Yahoo! fires bureau chief over 'inappropriate' Romney joke

Media giant Yahoo! has fired its Washington Bureau Chief David Chalian after microphones caught him making a barb aimed at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The purportedly offensive comment was recorded by a microphone that had been left on during a break in the online coverage of the GOP convention on Tuesday night.

It referred to Mitt Romney and his wife Ann, and concerned the fact that the Republican National Convention was being held as Hurricane Isaac was battering the Louisiana coast.

"They're not concerned at all. They're happy to have a party with black people drowning," said Chalian, to brief laughter from an unidentified audience.

The audio was then leaked to right-wing blog NewsBusters, before spreading through the mainstream media like wildfire.

Yahoo! reacted without hesitation.

"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,” read a company statement.

Chalian previously owned a glittering track record in the political news media. He won an Emmy for his coverage of Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 as the political director of ABC news, and later, a Walter Cronkite award when working for broadcaster PBS.

He had worked at Yahoo! for less than a year.