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
July 8, 2008, 9:22 PM EDT
As was pattern earlier this year and last, ABC's World News is much more willing -- than its CBS and NBC competitors -- to acknowledge good news in the Iraq war. On Tuesday night, ABC's Martha Raddatz cited “some really impressive gains” as she reported the plummeting number of attacks in Baghdad, falling from 1,278 in June of 2007 to 112 last month. The night before, only anchor Charlie Gibson highlighted the “upbeat assessment of security in Iraq today from Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen.”

Neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Mullen on Monday night while NBC's Jim Miklaszewski only noted less violence in Iraq in contrast to a “record number of Americans killed in Afghanistan last month,” so “if there's any bright side here...it's that the level of violence in Iraq has come down enough” to allow the military to move resources to Afghanistan.

Tuesday night, CBS anchor Katie Couric offered just a clause on violence in Iraq -- “Iraq's national security adviser called today for setting a timetable, a sign Baghdad is growing more confident as the violence decreases” -- before finding a away to deliver depressing news about Iraq: How though Iraqi oil profits “are on the rise,” the “money is not going to one place it's desperately needed.” That would be ill-equipped hospitals.
July 5, 2008, 6:13 AM EDT

When far-left former Democratic Senator Howard Metzenbaum passed away in March, the NBC Nightly News didn't identify his party or apply any ideological label as fill-in anchor Ann Curry hailed his life as “the classic American success story” of a man who “always fought for the little guy, taking on the oil and insurance industries” while he “stuck to his populist principles.”

But on Friday night, Independence Day holiday fill-in anchor Lester Holt accurately described former Senator Jesse Helms, who passed away earlier in the day at age 86, as “a Republican and staunch conservative” as well as “a champion to the right and a lighting rod to the left.” NBC reporter Martin Savidge, however, tagged Helms as “an ultra-rightist” when he won his Senate seat in1972, though Savidge concluded his review of Helms' career by portraying the late Senator's ideology in a positive light: “Helms finally left the Senate in 2003 at the age of 81, and for the rest of his life would proudly wear the unofficial title of the Senate's most conservative Senator.”

Holt painted Helms from the negative, what he was against as opposed to what he favored: “He staked out firm positions against everything from communism and foreign aid to civil rights and modern art.”

July 3, 2008, 2:33 AM EDT

FNC's Brit Hume led his Wednesday night “Grapevine” segment by marveling that though “you might have thought it was big news Tuesday when the administration reported to Congress that Iraq had made satisfactory progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks set by the U.S.,” up from progress on only eight a year earlier, “the Media Research Center says there was not a word about the report on the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News or ABC's World News Tonight.”

Hume added that “the New York Times also ignored the story, and the Washington Post relegated its coverage to page eight,” before he expressed astonishment at the AP's spin:

And this -- and I'm not making this up -- is how the Associated Press began its story on the report: “No matter who's elected President in November, his foreign policy team will have to deal with...the slow pace with which the government in Baghdad operates.”
July 2, 2008, 1:33 AM EDT
After leading Tuesday's Special Report with how “last year the administration reported satisfactory progress on only about eight of 18 benchmarks” while this year, in a report disclosed Tuesday, the administration determined “there has been satisfactory progress on 15 of the 18,” FNC's Brit Hume doubted “word of this progress is going to get through” to the public as he predicted:
I suspect that this broadcast tonight -- and maybe some others on this channel -- are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.
Indeed, neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned Iraq while on ABC's World News anchor Charles Gibson read a short update about “increasing dangers for U.S. troops in Afghanistan” since “in the month of June there were 28 American fatalities in Afghanistan, just one less than died in Iraq last month.” CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 was also silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks.
June 30, 2008, 9:35 AM EDT
Here we go again. Just as with 2001-2003 coverage of Bush's tax cuts which gave the greatest percent cut to those in the lowest income tax bracket (going from 15 down to 10 percent, a 33 percent reduction), ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday chose to undermine the fairness of John McCain's proposed tax plan (and illustrate the media hostility sure to greet McCain whenever he takes a conservative position) by citing estimated dollar cuts by income level, as if it's unfair for someone earning more to get a larger dollar amount tax cut than someone making less.

Citing the Tax Policy Center, a project of two left of center organizations -- the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution -- Stephanopoulos reminded This Week guest Tim Pawlenty, the Republican Governor of Minnesota, how “your trademark has been that the Republican Party has to be the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club.” Stephanopoulos, who failed to hit his other guest, Democratic Congressman Rahm Emmanuel with any numbers critical of Obama's tax plan, pounced on Pawlenty:
The Tax Policy Institute [actually, Center] has crunched the numbers on John McCain's tax plan. I want to put some of them up there right now. It shows that if you're making under $60,000 a year about, the bottom 60 percent will get about $150. The top one percent of people, making about $600,000 a year, get $45,000. The top 0.1 percent -- that's approaching $3 million a year -- get almost $270,000. How do you sell that as a plan that targets Sam's Club more than the country club?
June 30, 2008, 12:52 AM EDT
Regretting that “few grownups are concerned about the $526 billion cost so far for the Iraq war without end” because “President Bush and his rich buddies have made sure most of the monetary burden will be borne by our children and grandchildren,” USA Today founder Al Neuharth, in his weekly column on Friday, recommended “a stiff income tax surcharge” to pay for the war. But Neuharth made clear his real motive is to turn those for the war against it:
The surest way to jar us into realizing the unconscionable cost of the Iraq debacle is to impose a stiff income tax surcharge to pay for it. If we did that, most hawks would become doves overnight.
Neuharth hailed Abraham Lincoln for imposing an income tax to pay for the Civil War and stressed how the current rates in the U.S. “are below those of other major countries. France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan all assess higher rates. The Netherlands' top rate is 52% and Sweden's is 60%.”
June 26, 2008, 2:17 AM EDT

Rolling Stone is a left-wing magazine which puts liberal politicians on its cover and this year has already featured a cover story on Barack Obama, yet despite the seeming lack of any newsworthiness in a second Obama cover story, this one written by an “unabashed Obama supporter,” on Wednesday morning NBC's Today show devoted a full story to how the just-released issue of the magazine illustrated “fascination” with Obama. Co-host Matt Lauer marveled: “On the cover not a musician but a politician, Barack Obama. It's the second time he's been featured there but this time there will be no cover lines, just that photo. The magazine usually does that for the likes only of people like John Lennon. So what is the fascination with the Illinois Senator?”

In Lee Cowan's story, with “Barack Star: Obama on the Cover of Rolling Stone” as the on-screen tag, Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, who conducted the interview with Obama, gushed: “The tides of history are running strong and fast these days. Ride them or be crushed. Obama has history on his side and that's pretty irresistible.” Cowan then described Wenner as “an unabashed Obama supporter. So not surprisingly today's six-page spread offers no hard questions,” as if that's any different than the friendly approach taken by Cowan and his media colleagues.

Cowan proceeded to recite Obama's answers to the easy questions, starting with how “he describes his iPod as a mix of everything from Stevie Wonder to Jay-Z,” before tossing in his own adulation: “Just this week, Donatella Versace debuted a clothing line she says was inspired by the Senator.” Cowan concluded with a portrait of a humble Obama just trying to do good in the face of unwanted publicity:

Despite it all Obama says he no longer takes great satisfaction in being the center of attention. In fact he tells the magazine that feeding his vanity is not what's important, but doing good work is. The problem: with one, comes the other.
June 25, 2008, 9:37 PM EDT
Going to extraordinary lengths to pull at the heartstrings of viewers, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News focused on, in the words of anchor Brian Williams, “the innocent victims of the foreclosure crisis” -- that would be dogs, pigs, goats and horses. Meanwhile, ABC discovered people are more likely to get murdered at work in these “hard economic times,” though they really haven't been. At the end of a story on a workplace shooting in which five were murdered, reporter Eric Horng acknowledged “workplace violence is down in recent years,” but he nonetheless ominously warned: “For smaller companies it remains tough to prevent, because security is costly. And in today's economic environment, disgruntled workers can be reluctant to discuss problems.”

NBC put “TOUGH TIMES” on screen with a picture of a puppy as Williams introduced the story reported by Chris Jansing who, back in May, centered a piece on an elderly couple forced to live in their van. This time, Jansing again delivered anecdotes, starting with a Seattle woman who “has never experienced anything like this -- not just dogs and cats, but horses, pigs, goats -- so many, she has to turn away three out of four animals.” Going south, she asserted that “in May, the number of animals turned into Los Angeles City shelters jumped 30 percent,” which hardly seems like a crisis, and a local official fretted: “Pets seem to be the silent victims of this whole economic downturn.” Jansing next conveyed the deadly consequences:
The harsh reality is, as more animals come in, more animals have to be put down....[A]t shelters across the country, euthanasia rates are going up.
June 25, 2008, 9:41 AM EDT
Peter Boyer's profile of Keith Olbermann in the June 23 New Yorker magazine, “One Angry Man,” contained a bunch of noteworthy revelations, such as:

Olbermann wanted to be more vulgar in his “shut the hell up” insult of President Bush than TV allows. Boyer on Olbermann's May 14 “Special Comment” rant: “Phil Griffin, the senior vice-president in charge of MSNBC raised the matter of tone. Why did Olbermann need to end his commentary by telling the President of the United States to 'shut the hell up'?” Answer: "Because I can't say, 'Shut the f**k up.'”

A focus group for CNN found “audiences didn't like him.” Shortly after Olbermann returned to CNN in 2003, “Griffin ran into an old colleague at CNN, who told him that that network had considered hiring Olbermann, but focus-group tests showed that audiences didn't like him.” (In fact, Olbermann did fill-in work for CNN in late 2001 through 2002. See screen shot from January 24, 2002.)

After Olbermann delivered his first Special Comment in August of 2006 denigrating Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a “quack” pushing “fascism,” Boyer learned: “His bosses loved it. 'I think we're onto something,' the President of NBC News, Steve Capus, told me. 'That's what we keep hearing from the audience, more and more, is that they appreciate that we have people who are actually speaking truth to power...'” Olbermann wrote his diatribe after “downing 'a couple of screwdrivers'” while waiting for a plane at LAX.
June 23, 2008, 9:12 PM EDT
The Pentagon on Monday released a quarterly report showing dramatic reductions in violence in Iraq compared to a year earlier, but only ABC aired a full story Monday evening while NBC gave it short-shrift as anchor Brian Williams cited the reduction in violence “by as much as 80 percent” since “before the so-called troop surge.” He then added a caveat about how the report “also warns the positive trend here remains, quote, 'fragile, reversible and uneven.'” CBS didn't mention the Department of Defense report, but gave a few seconds to a front page USA Today story on how the number of Americans killed by roadside bombs has plummeted 88 percent from a year ago.

Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas teased, “Report card: The government says there's good news from Iraq. Violence is down dramatically, while security and the economy are improving.” Reporter Terry McCarthy recited how “civilian deaths are down 75 percent since last July. Total security incidents are at their lowest level in over four years.” McCarthy credited “a number of reasons for the progress: Better performance by the Iraqi security forces; surprising new leadership by Prime Minister Maliki, who's confronting both al-Qaeda and the militias; and the creation of 103,000 Sons of Iraq -- local security forces, many of them recruited from the insurgency.” Indeed, McCarthy confirmed the Pentagon's assessment:
For the past three weeks, we've traveled the length of Iraq, from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north, and the reduction in violence is remarkable everywhere.
June 22, 2008, 3:30 PM EDT

In a Wednesday column decrying John McCain's condemnation of the Supreme Court's ruling giving Guantanamo detainees access to the courts, former Washington Post reporter and editor Ruth Marcus illustrated that no matter how unexcited conservatives may be about McCain liberals still see him as dangerous as she expressed fear of what McCain's efforts to appease conservatives will mean for the Supreme Court if he wins:

As his evolving reactions to the Guantanamo case may indicate, legal issues are not at the center of McCain's policy interests. But they are a top priority for conservative activists, which makes me all the more nervous about what a McCain presidency would mean for the court.
Marcus, the Post's deputy national editor from 1999 through 2002 (bio), noted that “the oldest justices are also the most liberal,” so she worried “a President McCain could shift the court significantly to the right” while, she lamented, “a President Obama would be lucky, even with a Democratic Senate, to nudge the court even a bit in a liberal direction.”
June 21, 2008, 11:17 PM EDT
“The most important reason [Al] Gore should be Vice President is that he's suffered and learned. He has the temperament some of us reach on our death beds,” former Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson trumpeted in a column posted Thursday on Bloomberg.com. In “Gore Has Right Stuff for Second Turn as No. 2,” Carlson effused:
If there's anything we need to rescue us from the last eight years, it's brains, good judgment and experience. Obama has the first two. Gore has all three.
Though on this weekend's Political Capital program on Bloomberg Television she hailed Gore's “presidential timber,” she was more restrained than in her column:
If what Obama needs, and I think it's what he needs, somebody of presidential timber, why not get somebody who won the popular presidential vote and who's done everything? And  who was right about the Middle East, right about this Iraq war, knows where the lights are in the White House, has gravitas?
June 20, 2008, 10:18 PM EDT

Barack Obama on Friday pre-smeared the opposition by charging they will “make you afraid” by identifying him as black, but instead of focusing on the basis of such an allegation or decrying Obama's personal insertion of the race-card into the campaign, Wolf Blitzer opened Friday night's CNN Election Center show by hyping Obama's warning:

Tonight here in the Election Center: a highly controversial warning directly from Barack Obama's lips. He bluntly says Republicans will try to make an issue of his race. We have the audio tape, you're going to hear it here.

With “'DID I MENTION HE'S BLACK?' OBAMA PREDICTS GOP SCARE TACTICS” as the on-screen header, Blitzer announced the “Just In” news: “At a fundraiser today in Florida, Senator Barack Obama warned his supporters that the Republicans are going to try to play the race card against him in an effort to simply scare voters.” Viewers then heard audio of Obama, with the words on screen:

We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. They're going to say you know what, "He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. Did I mention he's black?"

June 20, 2008, 8:55 PM EDT
Applying the same invidious approach to campaign spending as journalists so often do to society where they equate outcome with fairness and consider income disparities to be an injustice which must be dealt with by forced redistribution of wealth via the tax code, on Friday night ABC anchor Charles Gibson fretted that Barack Obama's fundraising advantage over John McCain violates “basic fairness.” Citing Obama's decision to opt out of public financing since he knows he can raise much more than McCain, Gibson complained to George Stephanopoulos:
George, I've heard a lot of political analysis today about his decision, but let me ask you a question about basic fairness. People in this country like to believe that people play on a level playing field and that a campaign will be about ideas and personality. If you start with that much more money, is it basically fair?
Of course, conservatives would point out that the mainstream media have never provided “a level playing field” to candidates to the right of center. If Obama can raise more than his opponent it just reflects greater enthusiasm for him. And there's hardly any nobility in taking taxpayer money when you know you'll be challenged to raise a larger amount voluntarily. But I suspect what really infuriates Gibson is Obama's decision to abandon public financing, a basic tenet of liberalism.
June 19, 2008, 10:16 PM EDT
The broadcast network evening newscasts stories Thursday night all described Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing as a “flip-flop,” a “reversal” and/or a “direct contradiction” of a pledge, but CBS's Dean Reynolds also relayed Obama's rationalization -- that “he's opting out of the system to have enough money to fight the unlimited spending and what he called the 'smears' from unregulated Republican-allied organizations” -- and then, with a 2004 anti-John Kerry ad clip on screen, forwarded his own example of a supposed past smear from the right: “Such as the Swift Boat group which attacked John Kerry in 2004.”

On FNC, however, reporter Carl Cameron pointed out what didn't fit the CBS prism (nor ABC's or NBC's) in which outside groups only unfairly attack liberal Democrats: “Right now it's Obama who's getting the most outside help. He met with AFL-CIO leaders today who pledged more than $50 million to defeat McCain and the anti-war group MoveOn.org is running this attack ad nationally.” Viewers then saw the MoveOn ad with a mother and a baby:
John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for 100 years, were you counting on Alex? Because if you were, you can't have him.
June 18, 2008, 10:05 PM EDT
ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News gave plenty of time to left-wing environmentalists and Democrats opposed to President Bush's call to open up oil drilling off the shores of the continental U.S., but unlike the CBS Evening News the two newscasts provided equal time to supporters and experts who predicted it would lower gas prices. CBS reporter Bill Whitaker began with pro and con soundbites, but his story quickly deteriorated into a brief against the proposal with opponents and those saying it would do nothing to lower prices getting twice as many soundbites (4) as supporters (2).

Whitaker used California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to illustrate “bipartisan” opposition as he reminded viewers of a spill nearly 40 years ago: “In California, which suffered a devastating oil spill from a rig off Santa Barbara in 1969, opposition to offshore drilling is bipartisan.” Following a soundbite from Schwarzenegger, Whitaker hailed how “from Republican Governor Schwarzenegger to local environmentalists, California is largely green.” Whitaker next tried to undermine the proposal: “Drilling opponents say reserves off California wouldn't last long. In fact, at current consumption rates, 21 million barrels a day, Americans would use up the estimated 18 billion barrels off the coasts all around the country in less than two and a half years.”
June 18, 2008, 5:30 PM EDT
In an op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal (page A-15), “Russert Took Media Bias Seriously,” former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg observed:
What made Tim Russert different, and better, I think was his willingness to listen to -- and take seriously -- criticism about his own profession. He was willing, for example, to keep an open mind about a hot-button issue like media bias -- an issue that so many of his colleagues dismiss as the delusions of right-wing media haters.
Goldberg recalled that when he wrote Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, “no one in network television wanted to discuss the issue, no matter how many Middle Americans thought it was important.” But “Russert was the lone exception. He had me on his CNBC interview show, and we talked about bias for a full hour.” (Screen captures here and below are from that interview on the February 23, 2002 edition of Russert's CNBC show.)

In his op-ed, Goldberg quoted from an interview he conducted with Russert for his 2003 book, Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite.” (Below is a full reprint of that book chapter.)
June 17, 2008, 9:58 PM EDT
It took a bombing which killed 51 Iraqis for NBC anchor Brian Williams to acknowledge “there's been a letup in the violence of late in Iraq.” Unlike his ABC and CBS colleagues, two weeks and a day earlier Williams failed to report the death toll for Americans in Iraq in May was the lowest for any month since the war began. On Tuesday night, however, he announced:
Last night here we reported there were more Americans killed in Afghanistan than in Iraq in the month of May. It's generally believed there's been a letup in the violence of late in Iraq. That is until today.
From Baghdad, Jim Maceda reported on the deadly bombing in a shopping area, but then he contrasted the incident with improving Iraqi expectations:
Not only did the blast break the relative calm here, but it shattered a growing sense of security as well. After three to four months of relative low violence, people were starting to come out into streets, returning to schools, stores and banks were opening.
June 17, 2008, 10:13 AM EDT
Campbell Brown, filling in for Anderson Cooper, led CNN's 10 PM EDT hour Monday evening by letting viewers in on her excitement over Al Gore's endorsement of Barack Obama earlier in the evening: “Tonight, everybody, he blew the roof off the joint. Al Gore, one of the last big-name Democrats, getting behind Barack Obama in a big way, making a speech that could have won him the White House if he'd been making this kind of speech eight years ago.” In highlights of the speech CNN soon aired, Gore charged: “After eight years in which our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected, we need change!”

Turning to a panel of CNN's Candy Crowley and Gloria Borger as well as David Gergen, Brown, who jumped to CNN from NBC last year, yearned: “Do you think there is any chance that we might see an Obama-Gore ticket?” Not dampened by doubts he would want the VP slot, Brown pressed Gergen on another role for Gore and then conceded she sounded like “I want it just too badly.” The exchange:
BROWN: Even if it was pitched to him perhaps as an opportunity to kind of be, I think it was James Carville who suggested it, energy czar, you know, to expand the role, the traditional role of Vice President, and to make the issues that he cares most passionately about center stage for him and let him take those issues and run with it?

GERGEN: Not going to happen, Campbell.

BROWN: Do I sound like I want it just too badly here, David? It's a good story.
June 16, 2008, 11:00 PM EDT
NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday evening rued that Afghanistan “is too often called the other war or perhaps even the forgotten war” when “in the month of May, for the first time ever, American and allied combat deaths were higher in Afghanistan than the monthly loss in Iraq.” But that's as much because of good news from Iraq, which Williams ignored, as bad news from Afghanistan. The number of U.S. service personnel killed in Iraq in May was the fewest in any month since the war began in 2003 -- a positive trend Williams, unlike his colleagues at ABC and CBS, failed to share with his viewers two weeks ago.

Back on Monday, June 2, the other networks noted how 19 died in May as a result of combat in Iraq. In the same month, total U.S. (15) and allied troop deaths in Afghanistan rose to 23, the Washington Post reported Sunday.