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 31, 2008, 10:15 PM EDT
Second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled to 1.9 percent, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department announced Thursday morning as consumer spending rose 1.5 percent in the quarter ending June 30, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter, and U.S. exports soared 9.2 percent, way up from 5.1 percent in the first three months of 2008.

Yet the CBS Evening News centered a story around “disappointing” news about the supposedly “struggling economy” (with that on screen) -- while ABC and NBC, which on April 30 led with full stories on the news of a 0.6 percent (since revised to 0.9) first quarter GDP, didn't utter a syllable Thursday night about the big GDP jump. On the last day of April, ABC's Betsy Stark declared the economy had “flat lined” and NBC anchor Brian Williams warned “it's getting rough out there” as the new GDP number “stops just short of the official declaration of a recession.” Thursday night, however, ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News made time for full stories on outrage over ExxonMobil earning “the largest profit ever made by a U.S. company.” The “oil industry says it is not out of line, but some motorists feel otherwise.”

CBS anchor Katie Couric, picking up on the 4th quarter 2007 GDP revision from 0.6 percent to a minus 0.2, stressed how “the government now says the economy was receding, not growing, in the final quarter of last year” though “it picked up a bit in the first quarter of this year.” She then twisted the fresh news of a 1.9 percent jump into a negative:
But look at this: In the second quarter, when all those rebate checks were supposed to stimulate the economy, it grew less than two percent. Jeff Glor has more about the disappointing numbers.
July 30, 2008, 10:21 PM EDT
The McCain campaign's new television ad comparing Barack Obama to shallow celebrities such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton so upset the network news operations that they all ran full stories, with ABC and NBC leading with the “attack ad.” Though all tried to frame their stories as balanced looks at attacks against each other by both campaigns, it was the McCain ad which prompted the stories, the language used painted McCain as the aggressor and Obama as the victim fighting back (“responded,” “fired back” and “hitting back”) and two of the stories featured condemnations of the McCain ad as “childish” or “juvenile.”

ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased: “Tonight, McCain says Obama is all star power and no substance. Obama says McCain is using scare tactics. It's getting nasty. And it's only July.” Reporter David Wright, who relayed how “Obama told an audience in Missouri the Republicans are just trying to scare voters,” concluded with how “it's getting ugly early, and some Republicans are expressing concern about McCain's tone, in particular one former McCain aide calling the new celebrity ad 'childish.'” (That would be John Weaver.)

On CBS, which put “Attack Ad” on screen, Katie Couric asserted: “John McCain sharpened his attack against Barack Obama, trying to turn his popularity against him. And late today, Obama fired back.” For an expert assessment, Chip Reid went to the Politico's David Mark who declared that the McCain ad “seems a little juvenile.”
July 30, 2008, 2:01 AM EDT
“The progress in Iraq is so undeniable that now even the Associated Press is acknowledging it,” FNC's Brit Hume marveled Tuesday night. Citing a Saturday AP dispatch by Robert Burns, the AP's chief military reporter, and Robert Reid, its Baghdad bureau chief (Saturday NB post by Noel Sheppard on their article), Hume relayed how the story “says insurgents no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of Iraq’s government” and it declared, “quote: 'The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost.'”

In the “Grapevine” segment, Hume reported “the analysis goes on to say that systematic killings in Baghdad have all but ended, violence is at a four-year low and that the combat phase of the war is now ending.” With matching text on screen, Hume concluded with how the AP duo wrote: “In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago.”
July 29, 2008, 10:12 PM EDT
In the midst of a campaign in which conservatives fret John McCain is missing opportunities by staying to the left on too many issues, Chrystia Freeland, the U.S. Managing Editor of the Financial Times based in London, declared “extremely imprudent” the conservative desire for John McCain to make a commitment against raising taxes. On Tuesday's Hardball she saw the “hard right,” not politicians unwilling to stick to a pledge, as the problem:
The first President Bush did not fare very well when he made that absolutely firm, clear campaign pledge not to raise taxes. So, you know, I think that in a way, the biggest problem John McCain is facing in this campaign is the hard right of his own party, which is trying to pin him into positions that are not really very realistic right now.
Her comment came after fill-in host Mike Barnicle read a statement from the Club for Growth rebuking McCain for saying that raising the Social Security tax is not “off the table.” Barnicle posed this leading question to her: “Can any sane politician, Chrystia, make an adamant, set in stone statement given the fact that we're a country at war with an energy crisis -- about never raising any tax under any circumstances?” She agreed “it would be extremely imprudent” to do so given the “dire economic situation the United States is facing right now.”
July 29, 2008, 8:44 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night properly identified indicted Senator Ted Stevens as a Republican -- though not very creatively as they all employed the identical language in describing Stevens as “the longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate” -- but they weren't so eager to name the party of Democrats in trouble in recent years.

ABC anchor Charles Gibson teased World News: “Indicted. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. Senate is charged with lying about a quarter million dollars' worth of gifts and renovations for his home.” Setting up the story from Jake Tapper, with “(R)” in an on-screen graphic, Gibson repeated his “the longest-serving Republican in the Senate” line.

CBS's Katie Couric referred to Stevens as “a senior Republican” before reporter Jim Axelrod recited “the longest-serving Republican Senator ever” mantra. On NBC, anchor Brian Williams announced: “Tonight, Senator Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is under federal indictment.”

July 29, 2008, 3:35 AM EDT
Missing a golden opportunity to correct a specious presumption of Barack Obama and his liberal supporters that the wealthy are under-taxed, CBS reporter Chip Reid on Monday night highlighted how “ending the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year and using the money for a tax cut for the middle class” is one of Obama's highest priorities and one supported by “Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world who, despite his billions, says the rich are not taxed enough.” Reid, who later in his story asserted “critics wonder how” McCain could possibly balance the budget “given his support for extending all of the Bush tax cuts,” failed to inform viewers of how the wealthy increasingly pay far more than their fair share of income taxes.

The Tax Foundation reported on July 18 that new 2006 IRS tax data revealed “both the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns,” those earning $388,806 or more, “and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs.” Gerald Prante pointed out those top 1 percent “paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns.” The top 5 percent, those making $153,542 or more, earned 36 percent of all the reported income, but they paid just over 60 percent of the total income taxes collected.
July 28, 2008, 9:58 PM EDT

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams acted as a conduit for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's propaganda message of conciliation as NBC Nightly News led Monday with about seven minutes of comments from the Iranian leader's interview with Williams in Tehran, such as how “for more than 50 years now the policy of American statesmen has been to confront the Iranian people.” Williams seemed quite pleased with himself, introducing the interview excerpt:

It was clear in just the opening few minutes of the conversation that the Iranian President had a message he wanted to impart to the U.S. and to the wider world. In various answers to our questions, he talked about common ground with the United States. The Associated Press today described his words spoken to us as "unusually conciliatory," and said he raised hopes for a breakthrough.

Though, based on a look at the posted transcript, less than a third of the session made it onto the Monday night newscast, NBC made sure to include Ahmadinejad's praise, possibly tongue-in-cheek, of Williams (through a translator):

It’s very interesting. Before this meeting that is going to take place, you are aware of what other people are going to do, apparently. This tells me that you are a very able reporter and very active. Congratulations are very much in order. Before something happens, apparently you know what’s going to happen. This is interesting.

July 28, 2008, 1:18 AM EDT
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos condemned John McCain for charging that “Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.” Stephanopoulos, who interviewed McCain on Saturday at his Arizona ranch, declared: “I can't believe you believe that.” McCain insisted “I'm not questioning his patriotism. I'm questioning his actions. I'm questioning his lack, total lack of understanding,” leading Stephanopoulos to counter: “But that is questioning his patriotism. When you say someone would rather lose a war, a candidate, that's questioning his honor, his decency, his character.”

As McCain continued to defend his assessment, Stephanopoulos kept rejecting his reasoning (“So putting lives at risk for a political campaign, you believe he's doing that?”) and excoriating his characterization of Obama: “But you're questioning his motives.”
July 27, 2008, 8:33 PM EDT
Before moving on from “Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour” of the past week, a look at an Associated Press story so over the top that the Washington Posts's Howard Kurtz on Friday cited it as an example of coverage which “bordered on gushing,” though in this case there really was no “bordered.” In the July 22 dispatch in advance of Obama's arrival in Berlin, “Obamamania in full flight ahead of tour of Europe,” the AP's Matt Moore and Melissa Eddy hailed how Obama's “superstar charisma” will meet “German adoration” with a promise to “redeem” America (as posted by Google, by Yahoo):
Europe is about to give Barack Obama one of the grandest of stages for statesmanship. In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. He then travels to Paris and London where he can expect to be greeted with similar adulation.

It's not only Obama's youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic. For Europeans, there have always been two Americas: one of cynicism, big business and bullying aggression, another of freedom, fairness and nothing-is-impossible dynamism.

If President Bush has been seen as the embodiment of that first America, Obama has raised expectations of a chance for the nation to redeem itself in the role that — at various times through history — Europe has loved, respected and relied upon....
July 27, 2008, 1:45 AM EDT
Barack Obama's overseas trip this past week proved “he's not a left-wing ideologue” or a “dove” and, “if anything, he's center, even center-right, on foreign policy issues,” Bloomberg News world affairs columnist Fred Kempe, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, declared on this weekend's Political Capital show which airs several times Friday night and Saturday on Bloomberg TV.

Host Al Hunt, formerly Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, opened the segment with Kempe by showing video of Obama shooting a basketball as he enthused, “You might call it the shot heard 'round the world: Barack Obama, at a military base in Kuwait, meeting with the troops and sinking a three-pointer.” Asked his assessment of Obama's trip, Kempe echoed: “If it weren't a three-point shot, I would have called it a slam dunk. In any case, wherever he went he had perfect pitch.” Hunt concluded the segment: “From a three-point shot to 200,000 people in Berlin, it was an extraordinarily memorable week.”
July 25, 2008, 11:58 PM EDT

FNC's Hannity & Colmes on Friday night featured Times of London Assistant Editor/U.S. Editor Gerard Baker reading aloud his hilarious Friday column, “He ventured forth to bring light to the world,” in which he recounted Obama's life story and trip to the Middle East and Europe as if told through a gospel in the Bible. The lead to Baker's satire: “And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.”

Baker's narrative mocked the media's infatuation:

And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth -- for the first time -- to bring the light unto all the world. He traveled fleet of foot and light of camel, with a small retinue that consisted only of his loyal disciples from the tribe of the Media....

From there the Child went up to the city of Jerusalem, and entered through the gate seated on an ass. The crowds of network anchors who had followed him from afar cheered "Hosanna" and waved great palm fronds and strewed them at his feet.
Video: The entire reading took Baker more than six minutes, enhanced with matching video and pictures added by a Fox News producer. The Flash video above provides about half (3:35) of it, cutting out the beginning and end. MP3 audio (1.3 MB)
July 25, 2008, 8:52 PM EDT
A minor item for a Friday night. File under: Which way is it?

ABC anchor Charles Gibson contended that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's “effusively kind words” about Barack Obama, who joined Sarkozy at a press conference in Paris, “bordered on an endorsement.” On CBS, however, anchor Katie Couric reported that Sarkozy said the French people have been following Obama “with passion” but, she noted, he “quickly pointed out that was not an endorsement.”

The very short items on the July 25 newscasts:
July 25, 2008, 3:07 AM EDT

Just days after a Rasmussen Reports survey was released showing more than three times as many likely voters “believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage” than help John McCain, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken July 22-23 of 900 registered voters discovered six times as many think “most member of the media” want Obama to win than wish for a McCain victory. On Thursday's Special Report, FNC's Brit Hume relayed: “67 percent of the respondents think most media members want Obama to win. Just 11 percent think most in the media are for McCain.”

A FoxNews.com article added this damning finding: “Only about 1 in 10 (11 percent) volunteers the belief that the media is neutral on the race to become the 44th President of the United States.” Those polled recognize the tilt in action: “When asked to rate the objectivity of media coverage of the campaigns, Americans feel Obama gets more of a positive spin by a better than 7-to-1 margin (46 percent more positive toward Obama; 6 percent more positive toward McCain).”

July 24, 2008, 10:48 PM EDT

Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour hit its high point Thursday night as the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led with Obama's speech in Berlin, with NBC's Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell the most giddy, though ABC featured a German man who hailed Obama as “my new messiah.” ABC and NBC saw Obama on a “world stage.” Charles Gibson teased ABC's newscast: “In a city steeped in history, before a massive crowd, the candidate calls on the world to tear down this generation's walls.”

NBC anchor Brian Williams, in Berlin, trumpeted how “the first ever African-American running as presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party brought throngs of people into the center of Berlin, streaming into this city, surging to get close to him, to hear his message. And when it was all over, he talked to us.” Viewers next heard a sycophantic Williams ooze to Obama:

When an American politician comes to Berlin, we've had some iconic utterances in the past. We've had “ich bin ein.” We've had “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Is the phraseology that you would like remembered, “people of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment, this is our time”?

Talking with Andrea Mitchell, an impressed Williams marveled over how “I heard one American reporter tonight say it's hard to come up with a list of others who could draw such a crowd, but then again it's hard to know what we witnessed here today.” An equally awed Mitchell gushed: “It's hard to figure out what the comparison is, what do you compare this with?” She soon asserted that in his speech Obama “acknowledged America's flaws.”

July 24, 2008, 4:14 AM EDT
David Letterman, who a month ago doubted George Bush and Dick Cheney have any “humanity,” on Wednesday's Late Show pushed a guest to confirm “that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes.” Far-left “journalist” Jane Mayer of the New Yorker was invited onto the Late Show to plug her new book, 'The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.' Late in her second segment, Letterman recalled how “about a year ago” a Democratic presidential candidate was a guest and during a commercial break Letterman had wondered:
“What do you think George Bush's legacy might be?” And he says, “well, I tell you what ought to happen to him, he should be arrested and tried for war crimes.” And we all sort of thought, well, he's being wacky, he's being funny. But now, you wonder...
After Mayer suggested “I don't think they're laughing about it in the White House” and relayed how “in Congress there are people who are at least pushing for truth commissions,” Letterman pressed her: “But can a case be made that George Bush's administration is clearly guilty of war crimes? That's easy enough to make that case, or.” Mayer demurred: “I'm not a lawyer.”
July 24, 2008, 1:43 AM EDT
The Wednesday CBS Evening News story on Barack Obama's day in Israel presumed Jewish concerns about his commitment to Israel are unreasonable as reporter Sheila MacVicar empathized with Obama's plight while she fretted about how an Israeli newspaper columnist “referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.” After noting that Obama “did spend an hour with the Palestinian President, something John McCain did not do on his trip here,” MacVicar stressed the “the focus of the day was to try to reassure Jewish voters who are suspicious of him.” From Jerusalem, she then held up a copy of the newspaper as she rued:
It's an uphill battle. An example? A commentator writing in this morning's Israeli Ha'aretz newspaper referred to him by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama, talked about his Muslim stepfather, his childhood in Indonesia, his openness to dialogue with Iran as real sources of anxiety for both the Israeli establishment and American Jewish voters.
MacVicar concluded by bemoaning: “However unfair it may be, it will take more than this trip to alter the very deeply held perception of some that on Israel the Senator is not to be trusted.”
July 23, 2008, 9:06 PM EDT
Matching CBS/Katie Couric on Tuesday night, on Wednesday evening ABC's World News followed its exclusive Barack Obama session of the day with a shorter interview segment with John McCain as anchor Charles Gibson teased: “Barack Obama, here in Israel, holding meetings at breakneck speed on the Middle East conflict.” Obama got a full five minutes with anchor Charles Gibson in Israel, not counting a glowing minute-long introduction -- Obama's “schedule here in Israel looked like a Middle East shuttle mission” -- while ABC allocated two-and-a-half minutes to David Wright with McCain. Gibson did press Obama on his foreign policy “inexperience” and Obama's declaration that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel,” wondering if that was “a rookie mistake?”

Wright began by scolding McCain for his “extraordinary statement” that “Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.” Wright demanded: “Do you really think he's that craven?” Wright also lectured: “But what you seem to be saying there is that it's all about personal ambition for him and not about what he honestly thinks is right for the country.” Bizarrely, as if the media's decisions are not primarily responsible, Wright told McCain the fact that “the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does” shows a McCain campaign failure:
You've been touring here in the states, had the domestic stage all to yourself. And yet, we're talking an awful lot about foreign policy. It seems like the narrative of this campaign is being driven by whatever Senator Obama does and that you're left to kind of react to that.
July 22, 2008, 9:21 PM EDT
CBS tried to bring some balance Tuesday night to Barack Obama's Magical Media Tour by having Katie Couric interview both Barack Obama and John McCain, and though she pressed Obama repeatedly on the success of the surge, Obama still came out ahead since CBS devoted more than seven minutes (over two excerpts) to Couric's questions and Obama's answers as the two sat together in a foreign setting compared to barely three minutes allocated to Couric and McCain by satellite. Couric touted at the top of the CBS Evening News: “We spoke exclusively and separately with both presidential candidates today and what emerged was a kind of a long distance debate. And their differences on the wars have never been sharper or clearer.”

At the end of the newscast, from Amman Couric wondered: “Will this summer of love last” for Obama? And she conceded the media are part of the infatuation:
It has been an Obamathon ever since the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee touched down in Afghanistan. At today's press conference in Amman, a throng of reporters recorded his every move. In total, 200 journalists requested seats on “Air Obama” -- 40 of them were accepted. The bill for the trip? About $20,000 each.
July 22, 2008, 2:12 AM EDT
More than three times as many Americans see a media tilt in favor of Democrat Barack Obama than toward Republican John McCain. A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey released Monday, of 1,000 likely voters, “found that 49 percent of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44 percent a month ago,” compared to a piddling 14 percent who “believe most reporters will try to help John McCain win” while “just one voter in four (24%) believes that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.”

Exactly half, 50 percent, “believe the media makes economic conditions appear worse than they really are,” a separate Rasmussen Reports telephone survey posted on Monday determined. That poll discovered “a plurality of Americans (41%) similarly believe that the media has tried to make the war in Iraq appear worse that it really is, while 26 percent say reporters have made it look better than reality and 25 percent think they’ve portrayed it accurately.”

Meanwhile, the “Scapbook” section of the latest (July 28) edition of the Weekly Standard magazine dubbed Newsweek “Obamaweek” and illustrated the media's infatuation with Obama by displaying images of six Newsweek covers featuring Obama, five of them just this year. (See miniature image above right, larger image after the jump.)
July 21, 2008, 9:05 PM EDT
ABC's Terry Moran, who back in 2006 was already enthralled with Barack Obama (“You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon”), on Monday night from Iraq refrained from such infatuation as ABC's World News, nonetheless, gave Obama a lengthy platform to espouse his Iraq policy. Moran began his lead story by trumpeting how “Barack Obama came to Baghdad, and he brought his star power with him.