By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Disgraced journalist David Chalian has been hired as the new Vice President for Video Programming at Politico, despite being fired by Yahoo! News for making a vicious “joke” accusing the Romneys of hating black people. A quick look at the syllabus for the course he is teaching at Georgetown University may explain why. His course requires the “daily reading” of Mike Allen’s “Politico Playbook” column in particular and instructs students to read Politico itself on a regular basis.
Chalian had been heard on an ABC News video claiming that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann were unconcerned about black people getting hit by Hurricane Isaac during the GOP convention. “They aren’t concerned at all,” he said. “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.” Laughing could be heard as the “joke” was made.
Georgetown is the nation’s oldest Catholic university, while Politico is a publication with a definite left-wing bent. The Daily Caller notes that Politico’s writers “have had a penchant for viewing those on the political right through a harsh prism.”
A course syllabus for “Political Reporting: Road to the White House” is not publicly available on the website for the class but we found a copy on the Internet. The course can be counted toward a “Master of Professional Studies in Journalism” and is taught by Chalian in conjunction with Brooke Brower, the senior producer for MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd.” Brower was previously a producer for “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”
MSNBC is also considered a left-wing news operation.
An item on the “Required Viewing” part of the course is the HBO propaganda film, “By the People: The Election of Barack Obama (2009).” One of the filmmakers said about the project, “I think my hope for it, too, is that people will see it and be re-inspired to be part of the democratic process again. I think that it was an amazing time for this country.”
Georgetown University still lists Chalian on its faculty as “Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief,” even though he was fired back on August 29—more than a month ago. The news organization said at the time that “David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo! He has been terminated effective immediately.”
Georgetown’s failure to identity Chalian as having been fired from Yahoo!, and the unprofessional conduct that got him fired, seems to fall far short of the high standards of honesty and integrity required of students. The students at the prestigious institution “are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic and personal integrity” and sign a Georgetown University Honor Pledge that affirms “academic honesty.”
It says, “In the pursuit of the high ideals and rigorous standards of academic life, I commit myself to respect and uphold the Georgetown University Honor System: To be honest in any academic endeavor, and to conduct myself honorably, as a responsible member of the Georgetown community, as we live and work together.”
Politico Editor-in-Chief John Harris announced his hiring, saying that while Chalian had “screwed up” by making the racial attack on the Romneys, it “did not reflect his personal views or professional standards.” He did not explain how he knew this was the case. Harris added that Chalian was “superbly well-qualified to help us achieve a strategic goal that is very important for Politico.”
A writer at Red State called Chalian a “bigot” and added, “I’m sure he is a great fit for a reflexively biased publication like Politico. And to the extent that their ‘strategic goal’ is patently dishonest reporting on Republicans and conservatives I’m sure Chalian will be an ideal fit.”
At the time that the story broke about Chalian’s comments, Rush Limbaugh noted his affiliation with Georgetown, saying, “Well, I said he sounded like a kid. I assumed that because he’s at Yahoo, that he’s a kid. He’s not. This guy is an adult. He’s been around for years. In addition to that, he teaches a master’s degree class at Georgetown. He teaches a master’s degree class, Master of Professional Studies in Journalism, at Georgetown. So he’s an objective journalist. Exactly right. He’s a teacher. I erred when I said this kid is just repeating what he’s been taught. This is what he’s teaching! It’s even worse than I thought. This is what he’s teaching.”
Now we know that Chalian “teaches” the left-bias at Politico as something to be read, understood, and appreciated by his students. This may help explain why he is now working there.
But it doesn’t explain why his faculty bio at Georgetown hasn’t been updated to reflect his firing from Yahoo!
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].