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
March 21, 2008, 2:56 AM EDT
“The McCain campaign suspends a staffer for circulating an inflammatory video about Barack Obama,” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric intoned as “Campaign Controversy” was plastered on screen over a YouTube video which simply intersperses clips of Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Managing to twist Obama into a victim, a task made easier by the feckless McCain campaign, Couric set up a Thursday story: “A low-level aide to John McCain was suspended today for circulating an incendiary video about Barack Obama that's been viewed by tens of thousands of people on the Internet.”

Reporter Dean Reynolds cited as “troubling” how “a low-level campaign aide to John McCain has been circulating it.” Resurrecting the Bill Cunningham incident, Reynolds described the video as “one of several episodes in which aides, supporters, or surrogates have crossed the line and forced McCain to apologize or take action.”

In contrast, ABC's Jake Tapper took the Hillary Clinton campaign to task for using Wright's “inflammatory comments” to suggest Obama can't win in November, asking: “Is that dirty politics?” Tapper also uniquely raised (amongst the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts) how Obama characterized his grandmother as “a typical white person.”
March 20, 2008, 2:04 PM EDT
A day after Barack Obama's speech in reaction to the bigoted and hateful rants of his long-time pastor, the network evening newscasts moved on -- with only ABC briefly mentioning the topic -- while NBC Nightly News, which has run just one clip of Jeremiah Wright and on Friday had instead featured a whole story about Obama's childhood friends cheering him on, centered a Wednesday night story around “a mistake” by John McCain. Anchor Brian Williams provided an ominous plug: “Did John McCain slip, or was his mistake intentional? His choice of words making news tonight.”

Kelly O'Donnell soon proposed: “Defense and national security are central to McCain's campaign. So a mistake he repeated this week has stood out. At least three times McCain incorrectly asserted that Iran is aiding al Qaeda.” After video of Senator Joe Lieberman whispering in McCain's ear, McCain corrected himself as O'Donnell explained: “The mistake, al Qaeda is a Sunni group while Iran is a Shia nation.” O'Donnell highlighted how “Senator Obama seized on the error,” concluding with the suggestion the one comment undermined McCain's image: “Leaving McCain to defend his expertise during a trip in which he intended to showcase it.”
March 19, 2008, 10:09 PM EDT
Reciting three quotes highlighted Tuesday night on NewsBusters (and the MRC's Wednesday CyberAlert), plus one from CNN's Campbell Brown which we missed, FNC's Brit Hume led his “Grapevine” segment Wednesday night by illustrating how “Barack Obama's speech on race yesterday played to rave reviews in much of the national media.” Hume recounted:
On NBC, the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said the address was, quote, "a very important gift the Senator has given the country." NBC's own Chris Matthews said it was, quote, "worthy of Abraham Lincoln" and quote "the best speech ever given on race in this country." ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Obama's refusal to renounce his highly controversial pastor was, quote, "in many ways an act of honor." And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech "striking" and "daring," asserting that Obama had, quote, "walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of race from both sides of the color divide, from both sides of himself."
March 19, 2008, 9:52 AM EDT
A survey conducted late last year and released Monday, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, confirmed the obvious -- that compared to the views of the public, conservatives are under-represented in national journalism while liberals are over-represented. Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times discovered the nugget buried deep in the annual “State of the Media” report from Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism and FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted the findings from the survey of 222 journalists and news executives at national outlets:
Only six percent said they considered themselves conservatives and only two percent said they were very conservative. This compares with 36 percent of the overall population that describes itself as conservative. Most journalists, 53 percent, said they're moderate. 24 percent said they were liberal and eight percent very liberal.
Only 19 percent of the public consider themselves liberal. And it's not much of a leap to presume many of the 53 percent who describe themselves as “moderate” are really quite liberal.
March 18, 2008, 10:29 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday framed coverage of Barack Obama's speech, in reaction to the furor over the racist, paranoid and America-hating remarks of his long-time pastor, not by focusing on what it says about Obama's true views and judgment but by admiring his success in “confronting” the issue of “race in America” in an “extraordinary” speech. Indeed, both ABC and CBS displayed “Race in America” on screen as the theme to their coverage, thus advancing Obama's quest to paint himself as a candidate dedicated to addressing a serious subject, not explain his ties to racially-tinged hate speech. NBC went simply with “The Speech” as Brian Williams described it as “a speech about race.”

In short, the approach of the networks was as toward a friend in trouble and they wanted to help him put the unpleasantness behind him by focusing on his noble cause. “Barack Obama addresses the controversial comments of his pastor, condemning the words but not the man,” CBS's Katie Couric teased before heralding: “And he calls on all Americans to work for a more perfect union.” On ABC, Charles Gibson announced: “Barack Obama delivers a major speech confronting the race issue head on, and says it's time for America to do the same.” Reporting “Obama challenged Americans to confront the country's racial divide,” Gibson hailed “an extraordinary speech.”

NBC's Lee Cowan admired how “in the City of Brotherly Love, Barack Obama gave the most expansive and most intensely personal speech on race he's ever given,” adding it reflected “honesty that struck his rival Hillary Clinton.” On NBC, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart asserted “it was a very important speech for the nation. It was very blunt, very honest” and so “a very important gift the Senator has given the country.” [Updated with Nightline]

March 18, 2008, 2:27 AM EDT
Marking the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, ABC's Wold News on Monday provided a status check on how Iraqis view their lives and, consistent with how the newscast has been the most willing of the broadcast network evening shows to acknowledge positive developments, anchor Charles Gibson explained “we have polled inside Iraq and there is some good news.” Specifically, “today, 55 percent of Iraqi say their lives are going well. Last summer that number was 39 percent.”

From Iraq, Terry McCarthy reported “you cannot say that life is good in Iraq today. Not yet. Only that life is less bad.” However, McCarthy outlined:
As our poll takers spread across the country they found that for the first time in three years, people were more worried about economic and social problems than violence. And almost half think their country will be better off in a year -- double the number six months ago. In Dora, in southern Baghdad, we found these kids playing on the street. A year ago, they would haven't dared to come outside....
March 17, 2008, 9:40 PM EDT
The broadcast network evening show blackout, of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's 2001 charge that the U.S. earned the 9/11 attacks, continued Monday night as neither CBS nor NBC touched the Wright issue and ABC ran a full story which included Wright's “U.S. of K-K-K-A” hate speech and how Obama has been close to Wright for 20 years, but concluded with how “many African-Americans do not understand” the controversy since the “kind of fiery language Wright uses is not uncommon in black churches.”

The race-based, white-bashing rants may not be so uncommon, but is anti-American shouting -- about how “we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye” and so “America's chickens are coming home to roost” -- so common?

Anchor Charles Gibson set up the story from Jake Tapper by asserting Obama “is being dogged by his pastor's provocative comments.” After the “U.S. of K-K-K-A” soundbite, Tapper pointed out how “Wright has played an important role in Obama's life for 20 years.” Viewers then saw a clip of Obama from June of 2007 giving “a special shout out to my pastor” who's “a friend. And a great leader.” Following some quotes illustrating Obama's awareness a year ago of how Wright's views could prove embarrassing, Tapper ended with how such language is not unusual in black churches.
March 15, 2008, 5:21 PM EDT
Friday's NBC Nightly News allocated a mere 22 seconds to Barack Obama's condemnation of what fill-in anchor Ann Curry vaguely described as “inflammatory remarks that his long time pastor made about Hillary Clinton and the nation,” but instead of informing viewers of any of those remarks, such as Reverend Jeremiah Wright's suggestion that the U.S. deserved 9/11, the newscast then devoted three minutes to a celebratory piece about how excited Obama's childhood friends in Indonesia are about his candidacy.

In a story which began and ended with a picture of Obama's classmates in front of huge “Good Luck Barry!” lettering, reporter Ian Williams trumpeted the wonders Obama is doing abroad: “The fact that Obama lived in Jakarta and studied at this school has really captured the popular imagination. It's already working wonders for America's battered image here.” A local commentator oozed over how “Obama's candidacy confirms the romantic ideals people like me have held since childhood that America's the land of opportunity.”

Williams concluded with how “friends remember Barry playing barefoot in the paddy fields with a real spirit of adventure,” and so now “hope there'll be no turning back on his journey to the White House. And Barry might attend their next reunion as President of the United States.”
March 14, 2008, 6:05 PM EDT
Instead of acting as an impartial journalist who would express interest in probing why Barack Obama may say he disagrees with the incendiary anti-U.S. left-wing rants from his minister while he has remained close to him, Friday afternoon on MSNBC Norah O'Donnell fretted about how “Rush Limbaugh went nuts today on his program about this story” and wondered: “How do we get away from this?” Guest Michael Crowley of The New Republic assured her: “I don't think this reflects anything on what Barack Obama believes.”At about 3:55 PM EDT, MSNBC played this clip of a screaming Wright:
We bombed Hiroshima! We bombed Nagasaki! And we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. [edit jump] We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yard.
O'Donnell then rued:
I don't even know how these candidates can talk about policy because it seems like every day someone's asking them to apologize for the comments of their supporters. I mean, Rush Limbaugh went nuts today on his program about this story. John McCain is talking about this particular story. How do we get away from this?
March 13, 2008, 8:27 PM EDT

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, substitute NBC Nightly News anchor Ann Curry and reporter Mike Taibbi failed to identify disgraced outgoing New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat, but on Thursday night Curry finally informed NBC viewers of the party affiliation -- a fact network journalists always consider relevant when a Republican gets caught in scandalous behavior. Curry set up a story on incoming Governor David Paterson by uttering the word she's avoided all week:


Now to the fast moving developments in the wake of the revelations that New York's Democratic Governor, Eliot Spitzer, was a client of a prostitution service. NBC's Mike Taibbi now with the man who's to take over for Spitzer on Monday.

But, reverting to her default conduct, in an item about the passing of very liberal ex-Senator Howard Metzenbaum, Curry never mentioned his ideology or party as she 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.”

March 13, 2008, 2:10 AM EDT

For the third evening in a row Wednesday, the NBC Nightly News refused to identify Eliot Spitzer as a Democrat, but after ABC's World News failed to cite his party affiliation on Monday and Tuesday night when Elizabeth Vargas anchored, on Wednesday evening substitute anchor George Stephanopoulos finally properly tagged him: “The Democrat resigned today just two days after reports that he patronized a high-priced prostitution service.”

In contrast, fill-in NBC Nightly News anchor Ann Curry on Wednesday teased news about “New York's crusading Governor” and then led her broadcast sans any party identification:


Good evening. I'm Ann Curry, in for Brian Williams tonight. Today New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who painted himself as a champion of ethics and moral conviction, resigned just two days after the bombshell news linking him to a prostitution ring. NBC's Mike Taibbi now joins us with more on this breathtaking fall from power. Mike?

Taibbi, just as on Monday and Tuesday, avoided informing viewers of Spitzer's party.

March 11, 2008, 9:44 PM EDT
Just as occurred Monday night, viewers of Tuesday's ABC and NBC evening newscasts never heard the word “Democrat” applied to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, nor did they even put a “(D)” on screen by his name as ABC did briefly Monday. CBS didn't announce his party either on Tuesday night, but Katie Couric had done so Monday night. The ABC and NBC newscasts, however, did put “(R)” on screen over soundbites from Republicans and NBC's Mike Taibbi twice referred to the reaction from “Republican” politicians.

Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas avoided any party tag: “New York's Governor, Eliot Spitzer, spent most of the day today huddled behind closed doors debating whether to resign after being linked to a prostitution ring.” On NBC, substitute anchor Ann Curry led: “Tonight, the investigation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace is broadening...”
March 11, 2008, 5:13 PM EDT
In 1,760 words, Tuesday's front page USA Today article on New York Governor Eliot Spitzer never identified him as a Democrat, not even in photo captions, though the online version was updated with his party affiliation, yet described Senators Larry Craig and David Vitter as Republicans in the first mentions of their names in the story. Here's the lead of the hard copy edition delivered to the MRC's offices Tuesday morning:
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was the brash Wall Street corruption buster who made ethics his trademark. He was on many lists of future presidential contenders. On Monday, he apologized after he was accused of meeting a high-priced prostitute in a Washington, D.C., hotel last month.
However, in the online “print edition” posting (not the updated throughout the day USAToday.com site) of the March 11 newspaper, “he” was updated to “the Democrat” so the online version begins:
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was the brash Wall Street corruption buster who made ethics his trademark. He was on many lists of future presidential contenders. On Monday, the Democrat apologized after he was accused of meeting a high-priced prostitute in a Washington, D.C., hotel last month.
March 10, 2008, 9:25 PM EDT

Incredibly, in lead stories Monday night about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer being linked to a prostitution ring, neither ABC's World News nor the NBC Nightly News verbally identified Spitzer's political party. Must mean he's a liberal Democrat -- and he is. CBS anchor Katie Couric, however, managed to squeeze in a mention of his party. Last August when news of Larry Craig's arrest broke, both ABC and NBC stressed his GOP affiliation.

On ABC, the only hints as to Spitzer's party were a few seconds of video of Spitzer beside Hillary Clinton as they walked down some steps and a (D) on screen by Spitzer's name over part of one soundbite. NBC didn't even do that.

While ABC and NBC failed to cite Spitzer's political affiliation in the four minutes or so each network dedicated to the revelations, both managed to find time to applaud his reputation and effectiveness as the Empire State's Attorney General before becoming Governor. Fill-in ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas hailed how “he gained a reputation around the country for aggressively cracking down on corporate corruption. He was elected Governor with a reputation for fighting crime.” ABC reporter Dan Harris maintained “Governor Spitzer is known as a straight arrow, an ambitious overachiever...” Substitute NBC anchor Ann Curry pointed to how Spitzer's “reputation for righteously prosecuting wrongdoing gave him the nickname Eliot Ness.”

March 7, 2008, 1:53 AM EST
In the February 23 Saturday Night Live parody of journalists in the tank for Barack Obama a reporter at a debate oozed: “Senator Obama, are you comfortable? Is there anything we can get for you?” Ending a taped interview Thursday with the real Obama, a real journalist, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, seemed to match the concern for Obama's personal comfort expressed in the SNL caricature:
Senator, you're kind to take the time, on a day when you legitimately should be able to simply just take long naps. I thank you. All the best to you.
In the segment aired on ABC's World News, Gibson empathized with Obama's plight as a victim of Hillary Clinton's attacks and seemed to regret how Obama may have to go negative as he prodded him: “To fight back, do you have to do the same? In other words, do you have to, in effect, show some toughness in all of this, greater than you have so far?”
March 6, 2008, 7:48 PM EST
Delivering a ridiculous level of vacuous hyperbole, Thursday's CBS Evening News greeted reports of a 0.83 percent 4th quarter foreclosure rate with just under 6 percent of mortgages more than a month past due as proof “the American dream” is “slipping away” since “foreclosures are spreading like cancer.” Those may indeed be unusually high levels, but the American dream is hardly “slipping away” when 99.17 percent are not in foreclosure and 94.18 percent are paying on time or nearly on time.

Anchor Katie Couric at the top of the March 6 CBS Evening News, with "Foreclosure Crisis" on screen:
Good evening, everyone. It's one of the worst things that can happen to a family, but it's happening to more and more in this country. They're losing their homes to foreclosure. The mortgage industry reported today that the foreclosure rate in the final quarter of 2007 hit an all-time high [0.83%]. And the government says, that for the first time ever, lenders own a greater percentage of the average home than the homeowner does. Anthony Mason now on the American dream that's slipping away.
March 6, 2008, 4:54 PM EST

Shelley Ross, Executive Producer of The Early Show, has left the position and, the AP's David Bauder reported Thursday afternoon, Rick Kaplan, a long-time Friend of Bill, “will temporarily take over for Ross” while remaining Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News.

March 5, 2008, 12:31 AM EST

No real surprise here: A new study of positive versus negative campaign coverage found, as reported Tuesday night by FNC's Brit Hume, that John McCain's coverage grew more negative as he got closer to winning the GOP presidential nomination.

Meanwhile, while ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscast treatment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has become less positive, unlike McCain's mostly negative coverage the two Democrats continue to benefit from a much more upbeat approach: Pre-Super Tuesday Obama had 84 percent positive coverage and Clinton stood at 53 percent, but since March 4, Obama's good press fell to a still solid 67 percent -- more than twice as positive as McCain's -- while Clinton was off a bit to 50 percent. (Factoring in neutral coverage, Clinton earned more good than bad press.)

Citing the numbers from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), Hume reported how “McCain's media fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse since early January,” plummeting from “97 percent positive...before the New Hampshire primary” to “just 30 percent positive since.”

March 4, 2008, 9:24 PM EST
In a moment of excess hyperbole, even for Chris Matthews, at about 7:33 PM EST Tuesday night, Matthews claimed “nothing's done since '65, when we did the civil rights bill,” to fix the nation's problems. Fretting about how the country cannot afford a prolonged Clinton-Obama battle in Pennsylvania because “this country's in a rut” with “everything” from the war to the economy, Matthews ridiculously asserted:
We can't fix anything, whether it's Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, we can't fix our health care system. Nothing's done since '65, when we did the civil rights bill.
We did “fix” the Soviet empire since 1965 and Ronald Reagan managed to fix an economy in a rut under the direction of Matthews' former employer, Jimmy Carter. And, of course, most of the welfare state was created and expanded greatly since 1965, including Medicare and Medicaid. But, naturally, Matthews failed to recognize that maybe the creation and expansion of these massive government entitlement programs is part of the problem.

Hat tip: MRC's Rich Noyes
March 4, 2008, 8:36 PM EST
Two quick notes about remarks made by Katie Couric on Tuesday's CBS Evening News in a taped piece in which she spoke with Columbus-area “blue-collar” voters:

♦ Talking to the husband and wife owners of a restaurant, Couric learned “an African-American candidate may be more acceptable than a woman.” The husband observed that “Hillary's made emotional outbursts” and worried what would happen “if she's put in a tragic situation where, God forbid, we have another terrorist attack or something like that.” To which, Couric retorted:
But some of the male candidates, like Mitt Romney, have gotten misty eyed as well.
♦ As she walked inside a Honda plant, Couric described Ohio's “working class” voters as “often culturally conservative -- against abortion rights, gun control, and hawkish on defense.” Of course, she could just as easily have phrased that as “against abortion rights and for gun rights” or “pro-life and pro-gun.”