Newspaper editor fired over anti-Obama headline

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“Free Press editor Drew Johnson has been terminated after placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures,” the paper said in a statement. “Johnson’s headline, 'Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,' appeared on the Free Press page Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama visited the city.”

The paper said the headline was “inappropriate for this newspaper” and that it “was not the original headline approved for publication.”

“Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline,” the statement continued. “The newspaper’s decision to terminate Johnson had nothing to do with the content of the editorial, which criticized the president’s job creation ideas and Chattanooga’s Smart Grid. The Free Press page has often printed editorials critical of the president and his policies.”

The Free Press has two editorial pages, one committed to a conservative point of view, and the other to a liberal one.

“This newspaper places high value on expressions of divergent opinion, but will not permit violations of its standards,” the statement concluded.

President Obama was in Chattanooga on Tuesday and asked Republicans to agree to lower corporate tax rates and increased infrastructure spending as part of what he called a “grand bargain for middle-class jobs.”