Newspaper reporter fired after profane voicemail to candidate

The Detroit News
John James poses for a selfie with a supporter.

A reporter at the Huron Daily Tribune, in Michigan's Thumb area, was fired Monday after uttering a profanity in a voicemail she left for John James, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.

The voicemail was first reported by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Reporter Brenda Battel called the James campaign looking to set up a post-election interview on Wednesday, according to the Tribune's account of the incident.

Believing that she'd left her message and disconnected from the call, Battel then says "Man, if he beats her...Jesus! F******* John James! Whew! That would suck. I don't think it's going to happen though."

But the call had not disconnected. The James campaign heard the voicemail in its entirety.

Warning: Includes graphic language

In a story on the Tribune's website, editor Kate Hessling writes: "I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James' campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior. Brenda Battel's employment has been immediately terminated.

"The Huron Daily Tribune sincerely apologizes to Mr. James and to the public," Hessling adds. "These statements do not represent the views of the Tribune as a whole, nor do they reflect the actions of a responsible journalist."

Battel apologized for the incident on Twitter, writing: "My apologies to @JohnJamesMI. I am human. I made a mistake. While I did my best to be a fair, objective, professional journalist, what I said reflected none of those traits. For this, I am truly sorry to all of those who have been affected by my mistake." 

The Detroit News was unable to reach Battel on Tuesday.

The James campaign, through spokesman Ted Goodman, said only: "We are laser-focused on getting out the vote for John James."