Brenda Battel, Huron Daily Tribune Reporter, Fired After Trashing Republican Candidate

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 6, 2018US News
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A Michigan reporter was fired after apparently forgetting to hang up her phone and trashing a Republican Senate candidate.

Brenda Battel, a staff writer with Michigan’s Huron Daily Tribune, left a voicemail for the John James campaign asking to interview the candidate on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections.

But after asking the campaign to call her back about a potential interview, she said it would be crazy for James to win.

“Man, if he beats her… Jesus! [Expletive] John James. That would suck! Whew. I don’t think it’s going to happen though,” Battel said, according to audio obtained by the Daily Caller and later published by the campaign.

Like a number of reporters across news outlets, Battel had previously expressed anti-Republican and anti-President Donald Trump views. In one post on social media, she spread a conspiracy theory against Trump without including any evidence.

John James with Marco Rubio
Michigan GOP U.S. Senate candidate John James (L),  campaigns with the help of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) at Senor Lopez Restaurant in Detroit, Mich., on Aug. 13, 2018. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

In a statement, the paper’s editor Kate Hessling announced that Battel had been fired. “I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James’s campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior. Brenda Battel’s employment has been immediately terminated,” she said.

“The Huron Daily Tribune sincerely apologizes to Mr. James and to the public. These statements do not represent the views of the Tribune as a whole, nor do they reflect the actions of a responsible journalist,” she added. Hessling didn’t address Battel’s previous social media posts.

Battel deleted her social media accounts after the call became public. According to her Upwork profile, she has been writing for newspapers since 1996.

In a statement to the Daily Caller, James’s campaign manager Tori Sachs said media coverage of James has been skewed, as evidenced by Battel.

“It shows you that some media will do anything to keep the status quo and career politicians in power,” campaign manager Tori Sachs said. “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.”

James was down by 20 points in some polls but a Change Research poll released on Nov. 5 showed him within 2 points of incumbent Debbie Stabenow. He’s received support from President Donald Trump, who won Michigan in 2016, and other top Republicans. If elected, he would be only the 11th black person to serve in the U.S. Senate, and it would be the first time in history that four black people were on the Senate simultaneously.

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