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
August 20, 2008, 9:26 PM EDT

CBS News reporter Dean Reynolds, who on Tuesday night centered a story on how “Obama is pivoting toward a more combative style, rebuking the Republicans for habitually turning differences over policy into questions about patriotism, a habit he said John McCain has readily embraced,” on Wednesday night countered John McCain's assurance he is “not questioning” Barack Obama's “patriotism, I am questioning his judgment.” After playing that soundbite from McCain in story pegged to how a new CBS News poll found McCain has cut Obama's lead in half since two weeks ago, Reynolds retorted:

Yet the McCain campaign continues to run ads attacking Obama on a personal level, belittling him as a shallow celebrity and describing him as fussy, hysterical, or testy. And while Obama's been fighting back lately, our poll found a majority believes McCain spends more time attacking Obama [52%] than explaining what he would do as President [38%].

Reynolds then concluded by acknowledging that “with the race getting closer, there's a sense that whatever voters may think about it” -- and, though he didn't say it, journalists -- “McCain's strategy may be helping him catch up.”

August 20, 2008, 5:20 PM EDT

The Tuesday, July 29 episode of the Late Show with David Letterman, during which the “Top Ten Signs Barack Obama is Overconfident” was produced, but then edited out from what aired for time -- yet accidentally posted with video for a day or so leading to charges, after the text and video were removed from the Late Show site, that CBS spiked the list -- will re-run tonight (Wednesday).

So tune in to see if the list is restored to the show (doubtful), or the show airs again as it did the first time (most likely). Letterman read the list for the studio audience immediately after the second ad break and just before guest Kevin Costner. As originally aired, the show went straight from the ad break to Letterman introducing Costner.

My August 6 NewsBusters item. “Non-Scandal: CBS/Late Show Did Not Spike Anti-Obama 'Top Ten,'” explained the allegations and the reality. I since updated that post with an image of the list as published in the August 11 e-mailed Late Show Newsletter: “From the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska...An Exclusive Un-Aired Top Ten List Edited from the 7/29/08 Broadcast: 'Top Ten Signs Barack Obama Is Overconfident.'” Image here is of the list in last week's newsletter. Go below the break to see a larger version.

August 20, 2008, 2:35 AM EDT

Delivering the ultimate liberal insult, in an online commentary posted Tuesday morning on CNNPolitics.com, CNN's Jack Cafferty charged that John McCain is as incompetent and incapable as President George W. Bush. “It occurs to me that John McCain is as intellectually shallow as our current President,” Cafferty felt compelled to share. “Bush goes bumbling along, grinning and spewing moronic one-liners, as though nobody understands what a colossal failure he has been,” Cafferty fretted before concluding: “I fear to the depth of my being that John McCain is just like him.”

What set off Cafferty? McCain's “shallow, simplistic and trite” answers during Saturday's Saddleback forum in which “he showed the same intellectual curiosity that George Bush has -- virtually none.” The contributor of “The Cafferty File” segments on The Situation Room complained in his posting: “Throughout the evening, McCain chose to recite portions of his stump speech as answers to the questions he was being asked. Why? He has lived 71 years. Surely he has some thoughts on what it all means that go beyond canned answers culled from the same speech he delivers every day.”

August 19, 2008, 10:10 PM EDT

CBS and NBC led Tuesday night with speculation over the VP picks, but moved quickly, without citing any proof of John McCain's supposed scurrilous attack on Barack Obama's patriotism, to Obama condemning McCain for questioning his patriotism.

“Patriot games,” CBS Evening News anchor Harry Smith teased, “Barack Obama fights back.” Viewers then heard a clip of Obama before the VFW: “I will let no one question my love of this country.” Reporter Dean Reynolds described how “Obama is pivoting toward a more combative style, rebuking the Republicans for habitually turning differences over policy into questions about patriotism, a habit he said John McCain has readily embraced.” CBS ran two Obama soundbites, yet on Monday, when McCain addressed the VFW, CBS didn't show a second of him. Reynolds soon asserted that McCain and Republicans “had the stage to themselves last week while Obama vacationed.” Certainly not on the CBS Evening News which spent the week puffing Obama.

On the NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell touted how “Obama strongly defended his patriotism today to veterans, the same group that heard John McCain attack him yesterday,” and relayed how Obama's “hearing a lot of messages from all across the country that he has not been tough enough. He has to go after John McCain, he's got to be more aggressive.”

August 19, 2008, 11:20 AM EDT

“Over the last 10 years,” the just-released biennial news consumption survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press determined, “virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline” and “Democrats continue to give most news organizations much higher credibility ratings than do Republicans.”

Based on past Pew polls, CNN touts itself as “the most trusted name in news,” but the percent who “believe all or most” of what CNN reports has fallen 12 points, to 30 percent, since Pew first posed the question in 1998. Yet, in a sign of how far the news media have fallen in the eyes of the public, that puts CNN at the top of the 12 television news outlets analyzed, as well as above all the newspapers and online sources. Believability for ABC News, CBS News and NBC News is down six points over the past ten years, to 24 percent for ABC and NBC, 22 percent for CBS, but that's still better than the mere 18 percent who “believe all or most” of what they read in the New York Times.   

The extensive polling conducted in May also discovered that the audiences for CNN and MSNBC, “which were heavily Democratic two years ago, have become even more so: fully 51 percent of CNN's regular viewers are Democrats while only 18 percent are Republicans. MSNBC's audience makeup is similar -- 45 percent of regular viewers of MSNBC are Democrats, 18 percent are Republicans” and “the regular audience for nightly network news also is now about two-to-one Democratic (45 percent vs. 22 percent Republican).”

August 18, 2008, 9:10 AM EDT

With this year's vice presidential picks expected any day now, time to go into the MRC archive for a look back to 2000 when Dan Rather's left-wing tilt still got air time on a major network.

When George W. Bush named Dick Cheney, Rather introduced the Tuesday, July 25, 2000 CBS Evening News story by relaying the derisive and negative Democratic spin against the GOP ticket:

In the presidential campaign, the official announcement and first photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his running mate Richard Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote 'two Texas oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting record in Congress as again quote, 'outside the American mainstream' because of Cheney's votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman's right to choose abortion -- against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it -- and Cheney's votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush's choice and Cheney's experience.

But two weeks later, his glowing Tuesday, August 8, 2000 set up of the Gore-Lieberman pairing forwarded the Democratic ticket’s boasts about themselves which included a sly dig at Bush-Cheney:

Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore officially introduced his history-making running mate today, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of Jewish heritage and faith. The two started running right away. In their first joint appearance they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman fight-back, come-back strategy. Their message: They represent the future, not the past, and they are the ticket of high moral standards most in tune with real mainstream America.

Audio: MP3 audio of Rather on Bush-Cheney; MP3 of Rather on Gore-Lieberman.

August 18, 2008, 2:35 AM EDT

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell reviewed how many stories the newspaper put on the front page about John McCain and Barcak Obama over the past ten weeks and discovered a wide gap in favor of Obama, a “disparity,” she declared, “so wide that it doesn't look good.” Howell, the Washington Bureau chief and editor of Newhouse News from 1990 until 2005, outlined in her weekly Sunday column what she determined:

August 15, 2008, 9:54 PM EDT

John McCain finally received some positive coverage Friday night from the broadcast networks as Barack Obama's vacation ended -- a couple of sentences on ABC and CBS about how he raised $27 million in July, the most ever. Then those newscasts, and NBC's, ran full stories trumpeting evangelist Rick Warren's Saturday “Civil Forum on the Presidency” featuring McCain and Obama, with CBS and NBC stressing his rejection of past narrow conservative interests as both pegged their stories to conservative push back against the fear McCain will pick a “pro-choice” VP. Taking up McCain's consideration of Tom Ridge, CBS's Bob Schieffer asserted “religious conservatives...just went nuts.” NBC's Andrea Mitchell contrasted McCain's “rocky relationship with the religious right” with how Obama is “reaching out by softening the party's platform on abortion.”

On Warren, CBS reporter Ben Tracy trumpeted “Warren's attempt to redefine evangelicals by breaking with the politics of the past” and how Warren “doesn't want to talk about just abortion and gay marriage, but also poverty and disease.” NBC's Mitchell recalled that in 2004, 80 percent of evangelicals “voted for George Bush over John Kerry,” but “this year they could be less predictably Republican” and “that's because Rick Warren says many younger evangelicals define social issues broadly -- to include global warming, human rights, poverty, not just abortion.” She then featured a soundbite from Warren:

I call myself whole life, which means I don't just believe in that little girl before she's born but I believe that it's important to care about after she's born, whether she's poor, whether she's educated.
August 14, 2008, 10:14 PM EDT

For the fourth straight weekday as Barack Obama vacations, he received better coverage on the broadcast network evening shows than the non-vacationing John McCain. Without fresh video of Obama, the CBS Evening News came up with a new way to tout Obama's campaign as they compared the Web sites of the two candidates and declared Obama's far superior. Reporter Daniel Sieberg asserted “McCain's Web site is still playing catch up to Obama's use of cyberspace.” Turning to “Web design expert Doug Jaeger,” Sieberg echoed Joe Biden in applying the term “clean” to Obama as he highlighted how “Jaeger describes Obama's site as clean; and McCain's as cluttered.” Jaeger complained about JohnMcCain.com: “He's using lots of different typefaces at all different sizes which gives you a feeling of chaos.”

Sieberg soon trumpeted how on BarackObama.com “kids have their own special area, including a logo to color,” while the dour McCain “offers a game called Pork Invaders on his Facebook page,” but if you do well, Sieberg sarcastically noted, “you're rewarded [pause] with a statement about pork-barrel politics.” Withe the contrasting numbers on screen, the CBS reporter also championed Obama's transcendence on social networks which are largely only used by younger people:

The Obama campaign may hope the Internet will do for Obama what television did for John F. Kennedy in 1960. Just compare the candidate's popularity on the social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. While both campaigns hope their supporters spread the word, Obama is "friended" almost seven times more than McCain.
August 14, 2008, 1:19 AM EDT

Viacom-owned BET on Friday night will launch a weekly half-hour news and interview program hosted by a left-wing political activist, and though it is titled The Truth, the AP's David Bauder reported it is “described as a cross between Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher with a black perspective.” The 11 PM EDT show will be hosted by Jeff Johnson, whom Bauder noted in his Wednesday AP dispatch, was “an activist for the NAACP and People for the American Way.”

Bauder observed that the program's “debut is timed for the Democratic National Convention” and that BET “will also air Barack Obama's speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 28 live, just like its competitor TV One. Neither network, however, is airing John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican convention the next week.” Amongst “news specials” BET will air during the nights of the Democratic convention: one “focusing on how ex-convicts can't vote” and another on “whether Obama could be considered a manifestation of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech.”

August 13, 2008, 9:25 PM EDT

For the third weekday as Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii, John McCain on the campaign trail received more hostile coverage from the broadcast network evening newscasts -- to the extent they bothered to cover the presidential campaign. In a full story on CBS, Dean Reynolds recalled how McCain promised “to conduct a respectful campaign,” but citing McCain's celebrity ad, charged “now it frequently seems respect takes a backseat to ridicule.”

NBC, which also didn't touch the campaign on Monday or Tuesday, ignored it again Wednesday, though in a story on TV ads during the Olympics Chris Jansing asserted the Obama ads deliver “optimism and hope” while McCain's have a “more negative tone.” For the first time this week, ABC skipped the campaign, but anchor Charles Gibson raised Obama's “windfall profits” proposal with Exxon Mobil's chief: “When the public sees the kind of profits that the oil companies are making, isn't it fair that they wonder, 'why not?'”

August 13, 2008, 2:23 AM EDT

At the top of the first hour of Tuesday's The Situation Room on CNN, fill-in anchor Suzanne Malveaux led with Russia's invasion of Georgia and she cited how “Moscow responded with a show of military muscle that was reminiscent of the Cold War era.” But 40 minutes later, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider contended that raising the very “Cold War” specter CNN had reported could “frighten” voters.

He characterized John McCain's assessment, about how Vladimir Putin's "ambitions are to restore the old Russian empire,” as “ominous” and warned that such language may hurt McCain since it could cause “some voters” to “worry: Does he want to start a new Cold War?” Schneider argued: “The risk for McCain is that he could overplay the issue and frighten war-weary voters, whose priorities are at home right now.”

August 12, 2008, 9:10 PM EDT

Just as on Monday night, Barack Obama vacationing in Hawaii while John McCain remains on the campaign trail (he held a town meeting in York, Pennsylvania), failed to change the media dynamic of greater and better coverage for Obama. CBS on Tuesday night gave equal time to comments from both candidates on Russia's invasion of Georgia before Jeff Greenfield, echoing ABC the night before, twisted news -- that a top Clinton campaign operative recommended attacking Obama as less than genuinely American -- into reprimanding McCain for supposedly following that strategy. Meanwhile, ABC pegged its campaign story to how “former Congressman Jim Leach, a respected Republican from Iowa, threw his support behind Barack Obama today.”

Over video of Obama in Kailua, Couric relayed how “Barack Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, put out a statement repeating his call for Russia to stop its attacks.” Greenfield recited how chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn “wrote, quote: 'I cannot imagine America electing a President during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values'” As video played of parts of two McCain ads, including the one with Paris Hilton which Couric last month denounced as “infamous,” Greenfield asserted:

To look now at some of John McCain's TV and Web ads, it is almost as if his campaign is following Penn's outsider strategy to the letter. For instance, the constant reference to Obama as a celebrity.
August 11, 2008, 10:35 PM EDT

So much for John McCain's hope that remaining on the campaign trail this week while Barack Obama vacations in Hawaii would lead to more or friendlier coverage. At least not on Monday night when Katie Couric highlighted how “Obama put out a tongue in cheek response to Senator McCain's celebrity ad” and she helpfully pointed out: “The ad also features six different shots of Senator McCain next to President Bush.” Later, CBS allocated more than three minutes to a “CBS News Exclusive” interview and profile by Couric of “Barack Obama's brain,” Valerie Jarrett, who “just may be the most powerful woman in Chicago besides Oprah.”

ABC centered an entire piece around revelations Hillary Clinton campaign operatives planned to “question Obama's authenticity as an American. She rejected that strategy,” yet ABC managed to twist the story into Obama victimization as anchor Charles Gibson fretted: “There are indications that John McCain may be adopting it now.”

Reporter Jake Tapper warned “some say that John McCain has tried to subtly portray Obama as not quite American enough, playing up Obama’s popularity abroad.” The proof? This from McCain at a South Dakota motorcycle rally last week: “Not long ago, a couple of hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I'll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day!” Tapper moved on to how McCain's ad narrator saying “John McCain: The American President Americans have been waiting for” is “a line many saw as implying something not American about Obama.” Tapper ominously concluded:

ABC News has learned that an independent conservative group has been filming in Indonesia where Obama spent a few years during his childhood. So even if Senator McCain does not draw attention to that unusual quality of Obama’s youth, someone will.
August 11, 2008, 1:46 AM EDT

Originally posted on Wednesday, May 14:

Trumpeting the “major endorsement” from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night with the “dramatic” announcement of the “political prize” that gives Obama a “major boost.” Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate “our top story tonight” as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: “John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two.”

ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, compete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged:

Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy.

Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free.

August 10, 2008, 3:15 PM EDT

USA Today founder Al Neuharth suggested in his weekly column for the paper on Friday that, as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin preceded the rise of the German democracy and the 1980 Olympics in Moscow preceded Russia's move toward democracy, the Olympic games this year in Beijing “will bring 1.3 billion closer” to the end of communism. In the “Other Views” below Neuharth's column, Foundation for Defense of Democracies journalist in residence Claudia Rossett scoffed at Neuharth's naive romanticism which discounted the role of America's efforts:

Progress in Germany and Russia had nothing to do with the Olympics, and everything to do with the U.S. fighting for freedom in two global conflicts: World War II and the Cold War. America didn't win by playing ping-pong.

Neuharth had contended:

Nazi Germany hosted the Games in Berlin in 1936. Now that country is one of the world's proudest democracies. Communist Moscow was the host city in 1980. Now Russia has moved close to true democracy, although it's not quite there yet. This is not a prediction that communism will disappear from China quickly. But betcha the Olympic Games will bring 1.3 billion closer to that goal. So China and the world will win. Ping-pong might even become a global pastime.
August 10, 2008, 8:23 AM EDT

The campaign news so far this month, as told via Washington Post stories on the tone on the campaign trail and in advertising: McCain “employs lowest common denominator,” Obama reacts “too softly for some” and yet gets “no vacation from McCain's attacks.” The headlines:

August 9, 2008, 6:58 PM EDT

Over a drawing of Michael Dukakis waving in front of Air Force One, the cover story for last Sunday's Boston Globe Magazine posed the question very few have ever wanted answered, but if such people exist they most likely live within the Globe's home delivery area: “What If? Twenty years later, imagining there was a President Dukakis.” While certainly hagiographic, staff magazine writer Charles P. Pierce avoided the ludicrous level of veneration he espoused in a 2003 profile of Senator Ted Kennedy:

If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.

The August 3 piece imagined a tour of the new Michael Dukakis Presidential Museum and Library in Lowell, Mass. which highlights how the former Massachusetts Governor slam-dunked Bernard Shaw's murder of Kitty Dukakis question, “deftly saved” himself from the tank ride embarrassment “by quipping, 'I looked silly in a tank for 15 minutes. George Bush has been in the tank for 30 years,'” applied his diplomatic skills to prevent Saddam Hussein from invading Iraq and thus avoided the Gulf War, and “the success of his diplomatic efforts in the Middle East gave him the political capital to spend on reforming the nation's passenger-rail system” and so “the third floor of the museum is built around a central hall celebrating what Dukakis had come to call 'The Steel Interstate.'”

August 8, 2008, 9:19 PM EDT

In the lead item on Friday's “Grapevine” segment on FNC's Special Report, anchor Bret Baier credited NewsBusters for documenting how Thursday night ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News stories, on Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick being sent to jail by a judge, “failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.”

Baier first outlined how the AP neglected to mention his party, but “when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was indicted” last month “the AP made his party affiliation clear” since “the article included the word 'Republican' seven times and 'GOP' four times.” Baier then pointed out:

Media watchdog Web site NewsBusters.org reports that both ABC World News and NBC Nightly News also failed to report Kilpatrick's party affiliation.

August 7, 2008, 10:01 PM EDT

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hardly reticent about touting himself as a Democrat. After all, he's the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and in January was re-elected its representative to the Democratic National Committee. But in ABC and NBC news stories Thursday night about how a Michigan judge ordered him to jail immediately for violating his bond, neither identified him as a Democrat (verbally or on screen) -- not even in a full two-minute NBC story. On CBS, fill-in anchor Russ Mitchell didn't mention Kilpatrick's party in three teases/plugs for the upcoming story, nor in the introduction to it, but two-thirds into his report, Dean Reynolds, who in a March story failed to ID Kilpatrick, referenced: “Once a rising star in Democratic Party politics...”

Making that same “rising star” point, from a smoggy (or foggy?) Beijing, NBC anchor Brian Williams managed to avoid mentioning Kilpatrick's party affiliation:

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was once viewed as a rising political star in the United States. Tonight he has fallen pretty far from those early lofty and glowing predictions...

Two of the cable news networks were no more accurate. Filling in on MSNBC's Hardball, Mike Barnicle avoided Kilpatrick's party in a brief item on news of his jailing while on CNN's The Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer did not note Kilpatrick's Democratic affiliation in several updates and plugs and, in a full story in the 5PM EDT hour, the MRC's Matthew Balan noticed, Mary Snow failed to verbally name Kilpatrick's party in her piece.The only hint came in this chyron at the bottom of the screen for barely three seconds: "MAYOR KWAME KILPATRICK (D) DETROIT."