Garrett, who has been widely recognized as a straight-arrow reporter appeared inside the hostility between President Obama’s top aides and the network of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is joining National Journal as a congressional correspondent.
The hostility between the administration and Fox “never wore me down,” – Garrett said Wednesday.
“But of course it made my job more difficult. I’d be a liar if I said otherwise.” – he added, “I was a conscientious objector in that war. I never fought it.”
Robert Gibbs, White House press secretary, said Garrett lived up to Fox’s fair-and-balanced motto:
“I have always thought Major was one of the smartest people in the briefing room. He’s tough, and I’d say the slogan actually did fit him.”
The main reason for his departure, the Fox White House correspondent said, is the crazy pace of cable news: “I want to talk less and I want to think more. I always considered myself an accidental TV reporter.”
When he told Roger Ailes he was leaving, Garrett said, the Fox News chairman replied: “You’re one of the few guys who never got addicted to TV.”
Michael Clemente, a Fox senior vice president, said that “Major’s a first-class reporter. He’s got a naturally inquisitive mind, and returning to print will allow him to do what he knows and loves best.”
Garrett, who turned 48 on Tuesday, said he would miss the pace of cable news and the high-profile platform provided by Fox. But in television, he said, you learn 20 times as much as you are able to report on the air.
“You get so bogged down by the logistics of what video do you have and what studio is available. I want to return to enterprise reporting that consists of a pad, a pen and a phone.” Beyond that, he said, “I just want to allow my brain and my spirit to have a little bit more room, and play with words, and have fun with them again.”
Garrett began his career in print, writing for U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Times and the Houston Post, among others. He joined Fox in 2002 after serving as a White House correspondent for CNN.