Oh, boy, gotta love (hate?) those "hot mics." For some reason, media and political types are always forgetting that microphones tend to record whatever you say whether you want them to or not. Remember Ronald Reagan's "We begin bombing in five minutes" line about Russia that he didn't know was being recorded? Remember how Jesse Jackson said of President Obama, "I want to cut his balls off" -- also a comment he didn't realize was being recorded? The latest hot mic gaffe is from Yahoo News Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian, who had the misfortune of speaking his mind in some pretty crass terms while his mic was still on. And he just lost his job because of it.
Chalian was taking part in an ABC/Yahoo News livestream of the Republican National Convention when he was caught on mic saying that Mitt Romney "didn't care at all" about Hurricane Isaac and that he and Ann "are happy to party with black people drowning."
Er ... yikes? Yahoo News quickly canned Chalian and issued a response, saying the bureau chief's comment "was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!"
Wow. You'd think when people are wearing a microphone, they'd just utter niceties and banalities and keep it strictly business. But I know how it is. I've worn those microphones. You do forget they're there. And then you start relaxing. And joking around. And getting friendly with the camera crew and people around you. And then you utter something that gets you in major trouble. Well, luckily I haven't done that. Yet!
People in the media -- just like actors -- tend to be "on" a lot. We're accustomed to holding court in a room with jokes, stories, and gossip. What media types should never forget though is that not everyone shares their sense of humor or views. The people in your general vicinity may "get" you, but when you've got a mic or camera on you, you are reaching way beyond your general vicinity.
As for what Chalian said, I understand not liking or agreeing with Mitt Romney or his religion or views, but this comment is out of line. Still, it's a shame that one off-the-comment could destroy this long-time journalist's career.
Do you think Chalian should have been fired? You can hear him speaking in the background of the below video.
Audio via Newsbusters.org/YouTube