The Huron Daily Tribune fired a reporter Monday evening, hours after her inadvertent insults of GOP Michigan Senate candidate John James went viral.
Brenda Battel, whose LinkedIn and Facebook pages appeared to have been disabled, phoned Mr. James’ campaign Monday afternoon seeking an interview for Wednesday to discuss Election Day’s results.
Thinking she had hung up the phone, Ms. Battel began to shudder at the prospect of Mr. James, an African-American Army veteran, defeating incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, The Daily Caller reported in an exclusive story.
“Man, if he beats her … Jesus!” she exclaimed, The Daily Caller said.
After referring to Mr. James with an expletive, Ms. Battel added, “Whew, that would suck! But I don’t think that’s going to happen though.”
The voice message, with Ms. Battel’s contact information expunged, quickly went viral and, within hours, she was out of a job.
“I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James’ campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior,” said Kate Hessling, editor of The Huron Daily Tribune. “Brenda Battel’s employment has been immediately terminated.”
“The Huron Daily Tribune sincerely apologizes to Mr. James and to the public,” Ms. Hessling’s statement continued. “These statements do not represent the views of the Tribune as a whole, nor do they reflect the actions of a responsible journalist.”
The Huron Daily Tribune’s website did not list Ms. Battel among the two reporters on staff Monday night.
She had not responded to requests for comment Monday afternoon and was not reachable on Tuesday.
As Election Day dawned, Mr. James found himself trailing Ms. Stabenow by 8.3 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics polling average, but that marked an improvement from the double-digit deficits Mr. James had through most of October and some polls have showed an even closer margin.
“It shows you that some media will do anything to keep the status quo and career politicians in power,” Tori Sachs, Mr. James’ campaign manager, told The Daily Caller in an email. “The liberal media can’t stand the idea of a job creator and combat veteran coming to Washington to shake up the system. This happened as we closed within the margin of error.”