Dan Gainor, The Boone Pickens Free Market Fellow and Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center, is a veteran editor with two decades’ experience in print and online media. He has served as an editor at several newspapers including The Washington Times and The Baltimore News-American. Mr. Gainor also has extensive experience in online publishing – holding the position of managing editor for CQ.com, the Web site of Congressional Quarterly, and executive editor for ChangeWave, published by Phillips International. He has worked in financial publishing in his last two positions, launching new services for ChangeWave and Agora Inc. Mr. Gainor holds an MBA from the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business and a master’s in publications design from the University of Baltimore. As an undergraduate, he majored in political science and history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Mr. Gainor volunteers as a media and issues speaker with the Close-Up Foundation.

Latest from Dan Gainor
October 28, 2010, 11:06 AM EDT

Spinning the Numbers When Conservatives in Charge: During the year leading up to the 2005-06 mid-term elections, the economy was strong and unemployment never went above 5 percent. That wasn’t how the media reported it. Negative reports and stories spun negatively accounted for 58 percent of the stories (38 out of 65).

Spinning the Numbers When Left in Charge: Despite the near 10 percent unemployment throughout the year leading to the 2009-10 elections, positive reports and stories spun positively accounted for 52 percent of the stories (46 out of 88).

Just days before the mid-term elections and jobs remain the major campaign issue. Unemployment stands at 9.6 percent with nearly 15 million people out of work. Gallup’s analysis argues things are even worse, with unemployment hitting 10 percent again – a number voters wouldn’t see until the Friday after the election. As Gallup explained, it’s “up sharply from 9.4% in mid-September and 9.3% at the end of August.” That means heartache and struggle across the United States.

That’s not the story being told this election. What voters are left with are false impressions from the broadcast news shows – that somehow the worst unemployment in 25 years is not that bad. CNBC’s Steve Liesman called it “self-sustaining job growth,” on NBC’s April 2, 2010 “Nightly News.”That’s also exactly the opposite of how those same networks handled low unemployment during the last mid-term election. Then, with a Republican in the White House, journalists worked hard at undermining the positive news with the possibility that bad things might occur.

October 19, 2010, 3:56 PM EDT

Steroids are back in the news with the arrest of a Canadian doctor charged with providing performance-enhancing drugs to top athletes. It’s a major issue in the sports world, raising the question whether some of today’s most-well-known sports stars violated rules to boost their performance. At the same time, the ethics of how The New York Times handled the investigation also raises serious questions.

At the Times, steroids scandals are big news. Since December 2009, the Times has run at least 42 stories and briefs linking the latest scandal to at least 12 major athletes including golfer Tiger Woods, and baseball players Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. Every one of them was analyzed for his connection to Dr. Anthony Galea, who the Times described as “a sports medicine specialist who has treated hundreds of professional athletes across many sports.”

But it’s not the names that were included in the stories that matter. It’s the names that weren’t. In 40 percent of the stories (17 out of 42), reporters refused to disclose who was leaking them information. The very first story included this nebulous sentence: “He is suspected of providing athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, according to several people who have been briefed on the investigation.”

October 9, 2010, 5:57 AM EDT

Imagine the furor if a televangelist went on a major TV network and told viewers Christianity would conquer the world and that the flag of Christianity would fly over the White House.Network reporters, Hollywood celebrities and the pundit class likely would seize the moment as an example of the evils of America's supposed Christian theocracy. The story might be tied to the dangers of evangelical religion and likely even to the Tea Parties. Across the oceans, radical Islamists would likely do as they did during the Koran burning episode or after the Danish cartoons were published. They would riot. Cars, businesses and maybe even embassies might  burn. People might die. Thankfully, that didn't happen. What did happen is far scarier. ABC News held a townhall meeting, bringing on experts from left and right to ask the question: "Should Americans fear Islam?" Thanks to ABC, we know the answer. Americans absolutely should. One of the network's "experts" was Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary, who Britain's Sunday Times called "the leader of the now-outlawed extremist group Islam4UK." His comments on "This Week" bore out everything conservatives criticize about radical Islam. "We do believe as Muslims the East and the West will be governed by the Sharia," Choudray said. "Indeed we believe that one day the flag of Islam will fly over the White House."

September 11, 2010, 12:32 AM EDT
Nine years and it still seems like we just woke from a nightmare. September 11, 2001, is seared into the national consciousness like Pearl Harbor 60 years before - only worse because we watched it on television as it happened. A nation was transfixed while 3,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates and our family members perished in violence and fire.

They were killed in the Twin Towers, in a field in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon itself. Police officers and fire fighters fell by the hundreds trying to save as many as they could. All were victims of the kind of terror Americans had grown used to hearing about elsewhere. But not here.

A grieving America turned to images of the Statue of Liberty to find solace. Artists from around the world depicted the statue as sad or proud or a mother defending her child. Our nation rallied under the motto: "United We Stand."

Now we know we were never all that united. Soon after fire fighters raised a flag in the ruins of New York, the fingerpointing began. George Bush was to blame, though he only recently had taken office. America was to blame because of its longstanding friendship with Israel. Everyone was to blame it seemed, except the monsters driven by hate to harm the innocent.

Not long after the Twin Towers fell, the crazy conspiracies rose in their place. The attack was an inside job we were told as the 9/11 truther industry spread like the plague it is. By 2004, "half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders ‘knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act,'" according to a Zogby International poll.

August 19, 2010, 4:03 PM EDT

Dave Weigel might have changed jobs, but that's about all. Weigel, the one-time Washington Post blogger assigned to cover conservatives, but who actually bashed them on a regular basis, left the Post only to be hired by another Post-owned publication - Slate.

Now that he's at Slate, he's also up to his old tricks, comparing opponents of the Ground Zero Mosque to the czars who used to murder Jews by the thousands. Oh sure, he doesn't say that, but he does.

First, the pretend conservative complains about the "Greak[sic] Mosque Freak-Out of 2010" and how some Americans think Obama might be a Muslim. He then goes on to bash Powerline blog because they criticized Obama saying "he certainly isn't one of us."  But Powerline was clear, saying that the reason some are befuddled by Obama's religion is those who are confused "interpret his aloof non-Americanism in this way."

July 17, 2010, 6:40 AM EDT

Love is a many splendored thing - except when the feeling isn't mutual. Then, love stinks. That's the position journalists find themselves in as their love for President Barack Obama has been a one-way street. The rejection is much harsher than screening their calls. Obama has done everything to keep them away except take out a restraining order. The latest examples of mistreatment include actions by both the Defense Department and government agencies in the Gulf clean-up. In both cases, journalists have been restricted in ways that have made scribes scream. No wonder they call it a "crush." The American media fell in love at first sight with Obama when he gave what CBS called his "electrifying" keynote speech before the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Then journalists wooed him throughout the presidential campaign - with election news stories looking like Democratic campaign ads. Now nearly a year-and-a-half into the marriage, they've discovered an awful truth about modern love - Obama is the most anti-press president in modern history.

July 15, 2010, 4:31 PM EDT

The left continues to try to renovate Van Jones' reputation. Jones, the former green jobs czar who disappeared from the White House in a late-night resignation after it was revealed he had signed a 9/11 Truther petition, is one of the headliners at the Hamptons Institute gathering of lefties this weekend. Jones joins liberal financier George Soros and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark for "a weekend summer symposium gathering some of the greatest minds in the arts, the economy, and the media" this coming weekend. To prep for the event, Jones was interviewed by New Deal 2.0 and he responded predictably - touting massive government spending on eco-goodies and a higher cost for energy. According to Jones, "Higher energy costs are unavoidable in all future scenarios." He tried to spin that cost as minor as long as America acts now, claiming it would be "the equivalent of a postage stamp a day for each American." It sounds a lot worse after you do the math and come up with $50 billion.

July 10, 2010, 8:19 AM EDT
In a July 9 post on www.loudobbs.com, Dobbs let fly bashing the staff at his one-time competitor for "two gems that can't be ignored."

"MSNBC guest anchor Cenk Uygur filled in for the equally insane and inane Dylan Ratigan and pushed the crazy idea that President Obama is a conservative," he wrote. The video of the segment is all there because Dobbs embedded it from the Media Research Center.

Dobbs, who still has a talk radio show, then went on to criticize Uygur's twisted logic that, Uygur's words Obama "seems to have bought into the Republican talking point on deficits."

Then he went on criticize "the old-standby, Mr. Tingle Up His Leg Chris Matthews" for saying there are only two camps in the nation - "those who want things to improve and those who want to see the country, and therefore the president, fail."

June 30, 2010, 3:01 PM EDT

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a blogger. Millions of bloggers, actually. And they are taking back freedom of the press from journalists unwilling and unable to use it in a fair and responsible manner. A few weeks ago, we saw Helen Thomas confess her nutty anti-Semitism because a blogger caught her in an unusually candid moment. We found out what many have long suspected: that she's a disgusting bigot. Then there was the Gen. McChrystal controversy as our top general in Afghanistan reportedly criticized the Obama administration to a Rolling Stone reporter. Blogger critics argued "The Runaway General" showed the journalistic beat system prevents warts-and-all portrayals such as this one. Reporters are often too cozy with sources to make them look bad. Adding to that ethical issue, The Washington Post followed with a story saying the reporter in this case might have violated rules about what would be off the record. Rolling Stone denied it of course. But nothing got more press than the seemingly simple resignation of self-immolating Washington Post blogger Dave Weigel. Weigel was hired by the Post three months ago and continued his previous anti-conservative efforts with an attack on those "anti-gay marriage bigots" and making a joke about Matt Drudge "diddling" an 8-year-old boy. He was forced to apologize but remarkably kept his job.

June 28, 2010, 10:16 PM EDT

Since I've been accused of leading "something of a crusade" against former Post blogger Dave Weigel, how could I resist this announcement? Weigel, who left the Post amidst a controversy where he bashed tons of conservatives, has joined the leftwing convention at MSNBC (video right).

According to a Tweet from "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann, Weigel has come on board as a contributor. "And confirming, @DaveWeigel is now MSNBC contributor @DaveWeigel Welcome aboard and my condolences, uh, congratulations!" wrote Olbermann.

Now Weigel has joined the team of Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz. This from the guy who just today told the world of his wonderful career saga that started out as editor of a campus conservative paper at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. "Was I really that conservative? Yes," he wrote, somehow expecting readers to believe him. While he admitted some of his troubles came from "hubris," much of what he wrote most already knew, that he was no friend to the right. "At Reason, I'd become a little less favorable to Republicans, and I'd never been shy about the fact that I was pro-gay marriage and pro-open borders."

Throw in Weigel's parade of assault on conservatives, prominent figures on the right from Rush Limbaugh to Matt Drudge and Newt Gingrich and the bigger question becomes, does he agree with the right on anything? The answer is: it doesn't matter anymore. He's gone from an organization fighting to keep its credibility to one fighting to lose what little it has.

May 2, 2010, 9:32 AM EDT

UPDATE: Weigel has officialy responded and claimed it "was a joke about Matt Drudge linking, for more than 24 hours, to a National Enquirer story about President Obama having an affair. "For more details, read after the jump.

***

Even if it's a joke, it's shocking to have an employee of The Washington Post claiming a prominent conservative had sex with an 8-year-old boy. But that's what new Washington Post "Right Now" blogger Tweeted during Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner about The Drudge Report's founder Matt Drudge.

Fairly late in the evening, Weigel wrote this on his Twitter account: "I hear there's video out there of Matt Drudge diddling an 8-year-old boy. Shocking."

The post that followed it was a message to another blogger about what the National Enquirer claimed was an Obama sex scandal, so it appeared to be in that context. At least five people on Twitter repeated Weigel's comment about Drudge. There appeared to be no follow-up comment, explanation or apology.

Weigel, who started his "Right Now" blog at the Post a little more than a month ago, is known for sarcastic and sometimes funny comments on Twitter. Earlier in the evening, he had commented about having too much to drink. "Very cool. I either need to stop drunktweeting or do MUCH MORE drunktweeting." And the rest of his comments during the evening were in a similar sarcastic or goofy vein including photos of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow as a bartended at the dinner and a picture of himself in a tux where he commented, "I am ready to either party or wait your table. Or both!"

March 31, 2010, 8:42 AM EDT
In case there are any residual doubts about how bad the tea partiers have been treated, here are the Top Five ways the left and the media have abused a grassroots movement. The coverage has been so hateful and so biased, it was almost impossible to narrow the list. Here they are in reverse order, just in time for the big tea party events April 15:

5) Protesters are Anti-Government

The media and the left portray tea parties as "anti-government" because it undermines a patriotic grassroots movement. Tea partiers aren't anti-government, they are anti-big government. That's just not the story journalists tell. The "anti-government" theme is strong, cropping up in more than two dozen stories in The Washington Post and New York Times combined. Very few of them mentioned the word "big" in reference to government.

Instead, it's NPR's Liz Halloran claiming tea parties have been boosted by "restive Republicans who have found refuge in the year-old anti-tax, anti-government uprising." Or Frank Rich of The New York Times who compared tea partiers with Andrew Joseph Stack, the man who flew a plane into an IRS building. "Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ‘Tea Party terrorist.' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner."

February 12, 2010, 11:30 AM EST
President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan was the most expensive bill in history. Still, it received strong media support - blazing the way for the controversial bill to pass. Network journalists didn't just back the bill during that debate. Once it had passed, ABC, NBC and CBS spent nearly a year promoting "President Obama's stimulus cavalry," as NBC's Lisa Myers put it.

That much money was supposed to enter the economy through many different channels. Typically, where stimulus dollars went, journalists followed. They roamed the nation looking for proof the stimulus was succeeding, and sometimes proof it wasn't.

The Business & Media Institute analyzed 172 stories about the stimulus from Feb. 17, 2009, when the bill was signed, to Jan. 31, 2010. In those stories, the three evening news shows turned to proponents nearly three times as often as opponents of the plan (269 to just 111). Reporters called the Obama program or its many offshoots "good news," or turned to others whose positive views on the stimulus went further, with one calling the program a "lifesaver."

"It's the government that`s going to have to pull us out of this recession," Anthony Mason of CBS "Evening News" said on March 6. That was a consistent theme for the journalists involved. With the economy beaten down by the Great Recession, Americans needed Obama and the government to fix things and boost employment.
January 19, 2010, 10:08 AM EST
PBS's NOWWant government to fund public media? Then PBS has a place for you. If you back giving news organizations tens of billions of dollars, that's good for nearly 25 minutes of air-time.

That's how the PBS weekly newsmagazine "NOW" addressed a left-wing solution to the decline of the news industry. On Jan. 15, "NOW," welcomed the founders of the left-wing media think tank Free Press - John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney - to tell how tax dollars can be the key component of "Saving American Journalism."

The duo recommended the United States pay $30 billion a year to fund media, what Nichols called a "pretty sane number." "This is sort of the number a free society pays to have credible journalism," he argued.

December 3, 2009, 10:20 AM EST
Twilight posterThe imminent end of the world. Aliens (the ones from space, not the illegal kind). Witches and warlocks. Those are some of things Americans believe in. 

Unbiased journalism? Not so much.

That's what the polling tells us. A 2008 Harris Poll reinforced that belief. More Americans believe in ghosts (44 percent), UFOs (36 percent) and witches (31 percent) than believe journalists. No major media outlet scored that high according to the 2009 Pew State of the Media report.

Hollywood must be paying attention. Nearly every top film of 2009 reflects those topics. Everything from the "Transformers" sequel to the "Night at the Museum" sequel to the latest "Star Trek" and "Twilight" movies has been a success. Top 100 films have taken in more than $8 billion according to Boxofficemojo.com. Nine of the top 10 are fantasy, science fiction or horror. They amount to more than $2.2 billion of that total. 

You don't see Hollywood doing many big budget movies about journalism.

November 28, 2009, 9:39 AM EST
It doesn't matter whether it's Spider-Man giving the fist bump to President Obama or New Jersey kids singing Dear Leader's praises, the left likes to indoctrinate the young. The latest example is Mad Magazine trying to make former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin look foolish and "dangerously delusional."

Mad magazine, which no doubt you are surprised even exists anymore, decided the way to get attention is make fun of Palin. The January 2010 issue bashes Palin as "Blunder Woman" in part of a cover story devoted to the "20 Dumbest, People, Events and Things" of 2009. The magazine criticized her for "going ‘rogue,'" saying "‘rogue' is the Eskimo word for ‘stupid.'"

The Palin item depicts her in a skimpy Wonder Woman-esque outfit standing behind three different comic book covers. Those range from her tangling with the Joker, depicted as David Letterman, for his joking about her daughter to "The War of 2012: Part 1 of 36." Here's the text they included with the item:

November 20, 2009, 11:33 AM EST

The Associated Press "fact check" of Sarah Palin's new book wasn't enough. Now the left is just coming out and claiming Palin is a flat out liar. That was the argument made by Bella DePaulo in a Psychology Today blog entitled "Sarah Palin's Lies."

DePaulo, who has a Harvard Ph.D. in psychology and experience in analyzing lying, claims Palin excels at it. "From my post as an outside observer, it seems to me that Sarah Palin doesn't care much about the truth. In that way, she is a very special liar," she wrote in the Nov. 19 "Living Single" blog.

The article went on to say how "Palin seems to love the effect her disingenuous pronouncements have on her audience" and discounted Palin's comments about Obama "palling around with terrorists." (Apparently Psychology Today never heard about Obama's ties to William Ayers who "helped found the radical Weathermen, launching a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and United States Capitol," according to The New York Times.)

November 19, 2009, 9:49 AM EST

The $1,000 bill has President Grover Cleveland’s face on it. The $100,000 bill has the dour image of President Woodrow Wilson.We’ve already seen President Barack Obama attach his name and face to the $787 billion stimulus bill. And if the left has its way, the face on the $6 trillion “climate justice” bill will also be Obama’s. Or maybe it will belong to Al Gore.December’s global warming conference in Copenhagen looms like a dark cloud on the horizon – just a few weeks away. The greedy left (and that’s pretty much all of them) is calling for “climate reparations.” A recent Rolling Stone article made it clear where lefties stand on American money going overseas. Writer Naomi Klein, who gained notoriety bashing ‘disaster capitalism,” said,  “shifting to renewable energy, according to a team of United Nations researchers, will raise the cost far more: to as much as $600 billion a year over the next decade.”

October 29, 2009, 9:25 AM EDT

No Impact Man posterAround the globe, environmental protesters tried “a synchronized burst of more than 4,300 demonstrations, from the Himalayas to the Great Barrier Reef,” according to The New York Times.

The sweeping Oct. 24 protest was to bully developed nations like the United States into a climate change agreement when they meet in Copenhagen this December.

The 350.org protesters, who want to drop CO2 in the atmosphere to that level, were especially critical of the U.S. “You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and industries.”

Oops, that’s wasn’t the eco-nuts, that’s a direct quote from Osama bin Laden in 2002. While al Qaeda and eco-nuts use different tactics, they share a similar enemy.

Civilization.

September 16, 2009, 10:21 AM EDT

Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).” I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN.The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel for underage girls is now national news. This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!Only almost no one has been covering it. CBS and NBC just joined the party -- days late. This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story because he was a community organizer and environmentalist, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandal-plagued organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.