Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center (MRC), the publisher of NewsBusters. He’s been the central figure in the MRC’s News Analysis Division since the MRC’s 1987 founding and in 2005 spearheaded the launch of NewsBusters.

Baker oversees the selection of the award nominees and “winners” for the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards,” presented at an annual gala, and each week he helps the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard select a “Mainstream Media Scream.” Those picks are added, on a one week delay, to NewsBusters. (Archive for 2012-2014 on MRC.org)

In 2001, Weekly Standard Executive Editor Fred Barnes dubbed Baker “the scourge of liberal bias.”

For 13 years he compiled and edited the daily CyberAlert e-mail and online report. In late May of 2009 the CyberAlert became an e-mail-only product based on BiasAlert postings on the MRC's Web site. BiasAlerts since early 2012. (In February 2015, the MRC discontinued posting BiasAlerts on MRC.org and began feeding the newsletter via CyberAlert posts on NewsBusters).

An avid fan of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team, in January of 2009 the Washington Post's "DC Sports Bog" took note of Baker's attendance at a Caps game with John Kerry: "The Caps, John Kerry and a Scourge."

Baker lived in Massachusetts through high school, whereupon he fled the liberal commonwealth for George Washington University in DC and, since graduation, a life in Northern Virginia. Full bio on MRC.org.

Latest from Brent Baker
February 6, 2008, 10:25 PM EST
Catching up with a revealing comment from Monday morning, the day before the New York primary, Today show co-host Meredith Vieira recalled how over the weekend in her suburban New York town she was “with a group of friends” who “were trying to choose between Clinton and Obama.” She then recited how those for both liberal candidates cited the “electability” of their preferred candidate, but Vieira didn't say anything about having any friends struggling between John McCain and Mitt Romney. Could that be because she doesn't have any friends close enough to hang around with on weekends who would consider voting Republican?

In the February 4 interview session, with Democratic strategist Paul Begala, Republican operative Mike Murphy and Michele Noris of NPR, Vieira included her weekend activities in a question:
February 6, 2008, 2:41 AM EST
Opposition to John McCain from conservatives is clearly a proper topic of news analysis on an election night, but during its two hours of EST/CST prime time coverage of Super Tuesday, the CBS News team managed to apply the “conservative” label at least 44 times -- in several instances beyond anything about the conservative split with McCain -- yet never once uttered the term “liberal” during a night when two liberals faced off on the Democratic side. Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer each tagged the same Senator, 25 minutes apart, with Greenfield calling Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn the “most conservative Senator” and Schieffer referring to him as “very conservative.” Schieffer characterized the fissure between conservative activists/talk show hosts and McCain as a “split between...the very conservative establishment and the Republican Party.” Schieffer later warned that McCain must “put out this fire” the “very conservative Republicans are waging.”

No state, not even Massachusetts or New York, was liberal to the CBS crew, but shortly before 10 PM EST Couric announced “John McCain has won the deeply conservative state of Oklahoma” and she later listed McCain's win in the “very conservative state.” In the next hour, Greenfield described California as “a conservative state for Republicans.” (Announcing Obama's win in Connecticut a little past 10 PM EST, Couric simply said the state “has a strong anti-war sentiment.”)
February 5, 2008, 8:53 PM EST
Journalists were giddy with excitement last week over Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, but a Rasmussen poll taken in the days afterward, which FNC's Brit Hume highlighted early Tuesday night, discovered more said the endorsement made them less likely than more likely to back Obama. Hume relayed how “34 percent of Democrats surveyed said Kennedy's support would make them less likely to vote for Obama. Thirty-three percent said it had no impact. Only 30 percent said it would make them more likely to support the Illinois Senator.” And “if you throw in the Republicans and independents with the Democrats, the endorsement looks even more damaging” with 46 percent saying “the Kennedy nod makes them less likely to support Obama” and only 16 percent saying it made them more likely to vote for Obama.

The night of the endorsement, 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.” NBC's Lee Cowan radiated over how “the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar.”
February 5, 2008, 7:40 AM EST
On the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries, CBS anchor Katie Couric displayed remarkably different approaches to Democratic versus Republican presidential candidates, simply asking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton about their poll standings while demanding that Mitt Romney, and John McCain himself, address whether McCain has the “temperament” to be President. She also pressed McCain to say something negative about Romney and Mike Huckabee: “What do you perceive as the biggest weakness of your opponents?” And: “What about Mike Huckabee? What do you think is his biggest weakness?”

Monday's CBS Evening News uniquely ran brief interviews with five presidential candidates, starting with Democrat Barack Obama. Couric wondered “how concerned” he was about CBS's poll showing him behind Clinton and then: “How critical is it for you to win the state of California?” Turning next to Clinton, Couric cited another aspect of the poll which “shows the two of you dead even. What happened?” With McCain, however, Couric raised former Senator Rick Santorum's charge that “I don't think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction.” Couric was even more direct with Romney: “Do you believe John McCain has the temperament to be President of the United States?”
February 4, 2008, 11:25 PM EST

Three months after former ABC News reporter and anchor Carole Simpson bounded on stage in New Hampshire to endorse Hillary Clinton for President, on Monday night (as previewed in this earlier NB post), she hosted a Hillary Clinton town meeting telecast from 9 to 10 PM EST on the Hallmark cable channel. At the top of the paid show, Simpson trumpeted “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall with Senator Hillary Clinton” as “an historic event bringing together voters from across America to discuss the issues that matter and the changes this country needs.” Welcoming Clinton, Simpson enthused: “It's my honor to introduce Hillary Clinton.”

Video clip of how Simpson opened the info-mercial (55 secs): Windows Media (3.6 MB), plus MP3 audio (300 KB).

February 4, 2008, 9:02 PM EST
President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget proposal calls for a 7.5 percent hike in Defense spending and a 5 percent jump in spending for Medicare and Medicaid, but while CBS anchor Katie Couric on Monday night correctly stated that Pentagon spending would “rise” in the Bush plan, she erroneously asserted “spending on Medicare and Medicaid would go down.” Similarly, while ABC's Martha Raddatz cited the call for an “increase” in DOD's budget, she falsely reported: “Medicare and Medicaid would be cut by almost $200 billion.”

On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, reporter James Rosen scolded the sloppy reporting of his journalistic colleagues, specifically how “the New York Times' lead article on the subject referred matter of factly to the 'trimming' of Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, Medicare will continue to see its budget grow, by 5 percent instead of 7.2 percent.”
February 2, 2008, 10:20 AM EST

Jay Leno on Friday night reminisced about admiring Tom Brokaw for appearing on the cover of the far-left Mother Jones magazine back in 1983, an interview in which Brokaw denigrated then-President Reagan from the left for “pretty simplistic” values and over how he didn't understand “the enormous difficulty a lot of people have in just getting through life, because he’s lived in this fantasy land for so long.”

With Brokaw on to promote his book, 'Boom!: Voices of the Sixties Personal Reflections on the '60s and Today,' Leno recalled: “I was just starting out in comedy and you'd been on the cover of kind of a left-wing, really left-wing magazine called Mother Jones. Then I thought this is really, wow, Tom Brokaw, 'cause you would have been the establishment and you're on the cover -- and that seemed, and I always wondered if NBC was annoyed or upset that you had done that?”

Not surprisingly, NBC wasn't bothered at all, Brokaw explained, “but Mrs. Reagan was really unhappy with me” for the interview, in which he acknowledged Ronald Reagan was poor as a child, but expressed how “I always thought that connection to people who were struggling was a little artificial because he really began to make it big at an early age.” Brokaw proceeded to recount how he kissed and made up with Nancy Reagan.

February 1, 2008, 10:35 PM EST
ABC on Friday night decided to devote an entire story to speculating about what is supposedly “the talk of the town” -- a potential Democratic “Dream Ticket” of Clinton and Obama or Obama and Clinton. With “Dream Ticket?” on screen, anchor Charles Gibson set up the piece by pointing out how, during the debate on CNN the night before, Clinton and Obama “were asked if they might run together -- one for President, the other for Vice President.” Gibson insisted: “It has been on many people's minds.”

In the subsequent story, Jake Tapper asserted that with a black man or white woman “poised to make history,” there is “one way to top it.” He then played a clip of Wolf Blitzer asking during the debate: “Would you consider an Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket going down the road?” Maintaining “the possibility is the talk of the town,” Tapper backed his supposition by highlighting the belief of his colleague, ex-Clintonista George Stephanopoulos, who predicted: “Because they're both fighting this out through Super Tuesday, I think the chances are better than ever before.” Challenged by Diane Sawyer to a bet in the clip Tapper played from Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos took her up: “Absolutely. I'll bet if she gets the nomination, she picks him.”
January 31, 2008, 6:22 AM EST
NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterFNC's Brit Hume, in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment, highlighted the contrast in a glowing a AP review of John Edwards' unsuccessful campaign sympathetic toward his hard-left approach to the race, versus a much less laudatory look by the wire service at Republican Rudy Giuliani's aborted presidential quest.
January 30, 2008, 9:41 PM EST

An ABC story Wednesday night attributed conservative opposition to John McCain not to McCain's more liberal positions on many issues, but to how McCain “basically is not going to answer to anybody, especially the conservative pundits or the conservagentsia. And they don't like that.” That claim that resistance to embracing McCain is a petty personal matter came from former Bush-Cheney campaign strategist Matthew Dowd, now an ABC News political contributor. ABC reporter Ron Claiborne buttressed Dowd's explanation, asserting: “And that has drawn attacks from the likes of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.” Viewers then heard an audio clip of Limbaugh: “He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment.” (MP3 audio clip, 23 secs.)

In contrast, over on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bill Whitaker accurately attributed the opposition to McCain's policy positions: “McCain is routinely savaged by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative stalwarts for breaking ranks on immigration, taxes and global warming.” Two weeks ago, CBS's Bob Schieffer was as off-base as ABC, insisting opposition to McCain from the right is because “he's always been willing to challenge the authority and a lot of Republicans just have not forgiven him for that.”

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.