If you were reading either the Peach Pundit Daily (if you haven’t signed up, what are you waiting for?) or my morning reads, you would’ve seen an article from Jim Galloway about an editor for the Chattanooga Times-Free Press getting canned for telling President Barack Obama, in the spirit of Johnny Paycheck, to take his “jobs plan and shove it” in the headline of his editorial:
“Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough”
Editor Drew Johnson didn’t pull any punches in the headline of his opinion piece for the President’s visit on Tuesday. Two things though: first, according to Mr. Johnson, the headline was changed at least last minute and probably expected it to change since others normally write headlines; second, Mr. Johnson was fired retroactively after a new policy was established. From NewsChannel9:
Following President Obama’s visit Tuesday, Johnson wanted a catchy headline for TFP’s article… changing it shortly before deadline.
“A lot of times we go into filing an editorial not having any more than a placeholder and we’ll change it at the last minute,” said Johnson.
Johnson says immediately after the article was published, managers met. He needed reminding that all headlines must be approved by management. He says he agreed, saying he would let someone in charge sign off on his material. Then, this morning, he was fired for “not following procedure.”
Johnson says “the real frustration is I was fired retroactively for a policy that didn’t exist when I wrote the piece.”
Tennessee is a right-to-work state, and Mr. Johnson worked at the will of his employer. He is out of a job for now, but I’m sure that he’ll get on with another newspaper (or another media outlet) soon. My question would be if a.) would the Times-Free Press have reacted the same way if a liberal editor acted in the same manner and b.) changes policy and retroactively fires someone on a regular basis?