Reporter Fired After Accidentally Leaving Voicemail About Republican Candidate

FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2018 file photo, Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James speaks during a rally in Pontiac, Mich. James faces incumbent Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in the Nov. 6 election. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

I’m not an expert on leaving voicemails, but one thing I’ve never done is leave a message saying I hope a candidate loses on that candidate’s voicemail. Especially when I’m trying to convince that candidate that I’d like to do an unbiased interview with them, but I am no Brenda Battel, formerly a staff writer for the Huron Daily Tribune in Michigan.


On Monday, she called the James campaign seeking an interview with the candidate on Wednesday, the day after the election. Battel left a normal enough message requesting the interview and asking the campaign to call her back, but then missed the crucial step of making sure she had hung up the phone before revealing her bias.

The James campaign released the voicemail, which you can listen to here:

Man, if he beats her … Jesus! F—ing John James. That would suck! I don’t think it’s going to happen though.

The Daily Tribune fired her later that afternoon. Editor Kate Hessling confirmed that the voicemail was genuine and told The Washington Post that Battel’s actions were “inexcusable.”

It’s imperative that our reporters act professional and neutral when dealing with the public, and that was not done in this situation, and that was inexcusable.

In a statement, The Huron Daily Tribune apologized to the public and the James campaign. “The Huron Daily Tribune sincerely apologizes to Mr. James and to the public,” it read, “These statements do not represent the views of the Tribune as a whole, nor do they reflect the actions of a responsible journalist.”


James campaign manager Tori Sachs told The Daily Caller that Battel’s comments show that the biased media is nervous about his success.

It shows you that some media will do anything to keep the status quo and career politicians in power. 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 in within the margin of error.

I’m not particularly surprised that a journalist would think and say these things, I’m just surprised that hanging up the phone could be so tricky. Maybe I’m not as bad at voicemail as I thought.




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