The Washington Post

Yahoo editor fired over anti-Romney joke

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."

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 words were first caught by the conservative media criticism site Newsbusters. Yahoo has released a statement apologizing for the comment and announcing that Chalian had been terminated. 

"David Chalian's statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!." the statement reads. "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 has posted a public apology on his Facebook page, saying his intention was to mock the situation, not Romney. From the brief clip, the context of Chalian's words is unknown.

"I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke," he wrote. "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."

PBS NewsHour host Gwen Ifill tweeted in support of Chalian, who left her show to work for Yahoo.

So did the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza: 


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This post has been updated.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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