Major Garrett, Fox News' former Chief White House Correspondent, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday to talk about the Juan Williams controversy and the midterm elections.
Garrett, who is now the Congressional correspondent for the newly revamped National Journal, appeared with National Journal colleague Ron Brownstein and Time's Mark Halperin. Co-host Joe Scarborough immediately brought up Juan Williams, whose firing last week by NPR set off a controversy that is still raging. (In the past two days, Williams and Brit Hume blasted NPR on "Fox News Sunday," and NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller apologized for the network's handling of the situation, though she defended the decision to fire Williams.)
Scarborough said to Garrett that Williams had only been fired from NPR because he works for Fox News. Garrett agreed with Scarborough, saying he had talked with Williams about the blowback he was getting from NPR listeners over his appearances on Fox News. He also said that NPR's anger at Williams' association with Fox News was reflective of the polarization in the American media something he said neither Fox nor NPR wanted to solve. Indeed, he said, Fox News thrives on that polarization:
"For a certain amount of marketing points of view, Fox actually wants to keep that polarization. They can say look, we're different. We're dramatically different, you can see how we're different. And if you like that difference you better come over here and you better stay here. That is an embedded part of the marketing that surrounds what happens in the news division at Fox. It's been incredibly successful."
Watch (Garrett comments begin at 4:24):
Garrett added that he thought it was "no coincidence" that Fox News signed Williams to a new, $2 million contract on the day NPR fired him. He said it was a message that Williams "is ours, he's going to stay ours, and if you're outraged, this is the place to be."