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
January 29, 2008, 12:53 AM EST
ABC and NBC pivoted almost immediately from President Bush's State of the Union address to the 2008 presidential campaign, but CBS stuck to Bush's speech in its post-coverage in which Katie Couric complained “a lot of it was Bush redux,” Bob Schieffer kvetched that Bush “did not say what his assessment of the state of the union was until the next to the last sentence” and historian Douglas Brinkley declared: “It's not looking good for his legacy. I mean it's hard to point to any big accomplishments.” Schieffer, however, cautioned it's too soon to assess Bush, noting: “We're only beginning now to understand completely the impact of Ronald Reagan. When he left office, we didn't know that the Soviet Union was going to collapse.”

Meanwhile, on CNN between Bush's address and the Democratic response, Jeffrey Toobin used Bush to condemn all the Republican candidates for lacking “humanity” in their approach to immigration. The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to this from Toobin at 10:12 PM EST:
January 28, 2008, 9:49 PM EST

The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how “today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot.” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, “Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy.” NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded “it's almost hard to remain objective” when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar. Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.

[UPDATED with Nightline, 1:05 AM EST: With “New Son of Camelot” on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the “new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK.” Moran soon hailed how “the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st.” David Wright repeated his “the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny” line before championing the “merging ideals from two different eras” as “Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot.”]

January 28, 2008, 6:45 AM EST
On Sunday, for the second time in days, a network journalist presumed Rudy Giuliani should be ashamed and defensive about a Friday New York Times editorial which denigrated his character, instead of seeing it, as any conservative would, as a badge of honor. On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer reminded Giuliani how his “home town newspaper....really took after you. They said your 'arrogance,' your 'vindictiveness' were, I think, are 'breathtaking,' in their phrase. What do you say about that when people ask you about that?”

Giuliani explained how “most of my ideology that I put into place in New York City they opposed, including the one we've talked about most this morning, which is, you know, large tax cuts.” Indeed, Schieffer had echoed New York Times-like thinking on tax cuts as irresponsible when, earlier in the interview segment, he pressed Giuliani: “You talk about cutting taxes as the way to turn a government around. You said that's what you did in New York. But isn't that going to be kind of difficult with a war that's costing $220,000 a minute?”
January 27, 2008, 8:23 AM EST
“In Heat of Battle, Darman Put Taxes Back on the Table,” read the Saturday “Business” section headline over the “appreciation” piece, by veteran Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson, on the legacy of Richard Darman, the budget director who in 1990 arranged the deal which undermined George Bush's “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge. Darman passed away Friday, at age 64, after battling leukemia. Mufson hailed how Darman's deal, “along with the first Clinton budget...balanced the federal government's books for a decade,” and empathized with how Darman had confronted “the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be.”

Mufson, who currently covers energy for the Post but back in 1990 covered economic policy, presumed the Reagan tax cuts of nine years earlier caused a “budget mess” which had to be fixed in 1990, asserting that “many people thought it was fitting that Darman was at the center of these talks because of his role in drafting the big 1981 Reagan tax cuts.” Mufson quoted David Stockman, the infamous Reagan back-stabber, as quoting Darman: “I don't know which is worse, winning now and fixing up the budget mess later, or losing now and facing a political mess immediately.” But the “fixing” didn't occur for a decade, leading Mufson to postulate:
That summed up not only the Darman dilemma but also the dilemma of contemporary U.S. politics: Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be. That makes compromise difficult and it could be bad policy, too. In addition to raising revenue, the small gasoline tax increase that conservative Republicans were able to purge from the final 1990 deal "might have been good energy and environmental policy," Darman said in a talk last March.
January 26, 2008, 2:31 AM EST
The right wing's “big heist” in Iraq led by bankers who “are screwing everyone” all “started with Ronald Reagan crushing the poor, crushing the unions,” actor/comedian Richard Belzer bizarrely claimed Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher before proceeding to smear Rudy Giuliani as a “fascist thug with a comb-over trying to suppress his speech impediment.” [This item includes an accurate quotation of a vulgarity.]

Belzer
, who plays “Detective John Munch” on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, appeared on the show's panel with musician Herbie Hancock and ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz. When Hancock asserted $80 billion is unaccounted for in Iraq, Belzer launched into this tirade:
This is a big heist, this is a big heist. The right wing is in power, the bankers are screwing everyone -- the oil companies, Halliburton -- this is no fucking mystery. These people have been after this. It started with Reagan crushing the poor, crushing the unions, rewarding people, putting them into heads of certain departments of the government and then disassembling those departments because they have contempt for the government.
January 25, 2008, 3:10 AM EST
Instead of pressing John McCain to defend himself to Republican primary voters in the wake of a New York Times editorial endorsing him which praised McCain for his more liberal views on global warming, campaign finance and illegal immigration, during Thursday night's GOP presidential debate on MSNBC, Brian Williams demanded Rudy Giuliani respond to the denigration of him by the left-wing newspaper -- which Williams called “your home town paper” -- as a “vindictive man” with a “breathtaking” level of “arrogance and bad judgment.” To audience applause, Giuliani pointed out that if he ever “did anything the New York Times suggested...I wouldn't be considered a conservative Republican.”

Concluding the 97-minute debate from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Williams promised questions about “how you counter the attacks against you from your opponents,” presumably those on stage, and Williams did hit Mitt Romney on his flip-flops and McCain on his age. But leading off with Giuliani shortly before 10:30pm EST, Williams pursued:
In tomorrow morning's editions of the New York Times they are out with their endorsements in the New York primary. Senator Clinton on the Democratic side, Senator McCain on the Republican side. In tonight's lead editorial, they say, quote: "The real Mr. Giuliani, who many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive vindictive man. His arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking." How can you defend against that in your home town paper? How have you changed as a man since this portrait?
January 24, 2008, 5:55 AM EST
AP, MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times on Wednesday all promoted a “study” by a couple of affiliated far-left groups, supposedly documenting “935 false statements” about Iraq made by Bush officials, but in hyping the proof of “lies” which led to war, the news outlets disguised the ideology of the groups -- led by a former ABC and CBS reporter/producer -- and how many of the “false” statements were about Iraq possessing WMD, which FNC's Brit Hume pointed out was “a concept nearly universally accepted by most of the world's intelligence services at the time.”

Keith Olbermann, who in 2006 slammed the Media Research Center as a “rabid right-wing spin group,” Wednesday night on Countdown with “935 lies” on screen on top of a picture of Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, described the Center for Public Integrity and Fund for Independence in Journalism as merely “two non-profit groups” who have “done the algebra” on “the administration's countless lies about Iraq.” Last September, CNN's Jack Cafferty accurately described the MRC as a “conservative media watchdog outfit,” but he euphemistically tagged the left-wing groups as “two non-profit journalism groups” with a study which “found President Bush led the pack with 260 lies.” Cafferty's labeling echoed AP's reference to “two non-profit journalism organizations.”

MSNBC's Dan Abrams lent the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) credibility as “a non-profit, non-partisan investigative journalism group.” On WashingtonPost.com, Dan Froomkin hailed the “non-profit group pursuing old-fashioned accountability journalism” and a Wednesday New York Times story cited CPI as “a research group that focuses on ethics in government and public policy.”
January 23, 2008, 7:02 AM EST
Catching up: Picking up on Chris Matthews' New Hampshire primary night suggestion (reported that evening on NewsBusters) -- that if pollsters called with an “Archie Bunker voice” they'd “get a more honest answer” -- last week's Weekly Standard magazine's “Parody” page conjured up an imaginary memo to pollsters advising them to mimic the voice of actor Carroll O'Connor's character. Amongst the suggested articulations presented to Zogby International staffers polling South Carolina voters:
Hey! How ya doin'? I'm callin' from th Zogby people, ya know, dem poll guys?...

So, this Clinton dame -- whew! Whaddaya think o' the piano legs on that broad, huh? She's a piece o' work, that senator o' mine, lemme tell ya. I can see why that husband o' hers thinks he's gotta dip his pen in the company inkwell, as we used to say. You gonna vote for her?...

Well, OK, my missus tells me it's time we had a woman President. But I tell her, those Ay-rabs better not start sendin' missiles over this way when it's Hillary's time o' the month, right?...

They got this Maback Bommarama, or Bamak Omarosa, or whatever his name is -- ya know, the colored guy with the big ears -- I mean, c'mon -- you're not gonna actually vote for de guy, are you?... [Reprint below]
January 22, 2008, 1:04 AM EST
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Monday picked up on the late 2007 Sacred Heart University poll, highlighted Monday morning on NewsBusters, which found that by three-to-one Americans see a media slant to the left over the right while FNC led as the “most trusted” news source.
January 21, 2008, 4:57 AM EST
For the sixth time in a year, a national survey has found many more Americans see a media bias to the left than to the right, and the latest poll released earlier this month by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute, discovered “significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting,” with MSNBC (at a piddling four percent) and PBS (three percent) the least trusted for accurate reporting. Fox News, at 27 percent, was the most trusted, way ahead of second-best CNN at 14.6 percent. The Fairfield, Connecticut university's January 8 press release reported: “Just 19.6 percent of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4 percent in 2003.”

By a three-to-one margin “Americans see news media journalists and broadcasters (45.4 percent to 15.7 percent) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative,” but for NPR and the New York Times recognition of a liberal tilt is closer to four-to-one.
January 16, 2008, 11:23 PM EST
Nine days after a glowing segment with Barack Obama, NBC's Brian Williams on Wednesday night again delivered a very friendly session with a Democratic presidential candidate, this time Hillary Clinton. Since the Iowa caucuses, Williams has not interviewed any of the Republican candidates for the NBC Nightly News, but last fall he did and displayed quite a contrast in approaches -- quizzing Republican Rudy Giuliani about controversies in his past while tossing softballs to Democrat John Edwards.

In the Wednesday NBC Nightly News segment, Williams provided a congenial chat with Clinton, showing her on a rope line and then wondering: “How do you explain the energy of a rope line to a rookie?” Raising her “emotional” moment, Williams cued her up: “How did that question convert itself, in your mind, into a moment of grace?” As for her Granite state comeback, simply: “What do you think happened in New Hampshire?” Williams ended by empathizing with her tough grind: “For the Senator from New York, the business of politics comes after the public events. Today it's a conference call with Democratic governors on the economy. Tonight it's on to Reno, tomorrow to California. And that's life on the road.” Standing in a holding room, he quipped: “At least the food on the road makes it all worthwhile.”

NBC didn't even air the most unctuous question Williams posed. An MSNBC.com online transcript and video of the entire 28-minute interview includes: “Akin to the question in New Hampshire, it has gotten personal quite early. How have you kept going?”
January 15, 2008, 8:56 PM EST
Asked by Katie Couric Tuesday night why having Republicans dominate the Michigan GOP primary, as opposed to independents and Democrats, is bad for John McCain, CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't cite any of McCain's views -- such as on immigration, tax cuts and freedom of speech -- where he's out of sync with most Republicans. Instead of realizing how McCain is too liberal for many conservatives who are the majority in the GOP, Schieffer contended Republicans just don't like him because he's “willing to challenge the authority,” insisting:
John McCain has always been sort of a maverick. He's always been willing to challenge the authority and a lot of Republicans just have not forgiven him for that.
January 15, 2008, 1:58 AM EST
ABC on Monday night, unlike the CBS and NBC evening newscasts, noted two political developments which conservatives cheer: Anchor Charles Gibson highlighted the inauguration in Baton Rouge of Republican Bobby Jindal as Governor of Louisiana, the first non-white Governor since Reconstruction in the state dominated by Democrats -- though Gibson didn't emphasize Jindal's party affiliation -- and “a significant political breakthrough in Iraq.” On Jindal, Gibson relayed on World News, over video of the inauguration:
History was made in Louisiana today. Bobby Jindal took office as the state's new Governor. Jindal is 36, the son of Indian immigrants. He's Louisiana's first non-white Governor since Reconstruction, and the nation's first elected Indian-American Governor. Jindal, a former Republican Congressman, vowed to clean up Louisiana politics and speed hurricane recovery.
January 14, 2008, 8:03 PM EST
Catching up with an article in last week's Weekly Standard (but with Mitt Romney making his last stand in Tuesday's Michigan primary it remains topical), veteran Washington journalist Fred Barnes, a regular panelist on FNC's Special Report, asserted that the press corps “loathes Romney for moving to the right on social issues.” In “The All-Too-Resistible Romney: He has everything going for him but voters,” Barnes, Executive Editor of the magazine, marveled:
I've been amazed at the raw antipathy that so many otherwise reasonable people in the media feel toward Romney. The word they use is "inauthentic." But all presidential candidates are inauthentic to one degree or another. Even Mr. Straight Talk, Senator John McCain, talks differently today about tax cuts and immigration than he used to, but the press doesn't hector him about it. There's something unique about Romney that repels the press...
January 14, 2008, 3:55 AM EST
Discussing NBC News reporter Lee Cowan’s admission that “it's almost hard to remain objective” in covering Barack Obama, on Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN former CBS and PBS reporter Terence Smith agreed Obama is “absolutely” benefitting from “sympathetic” coverage and ex-Washington Post political editor John Harris revealed Post reporters “needed to go through detox” after coming back to the newsroom enthralled with the liberal Democratic presidential candidate. Recalling his days at the Post before helping to launch The Politico a year ago, Harris told ex-Post colleague and Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz:
Almost a couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back: “Oh, he's so impressive, he's so charismatic,” and we're kind of like, “Down Boy.”

Harris, however, held his journalistic colleagues accountable: “What Lee Cowan said is it's hard. Okay, it's hard. Do it. Detach yourself. Nobody cares about our opinions.”

January 12, 2008, 1:50 AM EST
Insisting he's “not a conspiracy theorist,” Bill Maher, on the Friday night season debut of his HBO show, suggested that because Republicans prefer to run against Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama they engineered her victory in New Hampshire's Democratic primary. Later on Real Time with Bill Maher, former ABC News reporter/anchor Catherine Crier claimed “you have to work really hard to find a truly liberal” politician and “Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama are not raging liberals.”

Maher opened the panel discussion, with Tony Snow, Crier and Mark Cuban, by observing how he found it “odd” that polls showed Obama ahead in New Hampshire, yet Clinton won, and “it does bother me that a private company runs the polling machines and that only they certainly seem to know what went on.” A couple of minutes later, Maher noted that “in crime they always ask...'who profits?'” Looking at Snow, he then pondered:
Who profits from the Hillary victory? They don't want to run against Obama. Your party does not want to run against him. They want to run against Hillary Clinton and now they have a race with her in it.

A bemused Snow called Maher's reasoning “totally wacko!” and “completely wacked” as Maher contended Republicans have thrown races before: “They did it to Ed Muskie.”

Video (28 secs): Windows Media (1 MB), plus MP3 audio (170 KB). Click and play Flash video in the MRC.org posting.

January 10, 2008, 6:39 AM EST
Telling Hillary Clinton “some observers believe” that when she got “emotional” -- as “your voice cracked and your eyes welled up” -- that “humanized you and made you much more attractive to women voters,” CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night cooed: “Will you be willing now to reveal more of yourself and be less reserved?” As if the “emotional” moment Monday in New Hampshire exposed the real, sensitive Hillary Clinton while the “reserved” Hillary persona of the last 15-plus years doesn't match reality. For the interview aired on the CBS Evening News, Clinton invited Couric to her home in New Castle, New York. Clinton described the incident as “Hillary unplugged” and insisted it showed “I don't see politics as a game,” but as a way of “getting in a position to actually help people.”

Couric did, at least, challenge a Clinton premise: “How can you be a real change agent when you were involved in a two-term administration in the '90s. You're yesterday's news, they think in a way?”
January 9, 2008, 4:04 AM EST
From the January 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the “Top Ten Signs You're Watching Bad Election Coverage.” Video of Letterman reading this list.
10. TV reporters seem to be using the word "dude" a lot

9. Because of the writers strike, they show reruns of the Reagan-Mondale election

8. Exit polling question: "Did you have trouble finding the exit?"

7. Three candidates each received 50% of the votes

6. Top half of screen shows election coverage, bottom half is "American Gladiators"

5. Pundit says it's looking unlikely Bush will be re-elected

4. It's 3 hours of Dog the Bounty Hunter yelling racial slurs
January 9, 2008, 1:23 AM EST
During MSNBC's live New Hampshire primary night coverage, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw warned that poll results getting ahead of the voters could turn the public against the media, but then blamed the inaccurate polling on how “people probably are not as honest with pollsters.” Chris Matthews, who urged an “inquest” on the polls which all had Barack Obama well ahead of Hillary Clinton in the Granite state when Clinton actually won, saw “an ethnic factor here.” Matthews extrapolated on his theory involving “Archie Bunker,” the bigoted 1970s TV character:
I've always thought that pollers, people, pollsters who call people up and ask them how they're going to vote, speak in perfect English, and standard English, they speak with a kind of a politically correct manner and it encourages a politically correct answer. I've often thought that if an Archie Bunker voice were to come over the phone, and ask people how they're going to vote, you'd get a more honest answer.
During the 11pm EST hour, Brokaw warned: “I think that the people out there are going to begin to make judgments about us -- if they haven't already -- if we don't begin to temper that temptation to constantly try to get ahead of what the voters are deciding...” He soon, however, blamed the voters: “I think people probably are not as honest with pollsters when they get called anymore because they're called constantly and they do change their minds. We're in a culture now, Chris, in which attention spans are very short, which people make quick decisions and change them equally quickly.”
January 8, 2008, 6:20 AM EST
CNN's Jack Cafferty on Monday advanced former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern's call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, posing as his “Cafferty File” question in the 6pm EST hour of The Situation Room: “Why won't Congress impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney?” Highlighting McGovern's bombastic op-ed in the “Outlook” section of Sunday's Washington Post, “Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse,” Cafferty quoted McGovern's contention Bush and Cheney “have repeatedly violated the Constitution,” “have lied to the American people time after time” and have carried out a “murderous, illegal, nonsensical war.” So “illegal” that the House and Senate, controlled by Democrats, continue funding it.

All six of the posted answers, read later in the hour by Cafferty, castigated Congress for not following McGovern's advice. One argued “the Democratic Congress will not move on impeachment because we have nothing but cowards in Washington,” another Cafferty chose to spotlight asserted that “the collaborators who gave Bush everything they wanted won't condemn themselves now by impeaching him” and Cafferty ended with this sarcastic take from Sally, a neighbor of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia: “Because all they did was cause death, destruction, torture, defiling of the Constitution and decimation of the nation's finances. Thank goodness they didn't have sex with an intern.”