP officials also claimed they had to block Mr. Johnson recently "from touting the benefits of pornography."

Mr. Johnson, since the surprise termination on Thursday, has made a round of TV and radio talk shows giving his version of the firing.

The firing has made news from the Associated Press to the Drudge Report and Huffington Post.

Chattanooga Times Free Press officials said, "Contrary to statements made by former Free Press editor Drew Johnson and national media reports, Johnson was told on multiple prior occasions not to make material changes to editorials or headlines once they were approved by the editor responsible for the page.

"On Monday night, Johnson changed the approved headline on his Tuesday editorial from, 'Keep your jobs plan to yourself, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough already' to 'Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough.'

"However, he waited until his editor had left for the day before changing the headline. That is a violation of our clear editing practice, and our trust. He admitted the following day that he failed to follow the standard set for him.

"The language he chose was vulgar and not appropriate for this newspaper. Even Johnson himself admitted that the headline was 'harsh and perhaps crass to a fault' in an editorial he wrote for this Sunday, which will not run.

"Johnson’s firing was not about yielding to political pressure. He was not fired for writing an editorial criticizing President Barack Obama. The body of the editorial was approved for publication; only the headline was changed.

"The newspaper has allowed Johnson to write his opinions freely and without censorship during the time he worked here – even when he wrote about very controversial topics that many readers complained about. In the past year we have printed at least 46 editorials critical of Obama on the Free Press page.

"In fact the only instance when the Times Free Press ever denied Johnson the freedom to present his views was last week when he referred to pornography as a “miracle product” and touted the benefits of pornography stating that if teenagers watched pornography it would result in lower rates of teenage pregnancy.

"The Times Free Press values having two editorial pages to express both conservative and liberal views. We encourage differing viewpoints and dissent, we believe having competing views makes community stronger. We expect those debates to be respectful."




Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AKINS, NICKIE NELSON  101 E 20TH ST CHATTANOOGA, 37408  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: Federal Marshall Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- AKRIDGE, JERTERRIUS MARSHAWN  3925 CAMILLA DR CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 23 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

County Issuing Up To $235 Million In Bonds - Mainly For School Projects

Hamilton County plans to issue up to $235 million in general obligation bonds with the funds mainly to go to county school projects. The County Commission earlier approved a property tax increase to support the bond issue. Finance Director Al Kiser said there will be a 20-day waiting period in which taxpayers can protest the issuance. He said the county will prepare an ... (click for more)

Technology: The Virtual Drug

The truth is you're probably reading this on a mobile device or your computer. As a matter of fact, I’m typing this down on a MacBook Pro. The point is technology is everywhere. It engulfs like a tsunami engulfs a village, only a few ever escape. In fact, it took me two hours to start this paper because I was so hypnotized by phone, checking my Instagram and seeing what the next ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Let’s Focus On ‘Better’

As I stepped away from the overflow crowd at  Monday  night’s Town Council meeting on Signal Mountain, I leaned in to tell Jean Trohanis how sorry I was to hear of the loss of her dearest friend. But in that millisecond before I could speak, the former but still-loved elementary school principal gave me her best hallway hiss and, with a pointed finger, she ordered, “You ... (click for more)

Hayes Surpasses 1,000 Points As Lady Canes Beat Walker Valley 54-43

East Hamilton sophomore Madison Hayes scored 17 points in a 54-43 victory at Walker County in Cleveland on Tuesday night and pushed her career scoring past the 1,000-point mark in the process. Hayes scored a team-high 19 points Friday in a 52-40 victory over Notre Dame in the East-West Classic, giving her 996 points in her career, including eighth-grade and freshman seasons ... (click for more)

Will Healy Selected as FCS Coach of the Year

For Will Healy, receiving Christmas presents early seems to be a habit with the 32-year-old Chattanooga native Now in only his second year as head football coach of the Austin Peay Governors, he has been selected as the FCS Coach of the Year as he guided APU to an 8-4 record this season. He was hired as APU had coach Dec. 19, 2015, was a member of the Richmond Spiders ... (click for more)