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 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.”
March 4, 2008, 12:55 AM EST
Last Tuesday, when before a John McCain campaign rally, Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham used Barack Obama's full name and derided Obama as “the great prophet from Chicago,” NBC and ABC pounced with full stories on the “controversy.” But after over the weekend, where at an event touted as “One Million for Hillary with Gloria Steinem” the left-wing feminist icon ridiculed John McCain's years as a prisoner of war, ABC did not utter a word about the remarks while NBC on Monday gave them -- sanitized -- a few seconds. A New York Observer posting on Sunday quoted Steinem:
“Suppose John McCain had been Joan McCain and Joan McCain had got captured, shot down and been a POW for eight years. [The media would ask], 'What did you do wrong to get captured? What terrible things did you do while you were there as a captive for eight years?'” Steinem said, to laughter from the audience. McCain was, in fact, a prisoner of war for around five and a half years, during which time he was tortured repeatedly. Referring to his time in captivity, Steinem said with bewilderment, “I mean, hello? This is supposed to be a qualification to be President? I don't think so.”
On the NBC Nightly News, which had run six Cunningham soundbites, David Gregory quoted only a small portion of Steinem:
February 29, 2008, 9:50 PM EST
In a lengthy seven-a-half minute Friday CBS Evening News profile story, “For the Record: Hillary Clinton,” reporter Nancy Cordes devoted a measly 15 seconds, a piddling three percent of the story, to scandals connected to Clinton's actions. But the night before, in a “For the Record: Barack Obama” profile, reporter Dean Reynolds allocated 42 percent of his piece to Obama scandals: Anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan's ties to him and his church as well as his connections to indicted developer Tony Rezko. Here's the totality of all viewers heard Friday night from Cordes about scandals blamed on Hillary Clinton during her life:
Hillary Clinton's role and relationships factored into nearly every scandal that rocked the Clinton White House. Whitewater, an investment deal gone bad with friends from Arkansas. Travelgate, where she allegedly participated in the firing of seven White House Travel Office employees.
Cordes then stressed her innocence as she led into a mention of Monica Lewinsky; “But multimillion-dollar investigations turned up either no wrongdoing on her part or not enough evidence to prosecute. And the only Clinton investigation that did stick had decidedly little to do with the First Lady." Cordes proceeded to segue into her Senate years: “She has called it the greatest adversity she ever faced. But instead of retreating from public life, she decided to run for office herself.”
February 27, 2008, 8:54 PM EST

ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night delivered laudatory tributes to the late William F. Buckley, Jr., but while ABC's Charles Gibson, as well as Katie Couric and Richard Schlesinger on CBS, stuck to the positive and his many achievements as an editor, author and TV show host, NBC anchor Brian Williams couldn't resist including a political slap from the left on the day Buckley passed away at age 82:

Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson hailed how “Buckley loved debate. Loved to provoke. And love him or hate him, agree or disagree with him, no one could deny he was one of the country's finest minds....His message was, in essence, an intellectual war on big government. And a passion for the free market. Delivered with dazzling language and a bone-dry wit.”
February 27, 2008, 3:47 PM EST
Lumping Rush Limbaugh in with Michael Savage, CBS News Washington Producer Ward Sloane lamented in a Wednesday afternoon CBSNews.com “Couric & Co.” blog entry how “it’s sad that people like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage are today’s mouthpieces for conservatism” when “Buckley was not a hate monger” like them. Sloane then contended:
The conservative movement in this country is badly in need of somebody who can make a point without demeaning and demonizing liberals and moderates. Surely there are better “uniters” than Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly. Are there any conservatives who think that the Limbaugh-ization of conservatism may have something to do with its fractiousness? After all, one man’s hate is not necessarily another’s. This is not William F. Buckley’s conservatism.
February 27, 2008, 7:17 AM EST
With cover from John McCain, NBC and ABC on Tuesday night condemned the “caustic” and “mocking” remarks of Cincinnati radio talk show host Bill Cunningham who, on stage before an Ohio campaign appearance by McCain, dared to utter Barack Obama's middle name and call him “a hack” Chicago politician.

Though Hillary Clinton on Sunday, without upsetting journalists, ridiculed Obama with religious overtones (“Let's get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing!”), NBC's Kelly O'Donnell asserted: “Cunningham's nearly ten-minute provocative performance veered into more controversy when he parodied Obama as a religious figure.” Cunningham's supposedly offensive line: “When the great prophet from Chicago takes the stand and the world leaders who want to kill us will simply be singing Kumbaya together.” O’Donnell maintained that Cunningham's words “compelled John McCain to apologize” and she took for granted that he properly acted “to quickly undo any damage.” Damage the media assumed needed undoing.
February 26, 2008, 6:45 AM EST

ABC News sent Terry Moran to Springfield, the capital of Illinois, to explore Barack Obama’s record as a state Senator and, deep in his Monday story on World News, Moran acknowledged a reality rarely mentioned in network campaign coverage:

 

Obama was...considered a reliable liberal Democratic vote in Illinois, voting for most gun control measures, opposing efforts to ban so-called “partial birth abortions,” and supporting hundreds of tax increases.

Moran then showed a soundbite of Republican State Senator Kirk Dillard, who declared: “Senator Obama certainly is a liberal.” Earlier in the story, without applying any liberal label, Moran trumpeted how “before he left for Washington, Obama did rack up some accomplishments -- a major overhaul of the state's death penalty system, an ethics reform bill, expanded health care for the state's children.”

 

February 25, 2008, 9:10 PM EST
FNC’s Brit Hume, in his Monday “Grapevine” segment, undermined CBS’s Sunday night 60 Minutes scoop about Karl Rove’s smear efforts to destroy former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat now in federal prison for bribery, “some say, only because of his politics,” CBS’s Scott Pelley framed his story. Hume relayed how “Rove says he does not recall ever meeting the woman who is accusing him of asking her to help dig up dirt on” Siegelman “and he say he was never given a chance to respond to the charges she made Sunday on 60 Minutes.”

Specifically, Jill Simpson “said Rove asked her to get pictures of Siegelman in a compromising sexual position with an aide” but, Hume pointed out, “the Associated Press reports Simpson has never made that allegation before -- despite several hours of interviews with congressional lawyers, reporters and a sworn affidavit.” As for CBS’s claim they had “contacted Rove” for a response, Hume noted:
But Rove and his lawyer, attorney Robert Luskin, say CBS brought up the allegations only in an off-the-record telephone interview last October. Luskin says, quote: "After 60 Minutes made the decision to publicize these charges, no one from 60 Minutes approached Mr. Rove or gave him an opportunity to respond on the record," end quote.
February 22, 2008, 8:25 PM EST
In his weekly Friday column, USA Today founder Al Neuharth hailed Fidel Castro for how “he outfoxed 10 consecutive U.S. Presidents” and, recalling a meeting with him 20 years ago, Neuharth wrote that he found him “brilliantly briefed” with a “quick, slick comment” after Neuharth told him that profits from Gannett’s other papers subsidized losses at USA Today: “Aha, your company and my country are both socialistic!” Neuharth’s reaction to the oppressive communist dictator's contention:
I paused, said “touche” and lifted a glass of Cuban rum. Then we talked capitalism and socialism and sports until 3:55 a.m.
How cozy.
February 22, 2008, 2:45 AM EST

All three broadcast network evening newscasts led Thursday night with the New York Times story alleging an improper relationship by John McCain with a female lobbyist, but questions about the journalistic standards of the newspaper were given as much consideration as the allegations against McCain. All three ran a soundbite from Rush Limbaugh denouncing the paper while ABC and CBS featured establishment media observers who castigated the Times for basing a story on the feelings of unnamed sources: Ken Auletta on ABC and Tom Rosenstiel on CBS.

“John McCain began his day answering questions about a story in the New York Times alleging an improper relationship eight years ago with a female lobbyist,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced before cautioning: “The story had no evidence the relationship was romantic -- only unnamed sources reportedly claiming they were convinced it might be.” With “Fit to Print?” on screen, Gibson set up a second story on how the Times article “raised as many questions about the paper and what standards of proof it would need to publish such a story as it did about the Senator.” Reporter Dan Harris began: “Today, conservative talk radio hosts accused the New York Times of a supremely cynical slam job.”

February 21, 2008, 5:38 AM EST
ABC's World News, which on Tuesday skipped Michelle Obama's comment that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” on Wednesday finally got to it, but only minimally as George Stephanopoulos praised her “good damage control” and declared: “I don't think it's going to be a huge deal.” Hard for it to become “a huge deal” when a broadcast network's most-watched news program doesn't bother to report it. On Wednesday, the World News campaign stories again ignored the remark and the newscast only arrived on the story in anchor Charles Gibson's last question to Stephanopoulos.

Gibson played the comment, then explained: “Now she said today what she was talking about, or meant to say, was that she was proud of how many people are now taking part in the political process. Is this a big deal? Is it a tempest in a teapot?” Stephanopoulos was pleased by her explanation: “Ah, well that was good damage control by Michelle Obama.” He acknowledged “her first comment was a mistake,” but “as long as this isn't repeated, as long as they don't dig the hole deeper -- she did start to dig out today -- I don't think it's going to be a huge deal.”
February 21, 2008, 2:45 AM EST

MSNBC was so excited about a Thursday New York Times story with a derogatory look at Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s supposed relationship with a female lobbyist eight years ago, that the network broke into the 7 PM EST re-run of Hardball to read from the Web-posting of the article which Keith Olbermann described as “extraordinary.”

Olbermann insisted the alleged efforts of staffers to “protect” McCain sound “eerily similar” to Clinton-Lewinsky. Later in his 45 minutes of “Breaking News” coverage, Olbermann proposed: “If this doesn’t sound like deja vu all over again, I don’t know what does.”

February 19, 2008, 11:13 PM EST
Michelle Obama proclaimed that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” but instead of putting the burden on the Obama campaign to defend her admission of a lack of pride in her nation, NBC on Tuesday night framed its coverage around Cindy McCain's “rhetoric” in issuing a “political jab” over the remark and concern over whether that “was a knock at Michelle Obama?” But at least NBC highlighted the comment from Monday. ABC's World News didn't utter a word about it while CBS's Jim Axelrod pointed out how the Obama “campaign says don't slice apart the quote to infer she's not a patriot.”

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up the story: “For the Republicans, the rhetoric today was also largely about words. And today it involved the wife of the frontrunner, Cindy McCain.” Kelly O'Donnell relayed how “the most memorable political jab of the day did not come” from John McCain but from Cindy McCain who declared “I'm proud of my country.” O'Donnell treated that as an attack which required justification: “Asked directly if this was a knock at Michelle Obama, John McCain steered clear.”
February 18, 2008, 10:19 PM EST
Fretting over how “Americans give back 438 million vacation days a year” when they could be “sitting on a beach,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson concluded the Presidents’ Day World News by channeling envy of European socialist rules as he complained that “America is the only major country in the world that has no government-mandated time off.” Citing how “psychologists say people are better workers, less stressed, if they take their time,” he helpfully suggested “you might consider moving to France. There, the government requires 31 vacation days plus holidays.” No mention, of course, of how that (plus a 35-hour work week) hurts French productivity and job creation, to say nothing of requiring significant immigration.

The anchor of the newscast on the network owned by Disney showed a picture of smiling vacationers with Mickey Mouse before he ended by noting: “And someone asked me today, ‘Why are you making a big deal of this? You're at work today.’ Good point.”
February 15, 2008, 12:48 PM EST
If the surge in Iraq did not work, you can be sure the networks would all use its one-year anniversary to highlight its failure, but on Thursday night only ABC's World News, of the three broadcast network evening newscasts, marked the anniversary. With “Surge Success” on screen, anchor Charles Gibson noted “it was one year ago today that the surge began in Iraq -- the troop buildup ordered by the President when so many of his critics were calling for a draw down of troops. 30,000 additional troops started arriving a year ago.” From Iraq, Clarissa Ward began over matching video:
If you're looking for one measure of the impact of the surge, look at General David Petraeus, walking through a Baghdad neighborhood with no body armor and no helmet. It's one year since the beginning of what's known here as "Operation Fardh al-Qanoon." According to the U.S. military, violence is down 60 percent. One key to the success, reconciliation.
February 13, 2008, 9:03 PM EST
Unlike the Wednesday CBS and NBC evening newscasts, ABC's World News highlighted a favorable development in Iraqi political progress as anchor Charles Gibson gave 20 seconds to:
Overseas, in Iraq, a breakthrough for the country's government that has been so often criticized. Iraq's parliament approved three contentious, but crucial, new laws long sought by Washington. The laws set a budget for 2008, grant amnesty to thousands of detainees and define the relationship between the central government and the provinces.
A month ago, on January 14, Gibson was also the only broadcast network evening newscast anchor to cite how “Iraqi lawmakers have put their differences aside and agreed to allow some members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party to take government jobs. It's a key benchmark sought by the United States.”
February 13, 2008, 2:37 AM EST

The Democratic presidential nomination process isn't even over, yet on Tuesday CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the media's favorite shorthand for vicious Republicans never forgotten from 1988, a name journalists can be counted on to resurrect every election season in order to discredit criticism of a liberal candidate, as he asked a guest how “worried” he was about Republicans energizing “elements of racism” by producing “Willie Horton kind of commercials...potentially against Barack Obama?” This, j