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Not So Free Press: Journalist Fired For Conservative Views

By Jeff Poor, Daily Caller

On Thursday, the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press announced  the termination of one of its editors for what was deemed to be an  inappropriate headline criticizing President Barack Obama on the day of a visit  to Chattanooga to promote his economic policies.

Later that day, Johnson gave an interview to The Daily Caller in order  explain his termination, claiming it was unmerited on the grounds that it was  for a policy that had not yet been put in place. He explained the circumstances  of inserting the headline at the minute prior to publication.

“It’s very common practice at our paper and I’m sure it is at a lot of papers  to just plug in a space-holder headline or you know, you have a headline you’re  not happy with and you change it at the last minute. And I probably did it  myself once a week. In this case, I put in a placeholder that wasn’t good. It  got time to publish the piece and I thought, ‘What goes with jobs plan?’ and I  thought the Johnny Paycheck song, ‘Take this job and shove it.’ So I put that in  there — put the title that you saw and the next day, while it was becoming  literally the most read, not just  editorial but [most read] thing ever on the paper’s website.”

Johnson explained that later that day he got called into his editor’s office  and they conveyed their displeasure with the headline. And they informed him  that going forward changes to headlines would have to be approved by another  editor so that this would not happen again in the future.

And despite the alleged offensive nature of the editorial, Johnson pointed  out the Free Press kept the editorial up online in its  entirety without any adjustments.

“Keep in mind the entire time since they told me that people were offended by  the editorial, they had the editorial online and it’s been read by — it’s got  hundreds of thousands of clicks and they’ve made money and they’ve made plenty  of money on online  advertising,” he added.  “And it wasn’t offensive enough for them to pull down and stop getting all the  traffic.”

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