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

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 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

Latest from Brent Baker
June 5, 2008, 10:50 PM EDT

CBS and NBC on Thursday night were as interested in highlighting the claims of torture, from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and four 9/11 terrorist attack co-conspirators who were arraigned by a military commission court in Guantanamo Bay, as to informing viewers about the charges against them. ABC didn't consider the torture allegations relevant and so didn't mention the topic as Jan Crawford Greenburg uniquely described KSM as “evil.” In contrast to NBC which called him a “man” and “defendant,” CBS anchor Katie Couric at least described him as a “terrorist.”

CBS reporter Bob Orr, who emphasized that “some legal critics called the hearing...a complete and utter farce,” relayed how “the self-proclaimed mastermind of 9/11 said openly in court that he had been tortured by the U.S., and he called the case against him a sham.” With the quote on screen, Orr reported: “KSM, who the CIA admits was subjected to water-boarding, questioned the legitimacy of the military hearing. 'For five years, they torture,' he said. 'After the torturing they transfer us to inquisition-land in Guantanamo.'” Orr proceeded to showcase how Aziz Ali charged: “This government failed to treat me as a human for five years.”

On NBC, Jim Miklaszewski highlighted how KSM “called the legal proceedings 'evil'" and featured criticism from the ACLU. Miklaszewski also highlighted the “after five years of torture, they transfer us to inquisition land, Guantanamo” quote, before asserting: “Mohammed was water-boarded by the CIA. Defense attorneys had intended to challenge any of Mohammed's statements on the grounds he was tortured.”

June 4, 2008, 10:10 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts all led Wednesday night with celebratory interviews with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama -- with ABC and NBC plastering “MAKING HISTORY” on screen -- as the three anchors luxuriated in Obama's success. ABC's Charles Gibson wondered: “I'm curious about your feelings last night. It was an historic moment. Has it sunk in yet?” Gibson followed up by prompting Obama to share his excitement: “When everybody clears out, the staff is gone, you're in the hotel room at night, and you're alone, do you say to yourself, 'Son of a gun, I've done this?'” On CBS, Katie Couric was so giddy she couldn't complete her question: “Did you ever think you'd see this day? I mean, are you still just completely-”

Echoing Gibson, NBC's Brian Williams began: “What was it like for you last night, the part we couldn't see, the flight to St. Paul with your wife, knowing what was awaiting?” Williams next cued him up: “And you had to be thinking of your mother and your father.” Then Williams excitedly informed Obama of the popularity on the Internet of the “fist pound” with his wife on stage the night before:

And your wife came up on stage with you last night, and in an otherwise private moment, attempted to give her husband a fist pound the way a lot of Americans do, the way a lot of couples do. Only problem was, it was an inside move shared in front of seventeen and a half thousand people in the arena and millions watching at home. It's the most talked about fist pound on the Internet today, you'll be happy to know.
June 3, 2008, 11:08 PM EDT

ABC, which on May 14 was so excited about the John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live to Obama introducing Edwards -- complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage -- on Tuesday night cut into Boston Legal at 10:08 PM EDT/9:08 PM CDT to go live for 14 straight minutes of a triumphant Barack Obama at a rally in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (CBS stuck with Without a Trace and NBC with Law & Order: SVU, though both ran Special Reports earlier to report Obama had secured the Democratic nomination.) After cutting away from Obama, ABC aired just over two minutes of excerpts from Hillary Clinton's earlier non-concession address and then a minute-and-a-half from Republican John McCain.

Anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted at the start of the Special Report:

You're looking at a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota, the Xcel Center, in Minnesota, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, have just been introduced to a rather raucous rally there to greet him on what is an historic night. On this night, June 3rd, 2008 an African-American has been nominated to be, or will be nominated to be, candidate of a major party for President of the United States....It is just over 50 years since America officially desegregated its schools. And now, an African-American nominated for President.
June 3, 2008, 9:30 PM EDT

With the end of liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton's “historic campaign for the presidency” seemingly very near, CBS anchor Katie Couric devoted more than four minutes Tuesday night to wondering: “What will the many women who supported her do?” (Based on her reporting, that likely includes her.) Noting that “women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania,” Couric explained: “We asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now.”

Amongst the comments featured from the seven liberals, a teacher blamed media hostility toward Clinton -- “It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had” -- for how “young men or other young women” inexplicably “say, 'I hate Hillary,' and just the venom that comes out of them.” Couric inquired of the group: “What has Hillary Clinton's candidacy taught you?” several saw sexism, as one woman replied: “We still have a long ways to go when it comes to sexism, and we will have a female President in the near future.” Another didn't see any hope for women candidates:

If she doesn't win this time, I don't know when -- at least, it won't happen in my lifetime -- when there would be any other candidate who would be as well qualified.

June 3, 2008, 11:43 AM EDT

FNC's Brit Hume highlighted Monday night how Scott McClellan's original book proposal, posted Saturday by the Politico, “promised to be quote 'supportive of the President' and take a penetrating look at how the liberal media slant their coverage of him.” Interviewing McClellan on Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert highlighted the proposal and declared: “That's not the book you wrote.” (Matt Sheffield's Monday post on the Politco's discovery, “McClellan Originally Wanted to Attack Media, Defend Bush.”)

In his “Grapevine” item, Hume relayed how “McClellan writes that while many recent books have portrayed President Bush in a negative light, he would take a different approach, quote: 'I will directly address myths that have been associated with him, some deliberately perpetuated by activist liberals and some created by the media'” and:

I will look at what is behind the media hostility toward the President and his administration, and how much of it is rooted in a liberal bias.

June 2, 2008, 10:28 PM EDT

As lead-ins to short reports on the posthumous presentation of a Medal of Honor, ABC and CBS on Monday night managed to squeeze in -- more than 20 minutes into their evening newscasts -- brief mentions of how in May the fewest number U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began five years ago. But not NBC Nightly News. (And Sunday's Today and Nightly News, as well as Monday's Today, also skipped the good news.) NBC anchor Brian Williams on Monday led with worries that “because it's been underfunded for decades, mass transit may not be ready for all the Americans leaving their cars behind,” and ran his short update, on the Medal of Honor going to Army Private First Class Ross McGinnis, without anything about the decline in troops killed.

Fill-in ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos set up his report on the White House ceremony presenting the honor to the parents of McGinnis by dampening the positive news with the total death number:

The Pentagon reported 19 American troops were killed in May. That's the lowest monthly toll since the war began. The total number of Americans killed in the war is now approaching 4,100.

On the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric also noted the total, but CBS didn't display it on screen, as she painted the fewest killed as “perhaps” a sign violence is going down:

In Iraq, a sign perhaps that violence is decreasing. In the lowest monthly death U.S. toll since the war began, 19 Americans were killed in May. The total U.S. toll for the war is now 4,086.
June 1, 2008, 8:59 PM EDT

Catching up with a quote from a British newspaper interview published May 24 that got some play in the U.S. late last week, actress Susan Sarandon told John Hiscock of London's Telegraph she'll consider moving to Italy or Canada if John McCain wins over Barack Obama. In an interview to promote the British release of the Speed Racer movie and the DVD release of her anti-Iraq war film, In the Kingdom of Elah, Sarandon fumed:

If McCain gets in, it's going to be very, very dangerous....It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people. If they prove me wrong, I'll be checking out a move to Italy. Maybe Canada, I don't know. We're at an abyss.

Friday night, however, FNC's Bret Baier noted in the “Grapevine” segment on Special Report with Brit Hume, that “celebrities in the past do not have a stellar track record of making good on threats to flee if their candidate loses.”

May 30, 2008, 3:34 AM EDT

Peter Osnos, the liberal founder of PublicAffairs books who “worked very closely” with Scott McClellan on his anti-Bush screed which has enraptured the news media, denied, the Washington Post reported Friday, that McClellan had “undergone heavy-handed editing,” but in maintaining that he had not steered McClellan to write anything he didn't believe, Osnos exposed a political agenda as he conceded he had no interest in a pro-George W. Bush book. Equating criticism of the Bush administration with “integrity and candor,” Osnos, the former Washington Post reporter and editor who in March denounced Rush Limbaugh as “bombastic, aggressive, and mean,” told the Post:

We are journalists, independent-minded publishers. We weren't interested in a book that was just a defense of the Bush administration. It had to pass our test of independence, integrity and candor.

An excerpt from the May 30 front page Washington Post article, “McClellan Says Book's Tone Evolved: Aide-Turned-Critic Tells of Growing Disillusionment with Bush Administration,” by reporters Dan Eggen and Linton Weeks:

May 29, 2008, 8:07 PM EDT

In the midst of media hype for “insider” Scott McClellan's attacks on the Bush White House, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS's Katie Couric prompted a revelation from McClellan that undermines the presumption he's any kind of partisan Republican or conservative ideologue. They asked a question NBC's Meredith Vieira did not in two lengthy live segments on Thursday's Today show: Will he vote for John McCain? He told both Raddatz and Courtic that he's “intrigued by Senator Obama's message,” also confirming to Couric that he's no conservative as he praised John McCain as “someone who has certainly governed from the center, and that's where I come from.” So why not vote for him over the left-wing Obama? But Couric wondered: “There's some feeling this will tarnish the candidacy of John McCain. Do you support John McCain?” McClellan conceded: “I haven't made a decision....”

On ABC's World News, Raddatz touted the ambivalence as a “change” though McClellan's self-identification as a centrist may suggest otherwise: “To show how truly big a change McClellan's made, he's even considering voting for a Democrat.” After he told her “I'm intrigued by Senator Obama's message,” she followed up: “So you haven't made up your mind about a candidate, which means you haven't decided whether you'll vote Democratic or Republican?” McClellan demurred: “I haven't made any decision.”

May 29, 2008, 2:35 AM EDT

Peter Osnos, who wrote Wednesday that he “worked very closely” with Scott McClellan on McClellan's new book published by PublicAffairs which Osnos founded, is a liberal whose publishing house is affiliated with the far-left The Nation magazine and the publisher of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. PublicAffairs has a roster of authors who are nearly all liberals and/or liberal-leaning mainstream media figures, including six books by far-left bank-roller George Soros.

May 28, 2008, 9:31 PM EDT

Demonstrating that he certainly has come full circle from Bush-advocate to Bush-basher, Scott McClellan has agreed to give his first cable television news interview, on Thursday night, to the most vitriolic left-wing host: Bush-hater Keith Olbermann. McClellan went with MSNBC over CNN, where he is scheduled to appear Friday on The Situation Room. His fist television appearance will be Thursday morning on NBC's Today show. Maybe Countdown came as part of the deal with NBC?

Olbermann announced on his Wednesday night show:

May 28, 2008, 9:02 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, naturally, all led Wednesday night with Scott McClellan's attacks on the Bush White House, but CBS anchor Katie Couric inaccurately reported McClellan was “forced out” of his Press Secretary position “last year” (he left in early 2006) and, interviewing McClellan's predecessor Ari Fleischer, she tried to discredit White House defenders by demanding to know if they were reading from coordinated talking points. As if that's somehow improper.

Couric told Fleischer: “A lot of people seem to be saying, in response to this book, that 'this doesn't sound like' the Scott McClellan they knew. Let's take a listen.” Viewers then saw clips of Karl Rove (“This doesn't sound like Scott”), Dan Bartlett (“He's like a fundamentally different person than all of us knew”) and Trent Duffy (“The voice that comes out of this book is certainly not Scott McClellan's”). Couric insisted “it sounds as if you all are operating from the same play book,” before asking: “Did you get together and discuss how to respond to this?” Fleischer denied Couric's assumption: “No, I think that it's just that we all worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Scott for so long and we never heard Scott talk about manipulation, talk about propaganda.”

May 27, 2008, 9:58 PM EDT

Catching up with ABC, which in the past couple of weeks has featured complaints from viewers about how higher gas prices mean they can't afford breakfast and a woman who whined that she can “no longer take joy rides on my days off,” NBC Nightly News caught up Tuesday night with its own set of hapless Americans who claimed they are forced to grow their own food, two who went with burgers (!) over ribs over the holiday weekend and teen girls who make their boyfriends drive them on dates.

Brian Williams noted NBC had “asked people to e-mail us with their stories about how gas prices were affecting their plans for the Memorial Day holiday weekend this year.” Amongst the replies he highlighted: A woman in Nebraska: “I guess it's a good time to become green and start growing our own produce, baking our own bread, and limiting the meat,” a woman from Sacramento: “We usually do rib eye steaks and racks of ribs with lots of sides -- macaroni salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, etc. This year it will be homemade hamburgers with french fries and soda instead of beer” and a woman from California: “Instead of our usual ribs, we are having burgers. As bleak as it sounds, next year we may have a cup of soup.” Finally, “Miguel from Miami: 'Our three girls are asking their boyfriends to come to the house to pick them up instead of using their cars to go on a date.'”

May 27, 2008, 2:59 AM EDT

CNN has decided to give weekly, hour-long Sunday show to Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, whose writings and media appearances over the last few years peg him as a pretty conventional liberal on foreign and domestic policy. The AP's David Bauder reported Monday that “'Fareed Zakaria -- GPS,' which stands for 'global public square,' will air Sundays at 1 p.m. EDT and be rebroadcast at a yet-to-be determined time on CNN International.” Bauder also noted that “Christiane Amanpour will be among the panelists to appear frequently.”

Zakaria, author earlier this year of the book, The Post-American World, which contends the “era” of “'American exceptionalism' is over,” snidely quipped in a 2005 Newsweek article: “As an Iraqi politician said to me, 'There are currently two Grand Ayatollahs running Iraq: Sistani and Bush. Most of us feel that Sistani is the more rational.'” A regular for several years on ABC's This Week, in 2006 Zakaria castigated an English as the official language bill as “nonsense” and “nativist populism that is distasteful.” Back in 2004, he ridiculed President Bush's promise to usher in a “new responsibility era” as he concluded: “Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe. I'm sure he takes full responsibility.”

May 25, 2008, 11:51 PM EDT

HBO's 'Recount' movie which premiered Sunday night, and will re-run on Monday evening, certainly lived up to the admission of actor Kevin Spacey, who played Gore operative Ron Klain, that it presented the 2000 Florida election aftermath through the eyes of the “underdog” Democrats fighting to “count every vote” despite being frustrated by Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris who was portrayed as an easily-manipulated dolt. But Tom Wilkinson as James Baker came off as an in-command strategist and the movie delivered some anti-Democratic points rarely heard in the news media:

First, Bob Balaban, as Bush-Cheney lawyer Ben Ginsberg, reacting to Gore-Lieberman campaign Chairman Bill Daley whose father was Mayor of Chicago in 1960: “His daddy stole it for JFK and now he's going to steal it for Gore.” Second, from Wilkinson as James Baker: “Who knows how many votes we lost when the networks called Florida for Gore before all the polls were closed on election night.”

But the weirdest moment came in a scene of a protest held outside the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee. A man, holding a Bush-Cheney sign, chanted: “Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots! Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots!”

UPDATE: Weird, but close to reality. In 'Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency,' the 2001 book by Jake Tapper now with ABC News (Tapper's Political Punch blog), Tapper reported on page 139: “A guy with a sign saying 'God Made Bush President' appears. Another, hyping the Web site, starts shouting out that 'Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots.' This guy has a bald spot, too.”

May 25, 2008, 7:56 PM EDT

With HBO's 'Recount' movie (airing Sunday and Monday night at 9 PM EDT/PDT) sure to rekindle claims that Al Gore would have won if only the U.S. Supreme Court had not “stopped the counting,” a reminder that both recounts conducted by major media outlets in 2001 determined George W. Bush would have won anyway. Two stars of the film have fueled the re-writing of history with actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Gore operative Ron Klain, charging that “the Bush people were trying to stop votes from being counted and the Gore people were just trying to get votes counted” while Laura Dern, who plays Katherine Harris, recalled that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling left her “devastated because there were uncounted votes.”

The lead of an April 4, 2001 USA Today story headlined, “Newspapers' recount shows Bush prevailed,” by reporter Dennis Cauchon:

George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes -- more than triple his official 537-vote margin -- if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 "undervote" ballots that were at the center of Florida's disputed presidential election....

That look was followed in November by an analysis by a consortium of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN and AP. It determined that George W. Bush still would have won under either legally possible recount scenario which could have occurred: The Florida Supreme Court ordered recount of undervotes statewide or Gore’s request for a recount in certain counties. The New York Times led its November 12, 2001 front page article, “Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote,” by reporters Ford Fessenden and John M. Broder:

May 25, 2008, 3:48 PM EDT

Asked by Howard Kurtz on Sunday's Reliable Sources how she felt, “as a citizen,” when “the Supreme Court stepped in and essentially made George W. Bush President?”, actress Laura Dern, who plays Katherine Harris in HBO's Recount film to premiere tonight at 9 PM EDT/PDT, replied that “as a citizen, I felt devastated because there were uncounted votes” and “I left the experience with a real disillusionment about the process.”

Dern's personal view echoing the liberal/Democratic spin on what occurred matches the take expressed Wednesday by actor Kevin Spacey, who plays Gore operative Ron Klain in the movie: “It does seem that on the one hand the Bush people were trying to stop votes from being counted and the Gore people were just trying to get votes counted.”

May 23, 2008, 9:16 PM EDT

The night after ABC's World News raised the possibility John McCain's POW ordeal caused “psychological damage,” on Friday's CBS Evening News Dr. Sanjay Gupta thought it noteworthy that the release of McCain's medical records ignored the Senator's “mental health,” any “mention of post-traumatic stress disorder” or of “substance abuse.” Oddly, Dr. Jon LaPook asserted that “people” notice McCain is “not able to raise his arm” and think “'doesn't that look funny?'” Who thinks McCain's limitation, caused by an attack on him after his plane crashed in North Vietnam and he was denied medical care, looks funny? In what circles does CBS's doctor travel? [audio available here]

From Fountain Hills, Arizona, CNN's Gupta, identified by Katie Couric as “a CBS News contributor” and on-screen as “contributing medical correspondent,“ marveled:

What I didn't see I thought was interesting, as well. There was hardly any mention of his mental health. There was no mention of depression. You know, this is man who had two admittedly weak suicide attempts when he was a prisoner of war. There was no mention of post-traumatic stress disorder or anything that may have been asked, or substance abuse, none of that was even mentioned.

May 22, 2008, 9:13 PM EDT

Not waiting until the actual Friday release of John McCain's medical records, on Thursday's World News anchor Charles Gibson (who's 65) and Dr. Tim Johnson (who at 72 is older than McCain) speculated about McCain's health. Gibson wondered about “psychological damage” from his POW captivity. Assured there's no evidence of that, Gibson jumped to wonder how much longer McCain has to live, a question which led Johnson to warn, that while McCain may live another 16 years, there's a decent chance he'll develop “dementia.”

Gibson asked: “There's also an enormous amount of medical records involving the time that he was in captivity in North Vietnam to check to see what physical damage he suffered and maybe what psychological damage.” Johnson replied that Navy psychiatrists monitored McCain “for many years after his release. They found no evidence of any serious problem. And he strongly denies any symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.” Gibson pounced with a new line of fear: “But he's 71 years old. What do the actuarial tables say about a man who's 71 years old?” Johnson explained they say he should live to 87, but:

Much more difficult, of course, to predict any change in mental acuity. At age 71, there's about a 30 percent chance of developing serious memory loss or even dementia.
May 22, 2008, 3:31 AM EDT

Actor Kevin Spacey, who stars as Al Gore adviser Ron Klain in HBO's Sunday night Recount film about the 2000 post-election battle in Florida, conceded on Wednesday's Countdown on MSNBC that “the movie is done from the Democratic point of view.” That matches the observation of Entertainment Weekly magazine reviewer Gillian Flynn: “Recount is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story.” On Monday's Late Show with David Letterman, in apparent references to Katherne Harris and President George W. Bush, Spacey quipped Florida in 2000 was “a confluence of events and personalities -- some of whom perhaps weren't qualified for their jobs, [pause] some of whom probably aren't currently qualified for their job.”

Wednesday night, Spacey told Keith Olbermann that Bush's team was more ruthless than Gore's: “I think there's no question what the movie illustrates is there were two differing philosophies about how to approach this recount fight. The Republicans pretty much, it was a street battle in their eyes. And I think on the Gore side, I think there was a -- perhaps an overestimated view of the patience of the American people.” Bottom line for Spacey in echoing the liberal take at the time: “It does seem that on the one hand the Bush people were trying to stop votes from being counted and the Gore people were just trying to get votes counted.”