“David Chalian, the Yahoo News Washington Bureau chief, has been fired after getting caught on a hot mike telling a fellow host on an live ABC News web show to ‘feel free to say’ that ‘they’ — Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans — ‘are happy to have a party with black people drowning,’ Rachel Weiner reported Wednesday for the Washington Post.
“The implication: that Republicans’ decision to continue with their convention despite the hurricane hitting New Orleans means they don’t care about black people.”
Chalian’s firing came during an online broadcast from the GOP convention in Tampa, Rebecca Shapiro reported for the Huffington Post. The conservative media watchdog NewsBusters was first to post audio of the incident. Politico broke the news of his firing, Shapiro wrote.
“During the broadcast, Chalian can be heard saying that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann were ‘not concerned at all’ and ‘happy to have a party with black people drowning.’ Chalian seemed to be referring to the simultaneous occurrence of the GOP convention convening in Tampa and Hurricane Isaac hammering its way across the gulf coast and through New Orleans.
“A Yahoo spokesperson released a statement regarding the company’s decision to fire Chalian ‘effective immediately:’
” ‘David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended.’ “
Chalian apologized on his Facebook page on Wednesday evening, Peter Ogburn reported for FishbowlDC. He said, “I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke. I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics. I have apologized to the Romney campaign, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gov. and Mrs. Romney. I also regret causing any distraction from the exceptional coverage of the Republican convention by Yahoo News and ABC News.”
Chalian served as political director at ABC News between 2007 and 2010, winning an Emmy for his role in producing ABC’s coverage of President Obama’s inauguration, Dylan Stableford reported for Yahoo News last year when Chalian was named to the Yahoo job. He was then the political editor at “PBS NewsHour.”
Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent of the NewsHour, tweeted Wednesday, “One mistake does not change this. @DavidChalian is God’s gift to political journalism. #IStandwithDavid”