Matthew Balan has been a news analyst at Media Research Center since February 2007. Previously, he worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2006, and for Human Life International in 2006. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 2003.

Latest from Matthew Balan
August 17, 2011, 6:50 PM EDT

NPR's Nina Totenberg spent more than 4 minutes on Wednesday's Morning Edition to supposed ethical conflicts of interest for conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia. By contrast, Totenberg devoted only 17 seconds to the more current issue of liberal Justice Elena Kagan's service in the Obama administration as a factor in upcoming cases before the Court.

Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by noting how both "liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction." However, the journalist devoted the first three minutes of a seven-and-a-half minute segment on the criticism launched at Clarence Thomas's wife from the left:

August 16, 2011, 1:54 PM EDT

On Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's Early Show, CBS failed to cover an Iowa Tea Party activist's confrontation with President Obama. Both ABC's GMA and NBC's Today mentioned the encounter. Just days earlier, CBS and ABC spotlighted how left-wing protesters heckled Mitt Romney at an Iowa appearance and how the Republican apparently made a "gaffe" in reply.

NBC correspondent Chuck Todd noted the "heated exchange" between Tea Partier Ryan Rhodes and the President midway through his report just after the top of the 7 am Eastern hour of Today:

August 15, 2011, 6:27 PM EDT

On Sunday's Face The Nation, CBS's Norah O'Donnell interrogated Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on a 2006 statement she made about being "submissive" to her husband. O'Donnell not only played a clip of the five-year-old moment, but asked her three questions about the biblical verse: "What do you mean wives should be submissive to their husbands?...Do you think submissive means subservient?" [audio available here]

The fill-in anchor raised the issue, which also came up during the recent Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa, near the end of the interview. Bachmann more or less repeated her answer from that debate in reply to O'Donnell's question:

[Video clips below the jump]

 

August 12, 2011, 7:19 PM EDT

NPR pretended that there wasn't a single supporter of Pope Benedict XVI in Spain on Friday's Morning Edition, choosing to devote an entire report on the "many people are grumbling at the cost" of the upcoming papal visit to the country. Correspondent Lauren Frayer not only failed to mention the 428,000 people from around the world who are registered for the World Youth Day event with the Pope, but also omitted the leftist bent of the protesters who are organizing a boycott.

Host Steve Inskeep, after delivering the "grumbling" line, highlighted how "local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services." Frayer then explained at the beginning of her report that "more than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit."

August 11, 2011, 10:27 PM EDT

On Thursday's Early Show, CBS brought on Dr. Logan Levkoff, a radical sexologist, who not only advocated distributing birth control to 11-year-olds during an October 2007 appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, but also wouldn't rule out giving contraceptives out to elementary school students. When anchor Chris Wragge asked if "eleven is too young" for sex education, Levkoff replied, "There's no such thing as being too young."

Wragge and fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis turned to the sex educator for her take on a recently-passed New York City law which mandates sex education in schools. Instead of having guests on from both sides of the issue, Levkoff appeared by herself during the segment. Jarvis first asked, "Parents will tell you- or some critics will tell you, parents should be teaching this, right? But why do you think it should be taught in the schools?" The sexologist made her extreme view on teaching sex ed pretty clear in her initial answer: "There's no question that parents should be talking to their kids about sex and sexuality, from the time they're born on....We're talking about anatomy. We're talking about sexual development, healthy choices, responsibility, consent, respect. And these are all, you know, topics that it's never too young to learn about."

August 9, 2011, 7:50 PM EDT

NPR tried to portray evangelical scientific and theological scholars who no longer believe in the Book of Genesis's account of Adam and Eve as "conservative" on Tuesday's Morning Edition. Host Steve Inskeep used this bizarre label, while correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty cited a theology teacher who denies the fall of man into sin as an example of one of these "conservatives" who "want their faith to come into the 21st century."

After Inskeep's introduction, which also noted how "for many evangelicals, a historical Adam and Eve is a critical part of their theology," Hagerty almost immediately turned to Dennis Venema of Trinity Western University in Canada and asked, "How likely is it that we all descended from Adam and Eve?" He replied, in part, "Not likely at all."

August 8, 2011, 1:45 PM EDT

On Monday's Early Show, CBS's Norah O'Donnell promoted the left-of-center talking point that Standard & Poor's recent lowering of the U.S.'s credit rating is a "Tea Party downgrade." O'Donnell played three sound bites of notable liberals using this line of attack, versus only one opposing from a center-right politician. She also spun Treasury Geithner's decision to stay as "good news for the President."

The correspondent began her report by trumpeting how apparently, "this was supposed to be a week when President Obama was going to turn his attention toward jobs with a positive message. But instead, he's dealing with this talk of a double-dip recession, that the terrible week in the markets last week, and that credit downgrade."

August 2, 2011, 4:24 PM EDT

CBS's Norah O'Donnell played the role of a clairvoyant on Tuesday's Early Show as she hinted that President Obama's reelection is assured in 2012. Anchor Erica Hill asked O'Donnell how the White House viewed the debt ceiling bill. She replied, "I think they feel like this was... not necessarily a victory for the President. He did get an extension of this debt ceiling through 2012 and through his reelection" .

Hill brought on the new CBS News White House correspondent, as well as Nancy Cordes, their congressional correspondent, to discuss the return of Rep. Gabby Giffords to the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday and their passage of the compromise debt ceiling legislation. Towards the end of the segment, after she and O'Donnell laughed it up about Vice President Biden's crack about Giffords being part of the "cracked heads club," the anchor asked her question about the White House's take on the bill. Her colleague replied with her off-the-cuff prediction:

August 1, 2011, 4:48 PM EDT

On Monday's Early Show, CBS slanted towards supporters of a new Obama administration mandate which requires private insurance companies to cover contraception as part of women's "preventative services." Anchor Chris Wragge labeled the development "good news," while correspondent Michelle Miller failed to include sound bites from opponents during her report on the new regulation.

After using his "good news" phrase, Wragge trumpeted the "historic new women's health guidelines" during his introduction for Miller's report, which aired at the bottom of the 7 am Eastern hour. The correspondent herself picked up where the anchor left off when she stated that new mandate was "welcome news to the women we spoke to." She then played two sound bites from women on the street who gave supposed horror stories about the cost of birth control.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: Sometimes, $20 a month can definitely be hard to scrape together.

July 28, 2011, 7:08 PM EDT

On three occasions between July 22 and July 26, 2011, CBS's Bob Schieffer carried water for President Obama when he echoed the Democrat's inaccurate claim about Social Security: "Millions of Americans...may not get their next [Social Security] check if the debt ceiling crisis is not resolved." In reality, there is enough federal revenues and authorized expenditures to pay for the program [audio clips available here].

Schieffer gave a preview of the CBS Evening News nine minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour of the July 22, 2011 Early Show with his dire warning about Social Security:

SCHIEFFER: Every month, millions of Americans depend on Social Security to support their families and make ends meet. But now, they may not get their next check, if the debt ceiling crisis is not resolved.

[Video clips below the jump]

 

July 26, 2011, 5:34 PM EDT

CBS's Michelle Miller leaned towards supporters of taxing junk food on Tuesday's Early Show, playing three sound bites from them and none from opponents. Miller only made one vague reference to the opposing side, and she immediately followed it by playing up the supposedly positive result of a tax: "While some say a new tax is the last thing we need, it could mean a healthier America."

The correspondent led her report by hyping how "we're paying quite a hefty toll" for creating "cheap fast food," and launched into her first sound bite, which came from Michael Jacobson, the executive director of the perennial "food police" organization, the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

July 25, 2011, 6:28 PM EDT

On Sunday's Weekend Edition, NPR's Jeff Brady spotlighted the first same-sex "marriage" in New York State and how local political and business leaders in Niagara Falls, where this first ceremony took place, hope to cater to the homosexual community. Only one sound bite during Brady's report came from an opponent to such ceremonies, and the correspondent failed to mention the protests against the new law across the state.

The correspondent devoted the first half of his report to Kitty Lambert and Cheryl Rudd, two lesbians from Buffalo who were the first same-sex couple legally recognized by New York State. According to Brady, the two have been "advocating for gay marriage for at least seven years," and, unlike many couples, chose to have their cake-cutting and dancing before the actual ceremony.

July 22, 2011, 5:21 PM EDT

On Friday's Morning Edition, correspondent Ana Tintocalis from NPR affiliate KQED in San Francisco spotlighted several supporters of California's recently-passed requirement for public schools mandating that they include homosexual historical figures in social studies classes. Only one out of the five people interviewed for Tintocalis's report opposed the new mandate.

The journalist began her report by playing two clips from a public school teacher from a "small district near Sacramento," who, despite expressing enthusiasm over the new law, felt "conflicted" over how to implement it: "It seems like we're meeting a quota, and that I don't like." She then turned to Will Grant, a private school teacher who has "led teacher workshops on how to include gay and lesbian history into social studies classes."

July 21, 2011, 5:09 PM EDT

CBS's John Blackstone apparently couldn't find many opponents of imposing sales taxes on online retailers for his report on Thursday's Early Show, as all but one of his sound bites came from proponents. Blackstone also warned that "states that are already suffering under huge budget deficits will lose more than $11 billion in uncollected sales taxes next year."

The correspondent first outlined that "for many online shoppers, the checkout screen noting zero sales tax seems a good reason to buy on the Internet. But now, a new law in California requires online retailers to collect sales tax. And Amazon, the world's biggest Internet retailer, with 34 billion [dollars] in sales last year, isn't happy." He then played two clips from a member of California's "board of equalization," which oversees the state's sales, alcohol, and tobacco taxes, who vouched for the new levy: "You have the obligation to collect the tax on behalf of the consumer, and remit it to the State of California."

July 20, 2011, 8:31 PM EDT

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston did her best to cast a Muslim fired by the State of Ohio in a sympathetic light on Monday's Morning Edition, describing him as a "college professor" dressed in a "tweed jacket, button-down shirt, [and] thick round glasses," but failed to mention his other firing from a Ohio college for violating their sexual harassment policy. Temple-Reston also featured an expert who attributed Ohio's actions against the professor to "elevated levels of Islamophobia."

The correspondent, who donned a headscarf and posed as a Muslim woman as part of a sting operation against U.S. border control agents earlier in 2011, and co-wrote a book with ACLU executive director Anthony Romero back in 2007, first introduced the professor, Omar al-Omari, with her "tweed jacket" description and added that he is a "big coffee drinker." She then played two sound bites from the professor, who described how he had been singled out by trainers at a seminar for law enforcement officers who, according to the journalist, had "offered specific examples of what they said was Islamic radicalism in Ohio."

July 19, 2011, 7:19 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Julie Rovner spun the debate over a proposed mandate for private insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay as being between "women's health groups," which were not given an ideological label, and organizations such as the Family Research Council, which she clearly identified as "conservative." A representative from her example of a "women's health group," Planned Parenthood, labeled "unintended" pregnancies an "epidemic."

Anchor Steve Inskeep began the report with an admission about ObamaCare: "President Obama's health care overhaul law touches almost every aspect of health care, including birth control." Rovner first highlighted a woman from Tucson, Arizona who, despite having a "full-time job with health insurance [and] a husband," along with two kids, apparently couldn't afford the $25 a month copay for her birth control prescription. This led to her having a third child, and the woman declared that "while we're happy that she's here, it was not planned, and had we had some better finances, we probably could have made some better decisions."

July 15, 2011, 6:49 PM EDT

[Update, 11:10 am Monday July 18: Jenn Theis was identified on-screen by CBS as a "laid-off government worker." She wrote us to clarify that she was actually employed by a private business that is regulated by the Minnesota racing commission. Another guest from that segment, Chris Lapakko, wrote the author on Twitter on Saturday to call him a "dick;" see screen cap here.]

CBS turned to three Minnesota residents on Friday's Early Show for their take on the recent state government shutdown there, but their panel had a definite slant, as two out of three were state government workers, with one of them calling for "taxes on millionaires...to help the rest of us out." The third Minnesotan called on both sides to work it out. None of the three were clear conservatives.

Anchor Erica Hill interviewed Jenn Theis, Chris Lapakko, and Harley Reed during a segment 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, as they were sitting in a diner in Minneapolis. Hill first turned to Ms. Theis, who was identified on-screen as a "laid-off government worker," and asked her some softball questions about whether she was getting her job back and her feelings about the tentative resolution of the state budget impasse. The journalist also mentioned that the state employee has "gone through two weeks of no pay" and has a 13-month-old child.

July 14, 2011, 7:06 PM EDT

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds highlighted sob stories surrounding the current shutdown of the Minnesota state government, providing a possible template of how the mainstream media would cover a potential federal government shutdown if the debt ceiling issue isn't resolved by August 2.

Before getting to Reynolds's report, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell played a clip from his colleague Scott Pelley's interview of President Obama, where the Democrat stated that "some courage and some tough choices" were needed to resolve the stalemate over the federal budget. Mitchell then used the President's own phrase as he introduced the situation in Minnesota: "They did not make those tough choices in Minnesota. As a result, the state government shut down two weeks ago. Like Washington, it's a budget deadlock between a Democratic chief executive and a Republican-controlled legislature. Dean Reynolds shows us what it looks like when lawmakers can't figure out how to keep a state running."

July 13, 2011, 7:41 PM EDT

NPR's Sam Sanders gave some free publicity on Wednesday to a boycott organized online targeting Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. Sanders spotlighted the efforts of self-described "geek socialist" Chris Coltrane, who "wants people to vote against Murdoch" due to his supposed "unaccountable power." The writer also failed to include any quotes from supporters of the media tycoon.

The radio producer, who also recently worked for The Washington Post, began his NPR.org article, "Boycotting Murdoch Could Be Harder Than You Think," by briefly touching on the current News of the World scandal. He then noted that "Facebook users organized a handful of groups aimed at exacting revenge by boycotting Murdoch and his British newspaper publishing company, News International, a subsidiary of Murdoch's behemoth News Corp."

July 12, 2011, 6:40 PM EDT

NPR devoted over eight minutes on Monday's All Things Considered to the possible economic and social impacts of the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in New York State during two reports from correspondents Margot Adler and Tovia Smith. Adler highlighted the bridal stores and other vendors who were "upbeat" and positive about the development, while Smith focused on the lesbian demographic who are torn about the decision to hitch or not. Neither correspondent featured any opponents of same-sex "marriage" during their reports.

Host Michele Norris noted in her introduction for Adler's report that "New York City is gearing up to become the premier gay marriage destination" and how the journalist "visited with some very eager bridal shops and florists." Adler expanded on this by highlighting the efforts of NYC's tourism board: