While Yahoo! News and ABC News were jointly webcasting the convention, Chalian told a guest: "Feel free to say, 'They're not concerned at all. They are happy to have a party with black people drowning'".
Chalian was referring to Hurricane Isaac that neared New Orleans even as the Republicans went ahead with their convention.
A microphone picked up the senior political correspondent's quip and it was thus aired alongside footage of Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's presidential candidate, and his wife Ann Romney. The fact that someone could be heard laughing at that time magnified the gravity of Chalian's indiscretion.
Yesterday, his employers made it clear that the remark "was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!". They added that Chalian "has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologise to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended."
In a Facebook post, Chalian expressed regret for "making an inappropriate and thoughtless joke ... I was commenting on the challenge of staging a convention during a hurricane and about campaign optics."
Stating that he had already sought Romney's apology, Chalian added that he is sorry for "causing any distraction from the exceptional coverage of the Republican convention by Yahoo! News and ABC News".
Incidentally New Orleans, a major port in the state of Louisiana, twice witnessed natural disasters back in 2005. First Hurricane Katrina caused the deaths of over 1500 people in August that year. Though many residents had left by the time the Category 3 hurricane made landfall, the death toll rose as nearly 80 percent of New Orleans was submerged.
When Hurricane Rita struck the city weeks later, it prompted the largest evacuation in the history of the United States.