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.” Those picks are added, on a one week delay, to NewsBusters. (Archive for 2012-2014 on MRC.org)

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. (In February 2015, the MRC discontinued posting BiasAlerts on MRC.org and began feeding the newsletter via CyberAlert posts on NewsBusters).

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.

Latest from Brent Baker
September 24, 2008, 4:04 PM EDT
In suspending his campaign to deal with the bail out bill before the House and Senate, John McCain canceled his appearance on tonight's Late Show with David Letterman, a program to be recorded today in New York City. The show is normally produced at 5:30 PM EDT, but MSNBC reported it was to be taped at 4 PM today.
September 23, 2008, 9:52 PM EDT
The night before CBS's Katie Couric will sit down with Sarah Palin to discuss foreign policy and just under two weeks after ABC's Charles Gibson got three interview sessions over two days with Palin in Alaska, the NBC Nightly News, the only broadcast network evening newscast snubbed so far by Palin, devoted a full story to how reporters were initially barred from her photo-ops with foreign leaders and her general lack of availability to the press.

“The McCain campaign has been launching something of a campaign against the news media these days, and when things heated up for a time today, we almost didn't see those pictures” of her in Manhattan with Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe as well as Henry Kissinger. Reporter Savannah Guthrie explained how “campaign officials invited the media to attend the beginning of the meeting but at the last minute banned reporters, a departure from the usual practice, saying only photographers would be allowed. When news organizations threatened to pull the cameras if reporters were banned, the campaign relented.” Guthrie rued:
In the month since Palin joined the ticket, she’s granted just two major interviews, appeared at one joint town hall and held no news conferences. Reporters on the trail rarely see her.
September 22, 2008, 9:03 PM EDT

If Katie Couric is to be consistent and treat Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whom Couric is scheduled to interview this week, as gently as she did Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden in her day with him Thursday in Ohio which became a story on the Monday night CBS Evening News, she will (Couric quotes from the Biden story in the parentheses):

September 21, 2008, 9:46 PM EDT
Three Sundays ago, in a 60 Minutes interview CBS's Steve Kroft cued up Barack Obama with Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications compared to him: “Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?” But on Sunday night, in a 60 Minutes devoted to new interviews with both Obama and John McCain, Scott Pelley also hit McCain from the same angle on Palin's qualifications, telling him “the criticism of Governor Palin is that she was a brilliant marketing choice for the campaign, but she's not well versed on the economy or foreign affairs,” before he demanded: “In your judgment, can you see her as President of the United States?” When McCain replied “Absolutely,” Pelley's voice betrayed astonishment as he fired back: “As President of the United States?”

Steve Kroft again got the sit-down with Obama and when Obama contended that if he loses, his race will not be the cause, Kroft countered that he knows “for a fact...there are a lot of people out there...who won't vote for you because you're black.” Kroft declared as the two sat in Elko, Nevada:
I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko, who won't vote for you because you're black. I mean, there's not much you can do. But how do you deal with it? I mean, are there ways that, from a political point of view, that you can deal with it? And how do you fight that?
September 21, 2008, 1:48 AM EDT
At a Tuesday night fundraiser for Barack Obama held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, donors heard Barbra Streisand sing, but as ABC's Jake Tapper noted in his “Political Punch” blog, “the press was not permitted (inflicted?) with permission to hear her.” So, there's no video of it, which reminded me of how back in 2002 the Fox News Channel played a brief clip from her appearance at a September 29, 2002 fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, video we played in “The I’m Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award” category at the MRC's 2003 DisHonors Awards where we added Streisand's lyrics at the bottom of the screen along with a bouncing ball to help the audience follow along.

The customized stanzas from her 'Miseries' adaption of the 'Way We Were' as played on the October 2, 2002 Special Report with Brit Hume:
Scattered pictures
Of the House we left behind.
Lovely Democratic mem'ries
Of the way we were.

Unprecedented growth in the economy.
The Dow was up, the deficit was down.
As long as Democrats were the majority,
I could sleep nights,
Not weep nights.
To see this video in a larger size, watch it on the MRC's Eyeblast site.
September 20, 2008, 4:01 PM EDT
(This item contains a vulgarity. It also overlaps with an earlier posting by Noel Sheppard, but I wrote this up last night and even had the video ready to go, then fell asleep, so here's a different angle with video.)  

The suggestion that talking about Sarah Palin is not important, sent HBO Real Time guest panelist Andrew Sullivan, a media veteran who now writes the “The Daily Dish” blog for The Atlantic, into an angry rant  about Palin (reflecting PDS: Palin Derangement Syndrome) that was so much of an over-reaction, though it earned loud applause from the audience, that host Bill Maher, who agreed with Sullivan's perspective, called it a “shit fit” as he tried to calm him down and finally had to mimic an ape as he held up his fists by his head and yelled “grrrrrr!” to silence Sullivan.

Leading into Sullivan on the Friday night show, left-wing journalist Naomi Klein called Palin “Bush in drag” and “when you add the hunting you got Cheney,” prompting musician William Adams, who goes by “will.i.am,” to complain: “You know what scares me about Palin, is that we're talking about Palin and we're not talking about how to get out of the hole.” That set off Sullivan, the British born and raised frequent contributor to Time magazine and the New York Times, his voice getting louder and his hands gesticulating more as he proceeded:
We have to talk about Palin. Bill, let me just say, I don't want to go this far in talking about her. She is a farce. This nomination, the nomination of this person to be potentially President of the United States next January – that's the possibility, technically speaking she could be President next January – is a joke. It is absurd! It is something that should be dismissed out of hand as the most irresponsible act any candidate has ever made, ever!

September 19, 2008, 8:47 PM EDT
Notes on Friday night coverage of the Wall Street bail out:

On the NBC Nightly News, the always hyperbolic Jim Cramer saw “Great Depression II” avoided by the rescue effort, anchor Brian Williams raised 9/11 as he contended “this was the kind of jittery week in New York a lot of people had to go back to 9/11 to remember how they felt then,” prompting an “oh, wow” from CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, and Williams passed along how “a Democratic politico said to me this week, if the Democrats do their job, they'll make this 'fundamentals of the economy' quote to McCain what 'mission accomplished' was to President Bush.”

ABC's World News brought up Iraq as David Muir referred to how a man in Manhattan “asked today what about the more than $600 billion already spent on Iraq?” Muir also read an e-mail: “Why make the little people bail out these companies?” Of course, the “little people” won't since they barely or don't pay any income tax. One-third of those who file pay nothing or get money back while the bottom 50 percent ($32,000 down), who earn 12 percent of the total income, pay less than 3 percent of taxes collected. The top 25 percent ($65,000 up) pay 86 percent and the top 1 percent ($389,000) pay 40 percent, so maybe the wealthier will get something for all they put in.
September 19, 2008, 3:31 AM EDT
Thursday night's edition of E!'s risque, celebrity gossip driven Chelsea Lately half-hour variety and talk show opened with a skit of host Chelsea Handler as a “dodgeball addict” pelting balls at her helpless staff members.
September 18, 2008, 9:39 PM EDT
CBS News reporter Chip Reid, who was general counsel in 1987 for Joe Biden's short presidential run, on Thursday night, unlike his colleagues on ABC and NBC, highlighted how Republican Senator Chuck Hagel denigrated the qualifications of Biden's VP competitor, Sarah Palin. Reid concluded his CBS Evening News story by noting how “Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, says it's a 'stretch' to say 'Sarah Palin is qualified to be President,'” and, with matching text on screen, Reid read how Hagel told the Omaha World-Herald: “You get a passport for the first time in your life last year?”

Reid did at least acknowledge that “Hagel has split with his party on a number of issues” (and, though Reid didn't get specific, traveled with Obama to the Middle East in August), but Reid saw Hagel as emblematic of wider concern, asserting “he's one of a number of prominent Republicans who have questioned whether Palin has enough experience in foreign policy.”
September 18, 2008, 8:27 PM EDT
Comparisons to the current Wall Street financial situation to the Great Depression have not been unusual in the media, but Thursday's NBC Nightly News went a step further into inducing panic. Delivering a healthy dose of hyperbole, Steve Liesman of CNBC prompted a “wow” from anchor Brian Williams when he raised the spectre that the credit troubles could lead, “some” would say, to the “U.S. becoming a banana republic” while those in favor of federal action to take over bad debt “would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.” Leisman's warning:
I think there are some people who would say that this is, creates a danger, taking on all this bad debt of the U.S. becoming a banana republic. I think those, the proponents of this plan would say by losing our banking system, and maybe even Wall Street the way we're going, we would be that much closer to being a banana republic.
September 17, 2008, 9:46 PM EDT
Two weeks after Sarah Palin's convention speech “reporters are still fact-checking what they hear from her, as our own Savannah Guthrie does for us tonight,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams announced Wednesday evening. But of Guthrie's five presumed misstatements by Palin, two were remarks made by Palin “aides,” not Palin herself; one, the “Bridge to Nowhere,” was already dissected eight days ago on the same newscast; and on another, how previous VP nominees have not met foreign leaders, Guthrie didn't disprove Palin's contention.

Up first, how Palin asserted “my job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas.” Guthrie pounced: “She's wrong. Alaska accounts for only 3.5 percent of America's total energy production, 7.5 percent of oil and gas.” Unmentioned by NBC: How the Alaska Resource Development Council's Web site has stated: “Alaska's oil and gas industry” accounts “for an average of 20 percent of the entire nation's domestic production.”
September 16, 2008, 10:35 PM EDT
ABC reporter David Wright on Tuesday night, forced to summarize the tax plans of John McCain and Barack Obama in 30 seconds, described them through a distorted liberal prism. Though McCain wishes to continue all the income tax rates from the Bush tax cuts, with no hike or decrease for any income level, Wright asserted: “He'd make permanent the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.” No, for all Americans.

Obama, Wright proceeded to report, “would raise taxes on the wealthy, people who make more than $250,000 a year, but cut them for most households.” The text on screen, however, stated an impossibility: “Cut taxes on most households (95%).” That 95 percent is impossible since one-third of those who file with the IRS are “non-payers,” people who end up paying no tax or get money back which exceeds their payments. Obama plans to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and create other credits. For those for whom the credits surpass their tax obligation, those are not tax cuts, but spending hikes or federal giveaways akin to welfare.
September 15, 2008, 1:32 AM EDT
In a Sunday Washington Post hit piece on Sarah Palin, “As Mayor of Wasilla, Palin Cut Own Duties, Left Trail of Bad Blood,” reporter Alec MacGillis took this inadvertently humorous shot at the growth of Wasilla during her years as Mayor, an observation that could be made just as well about many booming suburban and ex-urban areas of the lower 48:  
The light hand of government is evident in the town's commercial core, essentially a haphazard succession of big-box stores, fast-food restaurants and shopping plazas.
Sounds like most of Northern Virginia outside of Washington, DC, or many other areas of the country, most with a pretty heavy hand of government-ruled zoning.
September 14, 2008, 9:25 PM EDT
Speaking of “dishonesty” in McCain's TV ads, on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume pointed out Barack “Obama goes around claiming he's going to cut the taxes of 95 percent of the public, which is literally impossible” since “40 percent of American taxpayers don't pay any income tax,” but that hasn't stopped ABC (directly) and CBS (implicitly) in recent days from advancing that Obama claim as fact. Charles Gibson, in his third interview session with Sarah Palin excerpted on Friday's 20/20 and Nightline (see earlier NB item), stated that Obama will extend the “Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country.”

On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason looked at how the Obama and McCain tax plans would impact three Ohio families, including Charles and Joi Beacham who earn $32,000. Mason asked them: “In terms of taxes, what do you want from the next President?” Joi, a school teacher with an astounding level of chutzpah, replied: “Relief.” Chutzpah because, as Mason only noted later (and deserves credit for doing so unlike many of his colleagues over the years), the Beachams “paid no taxes in 2007.” Nonetheless, Mason proceeded to report how the Beachams would benefit more from Obama than McCain since they “would see no change in their taxes under McCain, but the Obama plan would help them” because they would get refundable credits and thus “receive a check from the government for more than $2,200.”
September 14, 2008, 6:04 AM EDT
Democratic VP nominee Joe Biden's Friday release of his tax returns embarrassingly revealed, according to a Bloomberg item in Saturday's Boston Globe, that Biden and his wife have, over the past ten years, donated a piddling “two-tenths of 1 percent” of their income to charities, but Saturday's Washington Post article didn't mention that and instead allocated six of ten paragraphs to how “progressive groups...want to determine whether [Sarah] Palin skirted tax obligations.” (In the middle of a paragraph deep into its story, Saturday's New York Times reported the mere “$995 in gifts to charities” by the Bidens in 2007, but made no further note of it.)  
        
In the Post article, “Biden Releases His Tax Returns,” reporters Lyndsey Layton and Matthew Mosk pointed out how Biden is the “poorest” U.S. Senator, and then pivoted to Palin:
The disclosure came as Democrats tried to put increasing pressure on the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to release her returns. Progressive groups said they want to determine whether Palin skirted tax obligations on about $17,000 in per diem payments she received as part of an arrangement that paid her extra for the nights she stayed in her home in Wasilla instead of the governor's mansion in Juneau, 600 miles away....
September 14, 2008, 1:52 AM EDT
With “Where's the Fight?” on screen under video of a man in New Hampshire who pushed Barack Obama (“When and how are you going to start fighting back?”), Katie Couric teased Friday's CBS Evening News: “Supporters of Barack Obama are frustrated and letting him know it.” Couric set up the story by highlighting how “an Obama campaign official sent out a memo saying 'today is the first day of the rest of the campaign,' and vowing to take the fight to John McCain. But Dean Reynolds reports the new edge Obama tried out today wasn't sharp enough for some of his supporters.”

Indeed, Reynolds, who soon asserted that “many think” McCain's ads are “lies,” began his piece by showcasing the one questioner: “At a stop in New Hampshire today, Glenn Grasso of Dover asked Barack Obama a question on the minds of many Democrats.” Grasso pleaded: “When and how are you going to start fighting back against attack ads and the smear campaigns?” After a clip of Obama insisting “our ads have been pretty tough,” Reynolds focused on how “the audience here was clearly expecting more” and “what bothers many Democrats is what happened next. The audience literally coaxing a word from him that baldly describes what many think of the McCain camp's tactics.” Viewers then heard a man in the audience yell “lies!” before Obama endorsed his word: “Lies, that's the word I was looking for.”
September 13, 2008, 2:02 AM EDT
In portions of Charles Gibson's third interview with Sarah Palin aired on Friday's 20/20 and Nightline, but not earlier on World News, Gibson demanded to know why she and John McCain “keep saying” Barack Obama will raise taxes when he says he won't, followed up her wish that Roe v Wade be overturned by -- in a question left out of the ABCNews.com transcript -- contending “it's a critical issue for so many women. You believe women should not have that choice?” and after Palin expressed support for gun rights, he asserted “we spend billions of dollars a year every year treating people who are victims of gun violence” and pleaded, as if more gun control is the only solution: “Nothing we can do about that?”

As the two sat in Palin's Wasilla home, Gibson scolded her and McCain:
Why do you both keep saying that Obama is going to raise people's taxes? It's been pretty clear what he intends. He's talked about middle-class tax cuts, extending Bush tax cuts on everything but people who own or earn more than $250,000 a year -- cuts taxes on over 91 percent of the country. Why do you keep saying he's going to raise people's taxes?
September 12, 2008, 8:47 PM EDT
In Charles Gibson's third interview session with Sarah Palin, conducted at her home in Wasilla and featured on Friday's World News, Gibson asserted “we've got a very sick economy,” pressed her to list how she'd change Bush economic policy, insisted she concede “it's now pretty clearly documented you supported that bridge before you opposed it” (and to defend Alaska's continued earmark requests), all before he ran through several social issues -- from abortion to guns -- forcing her to state positions Gibson certainly realized would cement her to ideologically conservative positions seen as extreme by many of his viewers.

On the economy, with the Palin's airplane visible lakeside in the background, Gibson proposed: “John McCain and you are now talking about the GOP as a party of change. We've got a very sick economy. Tell me the three principal things you would do to change the Bush economic policies.” Amongst his follow-ups: “Summarize the three things that you'd change in the Bush economic plans.” Gibson soon ran through a list of social issue topics:
> Roe v. Wade, do you think it should be reversed?...John McCain would allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. Do you believe in it only in the case where the life of the mother is in danger?...Would you change and accept it in rape and incest?

> Embryonic stem cell research, John McCain has been supportive of it.

> Homosexuality, genetic or learned?

> Guns: 70 percent of this country supports a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. Do you?
September 12, 2008, 2:02 PM EDT
Newsweek reporter Suzanne Smalley declared on MSNBC shortly before 1 PM EDT this afternoon that “over the past few weeks, the McCain campaign has really gotten down and dirty. A lot of their ads have been flat-out lies.” So, she pleaded: “Obama needs to really take the steering wheel back. Many Democrats in Washington are worried.”

Smalley was encouraged, however, by how at Thursday night's National Service Forum “McCain gave Obama a present on a silver platter by talking about the fact that he's divorced from the every day challenges that people in America face. So I think Obama is going to be using that in the coming days.”
September 12, 2008, 1:32 AM EDT

ABC's Charles Gibson pressed Sarah Palin repeatedly, in a fresh interview excerpt aired on Thursday's "Nightline," to cry uncle and concede global warming is “man-made” -- but even when she did he wasn't satisfied and pushed for more of a mea culpa. "Nightline," which made “War, God and Oil” the on-screen header for excerpts from Gibson's interviews, began with a slightly longer version of what "World News" carried earlier, mostly about foreign policy, followed by new video from a second interview Gibson conducted as the two walked alongside the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Gibson presumed not believing global warming is “man-made” is some kind of shameful oddity as he wondered: “Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?” Palin offered that “I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” but that wasn't enough for Gibson, who held up John McCain as the oracle and lectured: