published Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Gerber: Conservative page to remain strong

In the past few days, many Times Free Press readers have expressed fear that the newspaper is abandoning its conservative editorial page.

We have no such plans. At all. We will continue to publish the Free Press page, with its long-held commitment to conservative opinion, next to the Times page, with its tradition of left-leaning opinion.

Many readers took the firing of Free Press editor Drew Johnson on Aug. 1 as a sign that the newspaper is “turning left,” as one reader stated, and would not publish any conservative opinions. Editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett and Times page editor Pam Sohn still are producing content for their liberal page while Johnson is gone, another reader said.

True. But the paper is conducting a search for a Free Press editor and, in the interim, will continue to publish conservative opinion. We are committed to finding an opinion writer who will write local editorials from a right-side viewpoint.

The Free Press and Times pages make this newspaper unique; most American newspapers only have one editorial page, reflecting one viewpoint. Our two pages honor the legacies of the two papers that merged here in 1999 to form the Times Free Press. They also served readers on both sides of the political aisle.

But the removal of Johnson angered many readers, who said the move proves that the paper is not committed to serving its red-state readers.

Ironically, in the past year, the No. 1 complaint from readers who called to talk about the paper — on any subject or about any story — is that the Free Press page was not conservative enough. Some readers were turned off by the page’s support of gay marriage and polygamy and legalized prostitution and marijuana. Sometimes, regular readers of the Times page agreed more with the right-side views than regular readers of the Free Press page. On many days, however, the page trumpeted conservative beliefs about limited government and the free market.

The Free Press has a history dating to 1933, and its opinion page built a reputation over the decades as a reliably conservative voice. Eighty years later, it’s important to many of our readers that tradition continue. They’ve asked that that page remain a loud and unwavering conservative voice.

We promise to keep that tradition alive.

Alison Gerber is editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Reach her at agerber@timesfreepress.com.

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AndrewLohr said...

David Cook's article on the three crosses draws more comments than Clay Bennett's cartoon that day, so you print an article on the same topic saying the same kinds of things. Meanwhile, the city spends $200 million or so, the city region (half a million people or so) puts perhaps three billion into the federal budget and a billion into the state (you're welcome to improve those numbers), and y'all have more questions about the church's $700,000 given voluntarily than about the bigger budgets enforced by law?

August 11, 2013 at 12:36 a.m.

Ms Gerber doesn't seem to understand the difference between conservative and libertarian/anarchist. The same might be said of Mr. Lohr.

In addition to being a bona fide conservative, a well-read cultural and political analyst, and an accomplished writer, the next editor will, hopefully, also be a person of strong character and mature judgment.

August 11, 2013 at 8:23 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

How about a conservative cartoonist?

August 11, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.
jjmez said...

LB, they do print conservative cartoons on the right side of the editorial page. I'm guessing the reason they never included them in their online version is because many were far too hateful and racially polarizing, and they didn't want that image or reputation for Chattanooga where people could pull up those images from around the nation and the world online with a few simple keystrokes. I'm sure, TFP can go pull up a few to show the mean spiritedness the right has spewed in cartoons over the years from the right side of the paper to satisfy your curiosity.

August 11, 2013 at 9:24 a.m.
LaughingBoy said...

I am talking a local cartoonist. Racially polarizing, you mean Bennett's work?

August 11, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
jjmez said...

LaughingBoy said... I am talking a local cartoonist. Racially polarizing, you mean Bennett's work?

I'm talking about the printed version and the hateful and bigoted cartoons that's often been depicted on the right side of the TFP. Apparently you don't get the printed paper, or if you do you choose to ignore the hateful, racially stereotype cartoons that's been drawn on the right side of the paper for decades. Those were not included in the online version of TFP for a very good reason. Most certainly because they were just far to bigoted and hateful.

The same rightwingnut types who started a campaign to go after Austin, and have been trying to get rid of Bennett for sometime now, have turned their sights on Gerber. I'm proud to know that Gerber and the rest are taking a stand and not backing down. These individuals only operate in groups, because it gives the impression that they have a large supportive audience (they don't). I doubt seriously if these people can go to the bathroom without holding one another hands. Makes it difficult to impossible to get through the door at the same time, though. So they pee and poop their drawers more often than they make it to the toilet.

August 11, 2013 at 11:52 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

Ironically, in the past year, the No. 1 complaint from readers who called to talk about the paper — on any subject or about any story — is that the Free Press page was not conservative enough. Some readers were turned off by the page’s support of gay marriage and polygamy and legalized prostitution and marijuana...... Socially liberal and physically conservative would describe Mr Johnson's views. He is part of the emerging Libertarian wing of the Republican party. The more socially conservative aspect of the party would be the religious right/silent majority that has held sway of the primaries for far to long. Their power is waning and it is not a pretty sight. Simply put, the republican party needs to get out of the private lives of voters and stick to monetary issues. True physical conservatism will, by its own merits, attract voters. While demonizing the lifestyle choices of others will repel potential voters. If you want a monotheistic party stick with the old guard and go the way of the wigs but if national relevance is the goal ( and winning elections) then a more socially tolerant view will be required. In order to know if you are tolerant of others when confronted with any social issue simply ask yourself : who decided that you get to decide? Are you your brothers keeper? Or can your fellow man live their life as they wish while you live yours the way you wish. When you answer that basic question you too can lean toward Libertarianism.

August 11, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.
hotdiggity said...

Andrew, perhaps some people have an interest in what appears to be glaringly ostentatious behavior from an institution who claims to be following the instructions of Jesus, who would have been abhorred at the extravagance of erecting a graven image instead of using the money to help your fellow man. Perhaps you have studied the preachings of Jesus?

August 12, 2013 at 4:43 a.m.
conservative said...

Mr. Johnson was no conservative.

In case you didn't get that:

MR. JOHNSON WAS NO CONSERVATIVE!!!

August 12, 2013 at 7:24 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

The only person on earth that meets your narrow definition of conservative is YOU, conservative, and I don't think you are qualified for the position.

August 12, 2013 at 7:41 a.m.
conservative said...

You are an avowed Atheist and an avowed proud heathen. I won't bother with you.

August 12, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.
jesse said...

Con man's got "conservative" mixed up with "bat sh#t crazy"! I expect him to start posting in"tongues" at any time!

BTW: Ms Gerber,It's now 12:40 AND THE OBITS AIN'T UP yet! I mighta died last night and not know about it YET!!

August 12, 2013 at 12:39 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

If conservative posted in tongues he might make a better argument.

August 12, 2013 at 1:38 p.m.
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