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Major Challenge; Does Fox's Major Garrett Get Too Much Gibbs Face Time?

When Major Garrett became a journalist some 26 years ago, he thought one of his most precious rights, nay, duties, was to probe for answers to society's most pressing questions. "My job is to ask not just questions, but pointed questions," Garrett tells Row 2, Seat 4.

That line of thinking continues today in his work as Fox News Channel's Senior White House Correspondent, where he peppers President Obama's Press Secretary with probing questions on a daily basis.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

So why would a fellow colleague dare begrudge him that opportunity?

If you ask Les Kinsolving, outspoken radio host and the White House briefing room's resident curmudgeon, he would tell you Major got a shot at more than his fair share of questions during Robert Gibbs' White House briefing today. Without mentioning Garrett by name, Lester lamented the 13 questions he says were allotted to "Fox."

Admittedly, Les is often at the back of the pack; sometimes only getting a whack at Gibbs at the end of an hour-long briefing. But he makes the best of it and asks questions that can only be described as cringe-inducing.

Don't take our word for it, Les' own website boasts, "Les is best known among the Washington press corps as one of the few who has the guts to ask probing questions and even providing comic relief."

A review of Major's questions, interjections and follow-ups do amount to some 13-15, depending on how you tally it. But is that a result of hoarding Gibbs' attention or is it just a nimble maximization of time?

NBC's Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd, who has known Major for many years, tells Row 2, Seat 4, "I'm glad Major is there because I think if he weren't, I'd be accused of asking the most follow-ups!"

Major does admit that "a review of the White House transcripts will reveal a very high percentage of pointed questions," but, he says, "I also ask questions on behalf of other Fox reporters who don't cover the White House, but need White House reaction. That sometimes increases my question count and I will never apologize for that."

Besides, says Todd, Major's efforts are for the good of the wider press corps, "I love Major's style of questioning...[H]e clearly listens to other questions asked and finds new ways to elicit answers from the always elusive Mr. Gibbs. I do think Major ends up asking more questions because many times Gibbs' answers to earlier questions end up, well, creating more questions."

And before you go siding with Kinsolving on question allotment, urges Todd, consider the source, "It's an obsession by this Gene Rayburn wannabe (I call him Gene Rayburn because the former host of Match Game is the only other guy I know who has a longer microphone than Les)."

But does Les actually have a grudge against Major? Nope. "He approached me after the briefing," Major says. "He has no problem with my questions. He just wants Robert to call on more reporters. That's another issue."

So what's a reporter to do? Garrett makes no apologies for either his tenacity...or his clothing, "Briefings are an information smorgasbord, at least in theory," he says. "Do I sometimes go back for seconds or thirds? Yes. But I try to wear a fashionable, made for-TV bib."

Editor's note: We make no bones about working closely with Major and as a consequence having an undeniable bias in the writing of this story.

 CLICK BELOW TO SEE LES' COMMENTS AND MAJOR'S EXCHANGE WITH ROBERT GIBBS.

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