Fire Major Garrett!
CBS should fire Major Garrett. This lame excuse for a news reporter clearly crossed the line at President Obama’s televised press conference on Wednesday. The way he phrased a “question” about Iran was unacceptable, and he must have known it.
Garrett (above) asked the President to explain why he was “content” with leaving four Americans imprisoned in the Islamic Republic while celebrating the pact to stop the Iranians from developing a nuclear bomb.
It was obviously an offensive “question,” and it was – obviously – intentionally offensive.
The President called the “question” nonsense. He explained that he grieved for the American prisoners in Iran and sympathized deeply with their families. American diplomats are working earnestly to get them freed, he added.
I am impressed by President Obama’s forbearance. I can think of a few words for Garrett’s question other than “nonsense,” none of them printable.
Clearly, Garrett is not among the President’s political supporters. Before becoming CBS News’ Chief White House Correspondent in November 2012, he worked for the National Journal, and – before that – for Fox News. But at CBS he is presumably being paid to report the news, not to make the President look heartless.
As a former newsman, I am appalled at the way today’s media representatives behave. In my day, we felt bound by a standard of objectivity that kept our personal feelings – as much as humanly possible – from interfering with the news.
Even by today’s loose standards, Garrett’s “question” was a shocker. Who does this guy think he is? And how does he think the release of the American prisoners has anything to do with preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat to the world?
The “question” was so bizarre that several other media representatives felt obliged to criticize it. CNN’s Dana Bash observed that Garrett had crossed the line and Don Lemon, Gloria Borger and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell were among those who agreed.
Garrett’s behavior reflects badly on the network he represents. And it reflects badly on Westinghouse Electric Company (part of the Nuclear Utilities Business Group of British Nuclear Fuels), which owns CBS. (I hope their public relations employees read this blog.)
Garrett’s outlandish display of personal animosity toward the President is at least as egregious as Brian Williams’ fibs about his wartime experiences. And NBC has banished Williams.
I call on CBS to do the same with Garrett. To overlook his offensiveness would not only display a lack of decorum but also severely damage the network’s credibility as a news source.