Cable news network CNN has promoted David Chalian — a man fired in 2012 from Yahoo News for claiming the GOP is “happy to party with black people drowning” — to the powerful position of political director.
“As we head into midterm election season and begin to lay the groundwork for the coming presidential campaign, it gives us great pleasure to announce that David Chalian has accepted the position of CNN Political Director,” an announcement from the network, obtained by FishbowlDC, read.
Chalian was hired by CNN last July to be the supervising producer for “Crossfire,” the political debate program brought back to the network last summer after an eight-year hiatus.
But Chalian had previously worked as Yahoo News’ Washington bureau chief until August 2012, when he was summarily fired over a hot-mic incident during live coverage of the ongoing Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida.
At the time of the convention, Hurricane Isaac was tracked to make landfall in southern Louisiana. Some had argued that the GOP should cancel their convention due to a potential emergency, but the Republican Party held the political event regardless.
The incident occurred during an ABC segment showing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Anne arriving in Tampa. “Feel free to say, they’re not concerned at all,” Chalian can be heard exclaiming. ”They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.” Several employees can be heard laughing in the background.
Yahoo News fired Chalian in a matter of hours, and the disgraced newsman was forced to issue an apology. “I am profoundly sorry for making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke,” he said at the time, adding he “also regret[s] causing any distraction from the exceptional coverage of the Republican convention by Yahoo News and ABC News.”
New CNN President Jeff Zucker seems determined to take his network in a new, more liberal direction. Last month he explained the cable news outlet is “not going to be shamed” into covering the Benghazi scandal and promised more stories on climate change — whether his audience wants them or not.
The network has suffered from abysmally-low ratings since Zucker took the helm in January of last year.