Why? We asked Post editor Greg Moore.
"Bill was looking to do something else and I think he felt he had run his course as a columnist," Moore writes via e-mail, adding, "I respect his decision to walk away."
Johnson was a controversial figure in some quarters, due in part to his propensity to commit errors in his columns. Every journalist slips up every now and then. Indeed, I got a title wrong in an item about Post publisher Dean Singleton that was corrected this morning. But at times, Johnson went above and beyond the call. The following laundry list appeared in a 2007 blog post about a Rocky correction that documented five mistakes in a single 879-word Johnson column.
In December 1999, he published a column based on a letter from a dead cop who turned out to be a fictional Internet creation. In July 2005, he published a column mentioning an anti-abortion protester who'd supposedly threatened his life over a two-year period when he lived in Southern California; the following September, in a followup piece, he conceded that he couldn't prove he'd written about this incident, as he'd claimed in print. And in January 2006, he wrote a column in which he said he'd witnessed a wacky incident prior to a Denver Broncos-Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game when he actually saw it on TV -- something the Rocky acknowledged in a correction the following month.
Nonetheless, Johnson joined fellow columnists Mike Littwin and Tina Griego, among other noteworthy staffers, in moving to the Post after the Rocky's February 2009 demise -- a demonstration of his appeal. That month, Moore sang his praises in a Q&A with Westword, calling him "a good storyteller who's interested in a lot of things outside of the political sphere."
Today, Moore writes that Johnson "left on good terms. I appreciate what he did here and he remains a friend."
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