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."



Cross Plains Police Officer Arrested On Charges Of Sexual Battery By Authority Figure

An investigation by   special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Robertson County School Resource Officer on charges of sexual battery by an authority figure.                                         At the request of 19 ... (click for more)

Shelby County Man Charged In Tipton County Double Homicide

An investigation by   special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and detectives with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the arrest of a second individual in connection with a double homicide in July. At the request of 25 th  District Attorney General Mike Dunavant, TBI special agents joined the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office in investigating ... (click for more)

Tennessee River Gorge Trust Trail Warriors Make You Want To Take A Hike

Trail warriors of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust make you want to take a hike.  The Tennessee River Gorge Trust staff and volunteers make a huge difference in the Chattanooga community and have been making the outdoor areas around the River Gorge clean and protected for more than 30 years.  They deserve to be recognized and praised for all of the hard work they have ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Our Schools Stink

Cheryl Roddy has spent her lifetime, for the biggest part, as a teacher for the Hamilton County Department of Education and, more specifically, at East Ridge High School. She has loved teaching there for nearly 40 years and is hardly “average;” she has her master's degree in education, was twice East Ridge’s teacher of the year, was the first teacher at East Ridge to reach the first ... (click for more)

Wilson, Hurricanes Pull Out 58-55 Win Against Baylor

From deep in the left corner, East Hamilton guard Vandrele Wilson, a 5-foot-7 junior, let fly with a 3-point shot, came back to the ground and stood concrete-still while watching the basketball hit nothing but net. As soon as the ball left his hand, Wilson was sure it was golden. The clutch 3-pointer gave East Hamilton a 56-55 lead over Baylor with 15 seconds remaining ... (click for more)

Prolific Prep Hammers Hamilton Heights 72-62

Gary Trent Jr. ripped Hamilton Heights for a game-high 36 points on Friday night and helped Prolific Prep Academy (Windsor, Calif.) defeat the Hawks 72-62 in the Marshal County (Ky.) Hoopfest. Trent, who played all 32 minutes, hit 14 of 28 shots, including 3 of 9 3-point tries. He scored 19 in the first half and had 11 each in the second and third periods. Abu Kigab scored ... (click for more)