Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center (MRC), the publisher of NewsBusters. He’s been the central figure in the MRC’s News Analysis Division since the MRC’s 1987 founding and in 2005 spearheaded the launch of NewsBusters.
Baker oversees the selection of the award nominees and “winners” for the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards,” presented at an annual gala, and each week he helps the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard select a “Mainstream Media Scream.” (Full list of all those selected.)
In 2001, Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes dubbed Baker “the scourge of liberal bias.”
For 13 years he compiled and edited the daily CyberAlert e-mail and online report. In late May of 2009 the CyberAlert became an e-mail-only product based on BiasAlert postings on the MRC's Web site. (BiasAlerts since early 2012.)
An avid fan of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team, in January of 2009 the Washington Post's "DC Sports Bog" took note of Baker's attendance at a Caps game with John Kerry: "The Caps, John Kerry and a Scourge."
Baker lived in Massachusetts through high school, whereupon he fled the liberal commonwealth for George Washington University in DC and, since graduation, a life in Northern Virginia. Full bio on MRC.org.
Monday’s CBS Evening News took one break from Oklahoma tornado coverage – to run a piece on how an IRS manager who recently retired from the Cincinnati office, where 501 (c)(4) applications were processed, declared “politics and religion were things that people generally didn’t talk about at work.”
Reporter Dean Reynolds focused on the assurances by Bonnie Esrig, who was also featured in a Saturday Washington Post article on how politics had nothing to do with the targeting of conservative groups: “She never heard anyone say the words ‘the President wants this done.’”
The Hollywood Left just can’t resist shoving its anti-conservative invective into prime time TV shows, even an over-the-top, melodramatic soap-opera with ludicrous plots like ABC’s Washington, DC-set Scandal, which has its season finale at 10 PM EDT/PDT tonight.
On last week’s episode, a lead character ominously warned that if the current Vice President, a conservative woman Republican, made it to the Oval Office, she “and her conservative overlords” will impinge on “the rights” of African-Americans and raise the specter of the devil.
Asked on Sunday’s Reliable Sources if the wider media dismissed the Weekly Standard story, by Stephen Hayes about the Benghazi talking points getting altered to take out any references to terrorism, because of his affiliation with conservative media, The Hill newspaper Managing Editor Bob Cusack agreed.
Then he turned his criticism on his colleagues: “If you look at the time line of how this administration dealt with Benghazi, there’s been a lot of contradictions from the get go. So, the media hasn’t looked at it as extensively as they should have.”
My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
Fox News Channel analyst and former anchor Brit Hume asserted Monday night that for Benghazi “to become the scandal it surely deserves to be will require another ingredient: Relentless news coverage of the kind the media typically avoid when the subject is someone or some cause they favor.”
He explained: “That’s why the Gosnell abortion horrors were played down for so long and that’s why the now discredited Benghazi talking points were treated as just an honest mistake.”
NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday brought aboard another lefty whose far-left views are usually only heard on MSNBC, but Joy-Ann Reid, Managing Editor of TheGrio.com, the NBC News site aimed at African-Americans, perfectly reflected the true liberal view of how to boost the economy. It’s not a “balanced” approach of budget cuts and tax hikes. She urged higher taxes and more spending.
“When you look at the economy and the fact that it isn’t growing more strongly, we’ve been trying to force ourselves to do austerity,” Reid ludicrously asserted in the midst of ever-increasing federal spending. She fretted the inability “to do a robust agenda from Washington that does smart spending and smart tax increases,” regretting that “without being able to do sane policy in Washington,” you can’t expect Obama to fix the economy.
Proof Sunday morning that Republicans can use their power to hold House hearings to force media coverage of topics journalists have shown little interest in probing. CBS's Face the Nation led with an “exclusive” which Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Committe on Oversight and Government Reform, gave host Bob Schieffer about the upcoming testimony from Greg Hicks, the second in command in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attacks.
“Today,” Schieffer touted, “there is new information raising questions about whether there was a cover-up by the State Department to deflect criticism that it had ignored requests for more security for its people in Libya.”
In a new low for David Letterman – on both a professional and comedic level – each night this past week he devoted a Late Show “Stooge of the Night” segment to a Senator who dared to oppose the gun control bill, a law which would have done nothing to have prevented the Newtown tragedy.
Nonetheless, Letterman got very political in putting a picture of each Senator on the screen, yet the audience at his Manhattan theater remained befuddled, nearly silent after each announcement with, at best, scattered nervous laughter before Letterman followed up with a lame crack at their personal appearance. Those shots (Jeff Flake: “Reminds me a little of Gomer Pyle”; Ted Cruz: “How about a background check on his barber?”) generated a little laughter.
NBC synergy in action. Saturday Night Live opens with a skit hitting President Barack Obama from the left for celebrating picayune progress on gun control and, the next morning, Meet the Press host David Gregory uses that clip to illustrate his liberal point about how the “problem” is insufficient action on gun control.
After playing a bit of that comedy video, in which an “Obama” impersonator trumpets “I am so excited to announce that this week the Senate voted 68-31 to begin debating the idea of discussing gun control,” Gregory fretted: “Isn’t that really the problem? Despite all the emotion, despite the push, despite the public opinion polls, not a lot is about to be accomplished here.”
Bill Maher just can’t resist denigrating those who choose to join our military forces. Catching up with a comment from his Friday night show on HBO, when discussing what motivates soldiers to want to re-join their units and what they miss when back in civilian life, war correspondent Sebastian Junger explained: “The soldiers aren’t psychopaths, they don’t miss killing, they don’t miss getting killed, but what they miss is that sense of meaning and the bond...”
To which, Maher countered: “Well, some of them are psychopaths. I mean, let’s be honest. Some people join the Army because it’s the one place where you can kill people for free. Where you’re not charged with murder.”
Does journalistic insistence on catapulting President Barack Obama into historic greatness and relevance know no bounds? CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley on Tuesday night insisted upon trumpeting Obama’s proposal, to spend $100 million to map the human brain, through the hagiographic maneuver of putting Obama into a trilogy with the triumphs of Thomas Jefferson and John Kennedy:
"Finally tonight, for Thomas Jefferson it was the Louisiana Territory; for John F. Kennedy, the moon. Well today, as Bill Plante reports, President Obama announced a mission to explore and map another frontier filled with mystery and possibility."
Tonight’s episode of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will showcase failed Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s infamous remark that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” so the woman would not get pregnant.
NBC’s promo for the March 27 episode touts a storyline “ripped from the headlines” with “words that set off a national controversy.” In the promo run at the end of last week’s show, a man on a witness stand, who is sporting a flag lapel pin, declares: “It’s nearly impossible for a victim of legitimate rape to become pregnant.” [UPDATED with a summary of what aired]
Another episode airs tonight of FX’s The Americans. Last week, the historic drama set in 1981, portrayed a successful KGB effort to discredit a Polish priest, who is leading an anti-Soviet liberation movement, by smearing him as a rapist during his visit to New York City. (“The Reagan administration doesn’t want a rapist leading the movement to push the Soviets out of Poland.”)
The March 13 installment of the series also featured an actual real-life clip of President Ronald Reagan hailing the people of Poland: “We, the people of the free world, stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters.”
A lengthy – 3,500 word – anguished expose on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post, “Hungering for a new month to begin,” about how people in Woonsocket, Rhode Island race to the grocery stores on the first of the month to spend their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payment, yet run out of food long before the month ends, didn’t offer a word about President Obama’s responsibility for the poor economy.
Deep in it, however, reporter Eli Saslow undermined his case when he sympathetically cited “a series of exhausting, fractional decisions” a couple with two toddlers face over having to choose between food “or the $75 they owed the tattoo parlor.”
The Obama administration in 2009 dropped the Bush administration’s plan to add missile interceptor capability against North Korea, yet on Friday, when Obama’s Pentagon realized their error and scrambled to announce a reversal to implement the Bush plan, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to mention Obama’s dereliction. (Below: Krauthmmer zinged “Democratic resistance” to missile defense. “Reagan was right.”)
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel sent a producer out to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles to ask passing pedestrians a nonsensical question: “What do you think about President Obama’s decision to pardon the sequester and send it to Portugal?”
Hilarity ensued in the very sure answers given by the very ill-informed low information potential voters in the “Confusing Question of the Day” segment aired on this past Monday’s (March 4) Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC.
Charles Krauthammer credited President Obama’s charm offensive toward Republicans to his losing the news media which couldn’t any longer abide his ridiculous sequester “cut” exaggerations.
“Obama’s strongest constituency, which is not the left, it’s the mainstream media, could no longer cover for him without being entirely embarrassed,” Krauthammer observed Friday night on FNC, “It had to expose the one exaggeration after another on the sequester.”
“Do you all feel that your party is somehow being held hostage?” Bob Schieffer asked Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, presumably referring to those opposed to raising taxes. Touting President Obama as the reasonable one who “has talked about kind of a ‘common sense caucus,’” within the same long-winded question on Face the Nation, Schieffer repeated his accusation: “Are people on the extreme ends of your party holding the rest of you hostage here?”
Not ten minutes later, however, with Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, Schieffer not only failed to characterize Obama as an obstinate extremist for demanding another tax hike two months after Republicans acceded to one, but he suddenly decided: “I think we are beyond arguing about who’s fault it is on how we got here.”
Picking up on a Saturday front page New York Times story on how the Obama campaign is selling access to the White House through its newly formed Organizing for Action group, a revelation ignored all weekend by ABC, CBS and NBC, on Monday’s Daily Rundown on MSNBC, Chuck Todd declared: “This just looks bad. It looks like the White House is selling access.” He pointed out the hypocrisy, recalling: “Offering this kind of access to big donors was precisely what Obama was campaigning against in 2007 and 2008.”
Yet, though Todd is NBC’s chief White House correspndent, nothing about it aired on NBC’s Today, Nightly News nor Meet the Press all weekend, Monday or Tuesday morning.