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
May 5, 2011, 7:21 PM EDT

NPR's Ari Shapiro emphasized the possible political benefits for President Obama on Thursday's Morning Edition in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden. Shapiro lined up sound bites from three pundits who touted the "big moment" for the "bold" President and how it amounted to a  "fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama."

Midway through his report, the correspondent introduced a clip from former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol: "He [Shesol] believes this week could mark a fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama." The Clinton alum claimed that it would be "very hard after this moment to suggest that President Obama doesn't have the guts to make tough calls, to make bold and risky calls...and then to go ahead because he knows it to be the right thing to do."

May 3, 2011, 7:56 PM EDT

On Monday and Tuesday, NPR played up how Osama Bin Laden's death might translate into a political win for President Obama. Mara Liasson trumpeted the "huge victory" for the President and spotlighted a scholar who gushed how Obama now looked "strong and competent and decisive." Cokie Roberts boasted how the military operation was a "score" for the Democrat and that it was a "game changer politically."

At the beginning of her report which lead Tuesday's Morning Edition, Liasson gushed that "every president benefits from moments of national unity, but none so much as Barack Obama, who ran for office promising to bridge partisan divides." Later, the journalist noted that, with the raid against Bin Laden, "he [Obama] made good on his repeated promise to act unilaterally if he had actionable intelligence."

May 2, 2011, 7:04 PM EDT

Several media outlets on Sunday did their best to cast doubt on the legacy of Pope John Paul II as the Catholic Church beatified the late pontiff. NPR highlighted how the pope apparently "alienated many Catholics who began leaving the church in droves." CNN brought on a liberal theologian who claimed that John Paul II "led us backwards rather than forward." NBC played up the "avalanche of claims of sexual abuse by priests" during his papacy.

On Sunday's All Things Considered, Sylvia Poggioli, NPR's Rome-based senior European correspondent, turned to "investigative journalist" Jason Berry midway through her report, who blasted John Paul on his handling of the priestly sex abuse issue: "Someone who was so fearless in his confrontation with the communist empire, I for one do not understand how he could not have engaged in the same fearless introspection about the church internal." More than 3 years earlier, Berry, with the assistance of the Los Angeles Times, falsely claimed in a November 2007 opinion piece that the American bishops "had identified about 4,400 abusive U.S. priests," when that figure is actually the number of priests who faced allegations.

April 29, 2011, 1:59 PM EDT

NPR's Ari Shapiro leaned towards supporters of the Obama administration's new "voluntary principles" to limit junk food ads to kids on Thursday's All Things Considered. Shapiro played three sound bites from backers, versus only one from a critic who blasted the proposal: "If the federal government decided to issue voluntary guidelines about what newsmen should say to avoid inflaming the public, I think you guys would be pretty upset."

Host Melissa Block did acknowledge opponents' concerns about the proposed guidelines in her introduction for the correspondent's report: "The Obama administration wants to limit the amount of advertising kids see for junk food. It's part of a broader push to improve child nutrition, and, as NPR's Ari Shapiro reports, it's part of what critics see as a growing nanny state."

April 28, 2011, 1:51 PM EDT

On Wednesday's All Things Considered, NPR's David Folkenflik erroneously claimed that NBC's Meredith Vieira "notably failed to contradict Donald Trump or others casting doubt on where Mr. Obama was born. Vieira...acknowledged those remarks passively." In reality, the Today show challenged the billionaire about the birth certificate issue, twice asking, "Do you believe he's [Obama's] lying?" [audio clips available here]

The media correspondent began his report by noting how "there comes a moment in almost every American presidency when the commander-in-chief turns media-critic-in-chief." After playing two clips from President Obama's press conference earlier in the day regarding the release of his birth certificate, he continued, "Mr. Obama said that for too long, the nation has been distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers. Notice, however, the President's words didn't criticize the carnival barker. He criticized those who get distracted, like the press corps sitting in front of him."

[View video clips from Vieira's April 7, 2011 interview of Trump below]

April 27, 2011, 5:51 PM EDT

CBS's Early Show on Wednesday played up how opponents of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan shouted down GOP representatives at recent town hall meetings, but downplayed them as "less than friendly," and marveled at their apparently "poignant" questions. The network also omitted how liberal groups targeted these meetings, and trumpeted the "nasty national shouting match" at health care town hall meetings in 2009.

News anchor Jeff Glor noted how "House Republicans are back home for the first time since passing an aggressive deficit cutting plan, including the architect of that plan, Congressman Paul Ryan." Glor used the "less than friendly" label immediately before playing a clip of an unidentified protester shouting, "Ryan, stop lying!" outside a town hall meeting held by the Republican in Wisconsin, and another of a woman who directly accused him of "screwing our generation and the next generation."

April 26, 2011, 5:28 PM EDT

NPR's Renee Montagne apparently didn't take an alleged death threat seriously, as she practically chuckled during a report on Friday's Morning Edition about anti-Koch brothers protesters mistakenly calling a Des Moines, Iowa business named Koch Brothers office supplies.

Substitute co-host Mary Louise Kelly, noted that "Charles and David Koch are the billionaire owners of a giant industrial conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas. They've poured millions into conservative and anti-union causes. People who don't like their politics have sent many critical e-mails and letters, even death threats, to Dutch Koch."

April 21, 2011, 6:24 PM EDT

On Thursday's All Things Considered, NPR's Robert Siegel used violent imagery to underline the supposed extreme nature of Arizona's SB 1070 law targeting illegal immigration: "It has been of one year since the state legislature dropped a bomb into the national debate over immigration."

Siegel led the introduction for correspondent Ted Robbins's report on the controversial law with his explosive phrase. He continued that "the get-tough bill, known as SB 1070, was later signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer." After playing a clip from Governor Brewer, the host noted that "some of SB 1070's key components are on hold, but supporters call it a success, and opponents say it has been a disaster for Arizona's image and economy. Either way, NPR's Ted Robbins says it has changed the state."

April 20, 2011, 3:54 PM EDT

Potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose controversial stance on President Obama's birth certificate has made waves in the mainstream media during the past weeks, for one reason or another, has avoided interviews on CBS's morning and evening news programs so far in 2011. In fact, Trump hasn't done an interview on either The Early Show or CBS Evening News in over two years.

April 18, 2011, 5:56 PM EDT

CBS's Jan Crawford spotlighted the Tea Party movement on Monday's Early Show, but also played up how it might present a "challenge" for potential Republican presidential candidates due its apparent unpopularity: "Recent polls show 47% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement. So candidates looking for Tea Party votes have to be careful not to alienate moderates."

Midway through her report, after noting the would-be GOP presidential candidates, such as Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump, who showed up at some of the weekend rallies, the correspondent turned to possible downside that these politicians might face in appealing to the Tea Party, playing up a result from a recent CNN/Opinion Dynamics poll:

April 15, 2011, 6:06 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Tovia Smith promoted a homosexual activist's campaign protesting the inability of same-sex couples to file joint federal tax returns. Smith played sound bites from the founder of the campaign, as well as two other supporters of same-sex "marriage," but omitted any from opponents. NPR also highlighted the tax-related "complications" of a specific same-sex couple on Friday's Morning Edition.

Host Renee Montagne introduced Smith's report by noting how "some same-sex married couples are planning a protest this Tax Day. They object to the federal law requiring them to check the 'single' box on their federal tax returns....In defiance of that law, known as DOMA, some couples are checking the married box on their federal returns."

April 13, 2011, 4:09 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Early Show, CBS's Bill Plante forwarded the liberal impression that the proposed budget compromise includes "big spending cuts," despite only reducing $38.5 billion from trillions in spending. Host Erica Hill also urged Republican Congressman Eric Cantor for "a little give and take" in the budget negotiations, hinting that taxes needed to be raised to deal with the debt.

Plante's report on President Obama's upcoming speech on reducing the debt led the 7 am Eastern hour. Near the end of the segment, the correspondent touted how "the President's goal today is to appear as the voice of reason, and to set the stage for the next big debate, which is going to be over raising the federal debt limit, something the Republicans say they won't vote for unless there are more big spending cuts."

April 12, 2011, 10:58 AM EDT

Eleanor Beardsley slanted towards opponents of France's ban on the niqab, or Islamic face veil, on two NPR programs on Monday. Beardsley played several sound bites from French Muslims during her Morning Edition report who forwarded the notion that the law contributes to an "anti-Muslim climate" in the country, and agreed with a guest on Tell Me More who labeled the ban "sinister."

The correspondent, who is based in France, led her report on Morning Edition with a clip from the imam of a mosque in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris, who stated, "You know there is an Islamophobic climate right now and the police don't like to see us praying in the streets." She also turned to another Muslim man who singled out the niqab ban for contributing to this apparent climate:

April 11, 2011, 6:41 PM EDT

NPR's Cokie Roberts hinted congressional Republicans were going to resort to extreme tactics regarding the debt ceiling on Monday's Morning Edition. Roberts noted the "rough votes" on the horizon in Congress, specifying the "debt ceiling that has to be increased, where Republicans have promised Armageddon."

Host Renee Montagne brought on the journalist to talk mainly about the recent proposed agreement on the budget between the Democrats and Republicans. Near the end of the segment, however, Montagne raised the other budget-related battles that are expected later in the year. Roberts dropped the biblical reference in her answer:

April 8, 2011, 3:50 PM EDT

On Friday's Early Show, CBS's Betty Nguyen used the Statue of Liberty as a live backdrop to play up how "visitors would miss out on the Smithsonian and its 19 museums...even the National Zoo" if the federal budget impasse leads to a government shutdown. Nguyen also highlighted that the "Cherry Blossom Festival...[is] set to wrap up this weekend, but the parade may not march on if the government shuts down."

Fill-in anchor Rebecca Jarvis introduced the correspondent's report, which ran 10 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, by outlining that the cost of a shutdown might be $8 billion a week "because there are so many government employees who won't be working, agencies that will shut down, and there are costs to restarting them, including our country's national parks, which is where we find...Betty Nguyen at Liberty State Park, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, with more on the expected impact at those locations."

April 7, 2011, 7:18 PM EDT

NPR's Ari Shapiro slanted towards President Obama and two of his Democratic allies in Congress on Thursday's Morning Edition on the continuing battle over the federal budget, playing seven sound bites from them versus only three from Republican House Speaker John Boehner.

Shapiro highlighted the late night negotiations over the budget on Wednesday during his report, playing three clips from the President and one from Senator Harry Reid before even getting to his first one from Speaker Boehner:

April 6, 2011, 7:51 PM EDT

On Tuesday's All Things Considered, NPR's Melissa Block grilled Congressman Joe Walsh, a newly-elected member of the House Tea Party Caucus, on the impasse over the federal budget. Block questioned Rep. Walsh if there was any "middle ground" on the issue, and pressed him with the Democratic caucus's label that the Republicans' budget proposals are "out of whack and unreasonable."

The host led her interview of the Illinois Republican by noting how there was "still no deal. House Republicans holding out for $61 billion in cuts," and then asked, "Is there any middle ground for you?" After Rep. Walsh gave his initial answer, she followed up with the Democrats' talking point: "Democrats, though, say that it's the Republicans who've been intransigent, that the numbers are just out of whack and unreasonable, that you are the side that's not compromising here."

Block forwarded this label of the congressman and his GOP colleagues in her third question, using one of his own quotes to accent her point: "You said in an interview with Time magazine, I came here- meaning to Washington- ready to go to war. The people didn't send me here to compromise. It sounds like you are just as intransigent as you're accusing the Democrats of being."

April 5, 2011, 6:55 PM EDT

NPR's Dina Temple-Raston touted Attorney General Eric Holder's reluctance to give detainees at Guantanamo Bay military trials during a segment on Monday's All Things Considered. Temple-Raston and host Michele Norris only featured sound bites from the Justice Department head, omitting clips from supporters of the military tribunals.

Norris began by noting the Obama administration's "major reversal" in their decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other 9/11 suspects in military court. After playing a clip from Attorney General Holder's recent press conference, where he announced the move, the host turned to the correspondent and recounted how " in late 2009...Holder announced that these five conspirators will be tried in New York City in a civilian trial. So today's decision officially reverses that."

Temple-Raston, who conducted a sting operation against U.S. border agents earlier in 2011 by wearing a headscarf and posing as Muslim woman, mainly acted as stenographer for the attorney general, though she did acknowledge the mismanagement of the rollout for the civilian trials plan:

April 4, 2011, 6:54 PM EDT

On Monday's Morning Edition, NPR's David Schaper slanted towards a professor and his allies in academia who object to a recent open records request into his e-mails from the Wisconsin GOP, playing five sound bites from them versus only two from a non-Republican source who thought their concerns were overblown. One of the professor's allies labeled the request a "contemporary version of McCarthyism."

Host Renee Montagne introduced Schaper's report by putting the issue in the context of the continuing debate over state employees' collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin:

April 2, 2011, 4:06 PM EDT

NPR's Julie Rovner lined up proponents of the federal Title X program on Friday's Morning Edition, devoting most of her four-minute report to three employees at a Washington, DC health care clinic who all pushed for continuing the funding of the subsidy for contraceptives. Rovner left only 30 seconds for a conservative advocate of defunding the program.

During the bulk of her report, the correspondent featured Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo Clinic in Washington, DC. She stated that it is locate in a "heavily Hispanic neighborhood" and accented this by playing a clip of one of the clinic's doctors, Andrea Anderson, speaking in Spanish with a patient. Dr. Anderson's female patient had a "sinus problem," according to Rovner, but continued by noting that the "family physician" also asked the patient "if she's happy with the birth control method she's using. Thanks to the Title X program, Unity has available a wide array of contraceptive options....Anderson says one of her favorite things about the family planning program is the way it lets her integrate contraceptive choices into her everyday practice."