At a press conference yesterday held by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Managing Editor Ashley Sechalles explained that the recent firing of Free Press editor Drew Johnson was simply an enforcement of the longstanding policy that strictly disallows the use of Johnny Paycheck quotes or references in any articles for the paper.
Johnson had altered the headline for an editorial, critical of President Barack Obama, from “Keep your jobs plan to yourself, Mr. President” to “Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President,” making a reference to country music star Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit recording of the David Allen Coe song “Take This Job and Shove It.”
“Time and time again, we have made it clear to our writers and reporters that no Johnny Paycheck references or quotes are to ever be used,” said Sechalles. “Doing so goes against both the AP Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, and even Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style has an entire chapter about avoiding Johnny Paycheck quotes.”
“This firing is not unprecedented,” said Sechalles. “We had to fire one reporter ten years ago for the title of an article about weddings for morbidly obese people, called ‘Will you take this blob and love it?'”