ABC/Yahoo! Host David Chalian Terminated For ‘Black People Drowning’ Comment

By Alex Weprin 

We have noted already that many of the TV news outlets have web-only video shows originating from the RNC. They share the usual format of TV, with an anchor or two talking to the same political analysts and correspondents. However, many other media outlets, from websites to newspapers, are also getting in the video game.

Web shows, which can be more free-wheeling than the TV counterparts, also carry risks, as ABC and Yahoo! learned.

During the intro to Tuesday’s show, Yahoo! News DC bureau chief David Chalian can be heard on a hot mic saying “they are happy to have a party with black people drowning,” in an apparent reference to the Republican party, while staffers laughed.


Newsbusters caught the statement and posted the video, and confirmed with ABC that it was Chalian, who is the former political director at ABC News. (Here’s Chalian in an interview with TVNewser at the 2008 DNC.)

Politico confirms that Yahoo! has “terminated” its relationship with Chalian as a result of the incident.

Speaking of Politico, it, along with The New York Times, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed and others have live web programs from the RNC, with similar plans for the DNC. As The Times notes, it is more of an experiment than a game-changer:

No one seems quite sure where these experiments will end up. Privately, they concede that their streaming Web videos draw extremely low traffic compared with their articles — for smaller organizations, sometimes only a few hundred viewers at a time.

News Web sites see tremendous potential in digital video advertising, which commands far higher rates than traditional Web display ads. But so far, the video investments have yet to reap significant rewards.