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.

Latest from Brent Baker
May 7, 2008, 1:28 AM EDT
Rush Limbaugh's “Operation Chaos,” the effort to urge conservatives and Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Democratic nomination battle, certainly annoys MSNBC's Chris Matthews who, during primary coverage Tuesday night, denounced the “mischief-making” by “a talk jock.” In the 11:30 PM EDT half hour, Matthews offered a “Keith [Olbermann]-style special comment” about how “anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives.” He called it “a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died,” sarcastically remarking: “I hope you're proud of yourself.” The rant from Matthews:
I have to offer a Keith-style special comment on that. Anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives. What a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died, to use that vote to make mischief. I hope you're proud of yourself. [20-second MP3 audio of this comment]
That followed the contention of guest Michelle Bernard, of the Independent Women's Forum, that Limbaugh did “something positive” which helped Barack Obama “because he's said to African-Americans, ask the Democratic Party 'what have they done for you lately?'” and encouraged African-Americans to force “Republicans and Democrats to compete for the black vote.” For that, she concluded, “I say to Rush Limbaugh: good job.”
May 6, 2008, 11:26 PM EDT
Those opposed to the Roe v Wade abortion decision are “the far right” in the vernacular of the Associated Press. In a dispatch datelined from Winston-Salem, North Carolina where John McCain delivered an address Tuesday castigating Barack Obama for voting against the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, as he pledged to name non-activist judges, reporter Libby Quaid wrote:
McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn't mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
May 6, 2008, 10:31 PM EDT
Four days after NBC centered a story around an elderly couple forced to move “into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back” while “high food costs have meant” they've “gone hungry,” ABC's World News caught up Tuesday night with a nearly as silly anecdotal report on how families in Minnesota can no longer afford electricity. In the first of two families she showcased, reporter Gigi Stone relayed Julie Tkachuk's plight: “After paying for more expensive gas and groceries, Julie had no money for the heating bills left over from the winter.” Then Stone described the predicament of a family whose father “says business at his moving company is down 35 percent this year. There just wasn't enough money for the power bill.”

Referring to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Stone acknowledged that “there's federal assistance for people who can't afford their utility bills,” but she ominously intoned, “the number of applicants reached the highest point in 16 years.” ABC then aired a soundbite from Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, an advocacy group for LIHEAP spending. The group's April 25 press release (PDF) hyping “the number of households receiving LIHEAP funds this year is the highest in 16 years” also, however, disclosed a fact ABC didn't mention -- that increase is merely 3.8 percent over fiscal year 2007 with the number of households on the dole in Minnesota rising from 120,765 to 126,500, hardly a huge jump.
May 6, 2008, 12:38 AM EDT

“Senator Hillary Clinton is multimillionaire former First Lady with a solid liberal voting record,” ABC's Jake Tapper observed in a rare story applying an ideological label to a Democrat but, he pointed out Monday night, “you wouldn't necessarily know that from catching up with her on the campaign trail” where she plays a barbecue-eating populist on trade to the right of Barack Obama on guns and the gas tax.

From Indiana, Tapper marveled at how the Democratic presidential candidate now bashes Wall Street though she “has taken millions from Wall Street,” and then explained some other campaign spins which don't match her record, including the rarely recalled fact that Bill Clinton raised the tax on gas:

The National Rifle Association says Clinton's name is synonymous with gun control. But here, in Indiana, in a new mailer, she suggests Obama would outlaw guns. She has distanced herself from trade deals her husband signed into law and she worked to pass. And while her husband raised gas taxes, she wants to give consumers a summer without them.
May 5, 2008, 7:54 PM EDT
“Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Monday night “Grapevine” segment. Hume started by highlighting how PBS ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the soft approach of Bill Moyers in his interview with Wright: “Inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged” and “there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft.

Hume next turned to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's disappointment in the paper for putting a review of Wright's performance in appearances ahead of checking what Wright contended against the reality, scolding his employer: “It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election.”
May 4, 2008, 8:11 PM EDT
Demonstrating how the mainstream media will view criticism of Barack Obama through the prism of past attacks on Democrats they consider illegitimate, Dean Reynolds concluded a Sunday night CBS Evening News story on Barack Obama by suggesting Democrats are well-justified in fearing Republicans will succeed in portraying Obama as “out of the mainstream,'” which Reynolds described as “code for 'unpatriotic'” in forwarding the red-herring, since it has worked “even against those who've received the purple heart.” To make his reference clear, as he spoke viewers saw video from the 2004 campaign of John Kerry.

Reynolds had relayed how Obama has “been mocking suggestions that he's out of the mainstream.” CBS then played a clip of Obama, in a stump speech, repeating the questions about him: “'We're not sure he shares our values.' 'We haven't seen him wear a flag pin lately.' 'His former pastor said some terrible things' and so, you know, 'can we really trust this guy?'”

Next, Reynolds ended his May 4 story from Indianapolis:
But 'out of the mainstream' is a charge Republicans habitually make against Democrats. It's code for 'unpatriotic.' And it worries Democrats that it's been so effective against their candidates in the past -- even against those who've received the purple heart.
May 2, 2008, 9:09 PM EDT

On the day the government reported a tenth of a point drop in the unemployment rate and two days after news of a second straight quarter of 0.6 percent GDP growth proved the nation is not in a recession, Friday's NBC Nightly News delivered a ridiculously shallow story, based on two anecdotes and a couple of advocates, to prove rising prices are forcing the elderly out of their homes and into vans and soup kitchens. Anchor Brian Williams promised “an interesting look...at the toll that rising prices, of things like gas and food, is taking on Americans living on fixed incomes.” [audio available here]

Chris Jansing [that's her by the van] traveled to Northridge, California, just north of Los Angeles, where she found 82-year-old Betty Weinstein, stunned by a water bill, turning to a second reverse mortgage to stay in her home. But she at least still has a home. Jansing then highlighted an even sadder case:

Rising rents forced Scott and Kate Bishop to move out of this blue house and into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back.
But it got worse: “And now high food costs have meant, for first time in their lives, the Bishops have gone hungry.” Jansing cited no source for her claims as she asserted: “Soup kitchens and food banks are seeing record numbers of seniors asking for help for the first time in their lives,” but “now donations here are down as middle class donors struggle to feed their own families.
May 2, 2008, 2:50 AM EDT
An evening after the NBC Nightly News showcased Michelle Obama's plea to move on from focusing on Jeremiah Wright because talking about him “doesn't help kids out there,” on Thursday night the newscast again provided a platform for Barack and Michelle Obama to advance their efforts to show humility and paint media coverage as unfair. Setting up a second night of excerpts from the interview the couple conducted with Meredith Vieira for the Today show, anchor Brian Williams explained how “both went out of their way to say they understand that a lot of Americans are right now trying to figure out just who Barack Obama is.”

The excerpt began with Barack Obama maintaining “it's understandable” to “raise questions” about him because he's an African-American named Barack, “so if I don't wear a flag pin, that becomes a cause for concern,” but “if John McCain doesn't wear a flag pin, look, he's a war hero.”

That prompted Vieira to empathize: “So you're treated differently, then, you think?” And to wonder to Michelle Obama: “So you never sit there and get upset about these?” Barack Obama interjected that “she stops reading the newspapers during certain spans of time” before she quipped, during loving back-and-forth joshing: “I take the paper and I ball it up and I throw it in a corner!”
May 1, 2008, 1:50 AM EDT
ABC reporter Jake Tapper on Wednesday night undermined Hillary Clinton's campaign trail tale blaming the Bush administration for allowing a Valparaiso, Indiana manufacturer of magnets for smart-bombs to move to China, costing 200 jobs and giving the technology to the communist regime. Tapper, however, pointed out that the sale occurred in 1995 and was approved by....the Clinton administration. “Senator Clinton decries how the company Magnequench moved from Indiana to China in 2003,” Tapper reported, “but there's one key part of the story Senator Clinton tends to leave out: Her husband's role.” He elaborated:
Over and over again, Clinton blames President Bush for dropping the ball on a national security issue -- including in a new TV ad....What Clinton does not say is that her husband could have stopped it because the Chinese bought Magnequench in 1995 when he was President. And his administration approved the deal despite national security concerns...
As for “one of Senator Clinton's main arguments” -- that “the Chinese now know our secrets” -- Tapper relayed how “former Magnequench Vice President Andrew Albers says that's false. By the 2003 move, he says, the Chinese already knew everything” so no secrets or intellectual property were transferred to China.
April 30, 2008, 9:31 PM EDT
The Obama campaign has chosen NBC's Today show as the venue to try to move beyond the Jeremiah Wright controversy and a preview aired on Wednesday's Nightly News, of the session to air Thursday morning, showcased Barack and Michelle Obama making their case. While Meredith Vieira apparently did ask Barack Obama why he had not denounced Wright sooner, Nightly News viewers heard Barack Obama boast in response that he had resisted doing the “politically expedient” and Michelle Obama resorting to a plea reminiscent of the Clinton era:
We got to move forward. You know, this conversation doesn't help my kids, you know. It doesn't help kids out there who are looking for us to make decisions and choices about how we're going to better fund education.
Anchor Brian Williams set up the story by relating how “Barack and Michelle Obama sat down with Meredith Vieira from Today on NBC as they try to put the drama over their former pastor behind them.” Andrea Mitchell explained Obama was “clearly trying to move past the controversy over the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but when pressed, explaining why he didn't denounce his former pastor sooner.”
April 29, 2008, 10:17 PM EDT
Tuesday night the broadcast network evening news shows centered their coverage, of Barack Obama's repudiation of Jeremiah Wright, from Obama's point of view with “'I'M OUTRAGED'” (ABC) or just "OUTRAGED" (CBS) plastered on screen by an Obama image, interest in whether Obama has now put the “controversy behind him” (ABC and NBC) and only an afterthought about whether anything Wright said Monday was any different than what he had over the previous 20 years Obama has known him. (NBC chose “FIRING BACK” as the on-screen heading)

Brian Williams asked Tim Russert: “Do you think this stops the damage?” Similarly, CBS's Katie Couric wondered to Jeff Greenfield: “Is today's repudiation enough to kind of control the damage?” Echoing NBC's Lee Cowan, ABC's David Wright relayed how Obama is “hoping it will finally put the Wright controversy behind him.”

NBC aired a clip of Obama maintaining “I have known Reverend Wright for almost 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago,” but Cowan did not challenge that premise. At least CBS's Dean Reynolds pointed out that “yesterday's wording did not differ markedly from the sermons Wright delivered in the past” and ABC anchor Charles Gibson noted Wright “really didn't say anything different than he said in some of those sermons that have been played over and over again.”
April 28, 2008, 11:34 PM EDT

At his National Press Club appearance on Monday, Reverend Jeremiah Wright re-affirmed several of his past incendiary allegations -- and added at least one new one equating U.S. troops to the Roman legions who killed Jesus -- but only ABC's World News noted that as the network journalists preferred to paint Barack Obama as a “victim” of Wright and all three evening newscasts highlighted Wright's attack on Dick Cheney for not serving in the military.

CBS's Dean Reynolds, who spent more time on Wright's attack on Cheney than on anything crazy Wright said Monday, explained that “as for questions about his patriotism, Wright pointed to his Marine service compared to Vice President Cheney's five deferments from duty.” Wright: “I served six years in the military. Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?”

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up the story from Andrea Mitchell by stressing how “one veteran politico today” dismissed Wright's comments as “a 'circus' and a 'sideshow.'” Mitchell soon repeated how “Obama supporters described the whole thing as a media circus.” Viewers then heard from former Senator Bill Bradley followed by Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, the man who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as “a very important gift the Senator has given the country.” Monday night Capehart lamented how “the victim in all of this is going to be Senator Obama's campaign.

April 28, 2008, 1:26 PM EDT
In her two-part profile of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia aired on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl seemed repeatedly surprised by how Scalia in person isn't the “polarizing figure” who protesters call a “fascist,” as she conceded: “What's interesting is the difference between how you appear in person and the image that you have. Because the writings are so often combative, and your friends say that you're charming and fun.” In short, Scalia really does not match the left-wing characterization of him adopted by Stahl's media colleagues.

Stahl opened her piece by describing Scalia as “one of the most brilliant and combative justices ever to sit on the court” before contending that he “is a polarizing figure who invites protestors and picketers.” As she spoke, viewers heard from a man with a matching sign: “Scalia is a fascist!” Stahl told Scalia what she's heard about him: “'He's evil.' 'He's a Neanderthal.' 'He's going to drag us back to 1789.'” Stahl informed him: “The public sense of you is that you make your decisions based on your social beliefs.” Citing “Roe v. Wade and affirmative action,” she elaborated, “His critics argue that originalism is a cover for what they see as Justice Scalia's real intention: to turn back some pivotal court decisions of the 60s and 70s.
April 25, 2008, 8:03 PM EDT

Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC-TV channel 9, and Raleigh CBS affiliate WRAL-TV channel 5, have both refused to air the new ad from North Carolina's Republican Party which declares that two Democratic gubernatorial candidates “should know better” than to endorse Barack Obama since “he's just too extreme for North Carolina,” as evidenced by his long association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The ad includes a clip of Wright yelling “Not God Bless America, God [bleep] America!”

A Friday Charlotte Observer article, “2 stations in N.C. will not air GOP ad: Charlotte, Raleigh broadcasters decline controversial spot that quotes Obama's former pastor,” reported:

A Charlotte TV station says it will not air an advertisement from the N.C. Republican Party that uses a soundbite from Barack Obama's retiring minister.

"I just don't think it's appropriate to be on our air," said Joe Pomilla, general manager for WSOC-TV. "I think it's offensive, and I'm not real comfortable with the implications around race."...
Maybe some citizens of the state are not so “comfortable” with a local TV executive deciding the First Amendment doesn't apply in North Carolina.
April 25, 2008, 11:44 AM EDT
Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, suggested in an interview with Bill Moyers that Obama agreed with his comments which stirred a furor in March, but instead of framing their stories around evidence Obama may be in sync with Wright's paranoid and America-hating rants, the network evening newscasts on Thursday stressed Wright's claim his sermons were unfairly distorted.

CBS's Jim Axelrod relayed how Wright asserted “parts of his sermons were publicized by Obama's opponents to damage Obama, but that they fundamentally misrepresented Wright's ministry and Wright himself.” NBC anchor Brian Williams related how “Wright says he does not think he's been treated fairly,” before reporter Andrea Mitchell began with Wright's insistence “his sermons were taken out of context to hurt Barack Obama.” Leading into a soundbite from Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, who in March hailed Obama's speech on race as “a very important gift the Senator has given the country,” Mitchell asserted “some analysts agree that Wright was taken out of context.”
April 23, 2008, 9:14 PM EDT

Anti-Barack Obama ads from Hillary Clinton's campaign didn't concern CBS, but on Wednesday night anchor Harry Smith denounced an accurate ad from the North Carolina Republican Party, pointing out Obama's closeness to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and showing the very same “God Damn America” soundbite the CBS Evening News ran a month earlier, as proof the campaign is getting “nastier.”

Smith teased his top story: “The first day of the rest of the campaign, and if you think it can't get nastier.” Viewers than saw a clip of the ad, “He's just too extreme for North Carolina,” before Smith finished his sentence: “Republicans roll out a new attack ad as the battleground shifts.”

After playing clips of the ad -- the narrator saying “For 20 years, Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor,” Wright yelling “Not God Bless America, God [bleep] America!” and the narrator declaring “He's just too extreme for North Carolina" -- Reynolds focused on how “John McCain disowned it.” Reynolds used the ad as another chance to resurrect Bill Cunningham (with a “Barack Hussein Obama” clip) as Reynolds rued: “McCain has been down this path before, repeatedly apologizing or rejecting statements from supporters who have questioned Obama's patriotism.” McCain's requests, Reynolds lamented, “have not been effective” since the North Carolina Republicans “put their ad on the Internet.” Reynolds then highlighted how “Obama said McCain could do more to stop it.”

April 22, 2008, 4:25 PM EDT
NewsBusters.org | NBC's Ann CurryOn Tuesday's Today, NBC's Ann Curry treated both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as victims of unfairness -- worrying Obama will be “swift-boated” by Republicans and asking Clinton if she agreed “the playing field has been not level because you are a woman?” (Mark Finkelstein's posting this morning, “Curry Concerned About GOP 'Swift-boating'; Hillary: I'm Like Ginger Rogers,” highlighted these two questions.) My addition: This was at least the third time an NBC News host or anchor has fretted to Obama about him being “swift-boated” by odious Republican tactics, questions which presumed the criticisms of John Kerry in 2004 were mendacious. Two previous incidents:

The February 20 MRC CyberAlert, “NBC's Matt Lauer Raises Notion of GOP 'Swift Boating' Obama,” recounted:
Even though the general election campaign has yet to begin, some in the media seem pretty anxious to start condemning Republicans for dirty tricks. In an interview with Barack Obama shown Tuesday morning [February 19] on Today, Matt Lauer asked the Democratic frontrunner: "Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of 'Swift Boating' might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry, what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?"
April 22, 2008, 2:12 AM EDT
Monday's NBC Nightly News kicked off “Earth Week” by trumpeting Sweden as an environmental and economic paradise that could point the way for the United States. Anchor Brian William contended Swedes “always seem to be so happy and beautiful” and now “there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet, and saving a ton of energy in the process.” Sweden certainly enchanted reporter Anne Thompson who rode a bicycle in Stockholm and gushed:
Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green -- from the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car.
Thompson focused on how the nation is researching “gasified wood” and putting people onto bicycles. Plus, “alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train.” Highlighting that “to reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district,” Thompson concluded by touting how “Sweden's most important export” is “real world ways to live green.”
April 18, 2008, 9:01 PM EDT
A day after Barack Obama and many of his liberal media compatriots complained about ABC's Wednesday debate questioners daring to ask him about William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and not wearing a flag pin, Friday's World News featured a story championing Obama's “bandwagon” momentum with his campaign “firing on all cylinders.” Anchor Charles Gibson teased, “Obama Bandwagon: The candidate picks up three big name endorsements, including the backing of a long-time Clinton friend.” Neither CBS or NBC were so excited over the endorsements.

ABC reporter David Wright, whose Thursday evening story was dominated by criticism of ABC's debate topics, trumpeted: “Despite all the focus on bitterness this week and the debate, the Obama campaign seems to be firing on all cylinders, gaining in the national polls, today gaining these endorsements...” Wright touted how Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich “was one of three elder statesmen to endorse Obama today, along with former Senators Sam Nunn and David Boren, both conservative Democrats with strong defense and foreign policy credentials.” With Nunn's words on screen, Wright heralded:
Today Nunn said: "I believe Senator Obama has a rare ability to restore America's credibility and moral authority and to get others to join us in tackling serious global problems."
April 18, 2008, 11:18 AM EDT

Reporting that “ABC News is getting hammered by the mainstream and liberal media,” as if they aren't the same, FNC's Brit Hume led his Thursday “Grapevine” segment with examples of the left-wing outrage over Barack Obama being pressed at Wednesday's debate on subjects the media consider off limits. Hume highlighted how “the left-leaning Washington Post TV writer Tom Shales said anchors, quote 'Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos turned in shoddy, despicable performances,'” (Noel Sheppard's earlier post on Shales).

Hume proceeded to note how Greg Mitchell, Editor of the Editor & Publisher trade magazine, “said it was quote, 'perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years.'” Naturally, Keith Olbermann brought him aboard Thursday's Countdown to expound further.