It came as no surprise to us that Drew Johnson, the new right-side editorial page editor of the Times Free Press, was the subject of a recent Punk’d-style Tweet raid. The paper’s new Boy Wonder is something of a political gadfly who seems to invite derision. If you are not familiar with Johnson, you soon will be. He is a very serious-looking young man with hip eyewear and a conservative gaze that invites such mischief. Until his new post at the TFP, Johnson was director of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, one of those “think tanks” whose serious-sounding name is a misnomer for sniping at Democrats to please right-wing fundraisers, as the Nashville Scene put it so delicately in a 2008 profile.
In that article, he is described by former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s senior political advisor Will Pinkston as a “partisan nitwit who basically spends all his time dreaming up ways to terrorize rank-and-file state employees.”
Johnson, who replaces the retiring Lee Anderson as the paper’s top conservative hack, was himself hacked on Twitter by a lively impostor before he’d even begun. Under the moniker “GQ Drew,” a fake Drew Johnson began Tweeting what the Times Free Press called “inappropriate, offensive and vulgar Tweets” under Johnson’s name. The Tweets were all those things, but they were also hilarious.
Last week, he was named as Anderson’s replacement at the TFP, in charge of crafting Obama Bashing and the right-side of the editorial page and also a column. This should be fun.
But back to the Tweets, which, while vulgar and offensive to some, are also a great spoof. Obviously, Johnson has enemies. “When your job is to be a watchdog and tell the truth about politicians,” he Tweeted under his own, new account (Drews_Views), “you make a few enemies.”
The fake Drew Johnson, whom the real Johnson is fighting to dismantle, seems to have been Tweeting since September, but until Johnson’s recent appointment, the missives didn’t take on much importance. In fact, GQ Drew seemed to have the scoop on his alter-ego’s new employer before the news was announced.
On June 8, GQ Drew announced, “I’m gonna pick up the world and drop it on your fucking head, y’all. The new opinion editor at @timesfreepress.com is me.”
This opening salvo was followed by, “Hey, Chattanooga. Open wide. There’s a BIG Johnson coming through.”
It gets stranger from there, but you get the drift. It may not qualify as good, clean fun—in fact, it does not at all—but it does point out that Johnson is a controversial young man with an obvious agenda.
Johnson begins his run at the paper later this month.