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 21, 2010, 2:27 PM EDT
CNN's Casey Wian on Friday's Newsroom filed a one-sided report on an illegal immigrant activist who was arrested for participating in a sit-in at Senator John McCain's office on Monday. Wian omitted the liberal affiliation of the activist's group, oversimplified the DREAM Act (the cause of the activist), and neglected how it would open the path for illegals to receive in-state tuition.

Wian's interview of Lizbeth Mateo aired 10 minutes into the 11 am Eastern hour. An on-screen graphic mentioned Mateo's affiliation with an organization called Dream Team Los Angeles, but the correspondent didn't mention this explicitly during his report. The 25-year-old illegal immigrant, who came to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14, wore the T-shirt of another organization she leads called The DREAM is Coming.com. This organization's website has a donate page which links to a Causes.com page for the United We Dream Network, a coalition which includes liberal organizations such as the National Council for La Raza, the Center for American Progress, and the New World Foundation.
May 20, 2010, 6:42 PM EDT
Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgOn Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty blasted President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for their criticism of Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law, stating that the two were "whining" about the law. Cafferty singled out Calderon for having "a lot of nerve...complaining" about the Arizona law and labeled Congress's standing ovation for the Mexican leader "disgusting."

The commentator devoted his Cafferty File segment 13 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to slamming the two leaders' criticism of the Grand Canyon's State's newly-passed legislation. Cafferty wasted little time and targeted Calderon first for his criticism of the law on American soil: "Mexican President Felipe Calderon has a lot of nerve coming into this country and complaining about Arizona's immigration law, when all the state wants to do is protect itself against a flood of illegal immigrants from Calderon's country." He continued that "Calderon and President Obama are both whining about the Arizona law. Calderon, who also took the message to a joint meeting of Congress, is calling Arizona's law discriminatory."
May 19, 2010, 3:39 PM EDT
CNN contributor and Democrat extraordinaire Paul Begala's Bush Derangement Syndrome got the better of him during a panel discussion on Tuesday's AC360 (as Mary Matalin correctly pointed out later in the segment) when he compared Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal's lie about serving in Vietnam to Condoleezza Rice's 2004 gaffe where she called former President Bush "my husband" [audio available here].

Thirty-one minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour, anchor Anderson Cooper asked Begala about Blumenthal's statement earlier on Tuesday where he claimed he "misspoke" his false claim about serving during the Vietnam War: "I think only politicians use that word 'misspoke.' Other people call it a lie or just a mistake. But he says he accepts responsibility for misspeaking. What do you make of that?"

The CNN political contributor's answer started out in a reasonable manner, but soon descended into the bizarre, to use his own word. Cooper even expressed his utter surprise that Begala had somehow fit the Bush administration into his answer (the rest of the panel erupted in laughter at Cooper's retort, and obviously at Begala's expense).
May 18, 2010, 5:02 PM EDT
Campbell Brown, CNN Anchor; & U.S. Army Specialist Zachari Klawonn | NewsBusters.orgWhile viewers might have expected to see the latest on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or Tuesday's electoral primaries, CNN's Campbell Brown devoted the first two segments on her program on Monday to highlighting the apparent religious bigotry inside the U.S. Army - specifically, the upcoming lawsuit of a Muslim who alleges he was harassed and ridiculed due to his religion.

Brown played the interview of the soldier, Specialist Zachari Klawonn, during the first full segment, which began 2 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour. Klawonn was joined by his lawyer, Randal Mathis, as well as the commanding officer of his battalion, Colonel Jimmy Jenkins. As she introduced the segment, the anchor emphasized how the specialist is "a model soldier," "exactly what the Army says it is looking for," and how he "has an exemplary service record, and has earned the praise of both his commanders and his Army buddies."
May 12, 2010, 12:52 PM EDT
Kyra Phillips, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgOn Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips hinted that racists only come in a shade of white when she highlighted how "there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists." Phillips, commenting on the controversy over a recent blacks-only field trip at a Michigan school, later expressed her approval that the segregated field trip program was being suspended.

The CNN anchor gave a commentary on the controversy after playing a report from the network's Michigan affiliate on the issue 52 minutes into the 9 am Eastern hour. Phillips emphasized that "white kids need black role models, too. Why? Because, let's face it, there's still racism in this country- KKK members, white supremacists, and less radical racists raising kids, and the Internet with all kinds of racist poison out there. Kids might believe that stuff unless they're challenged not to- see it debunked right before their eyes." She continued that "role models come in all colors, all genders- all professions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. So I'm glad to hear that now that the school program in Michigan is being suspended, so school officials can tweak it and make it more inclusive. Good thing, because the segregated field trip might have violated Michigan law."
May 11, 2010, 6:55 PM EDT

Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgCNN's Jack Cafferty expressed skepticism of President Barack Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court during a commentary on Tuesday's Situation Room. After outlining Kagan's elite background, Cafferty noted that many thought that "someone who has spent so much time in elite academic settings is out-of-touch with average Americans."

The CNN commentator began by pointing out a promised made by the President in the past: "President Obama promised us all Supreme Court candidates who can relate to the real world and how the law affects ordinary Americans, but there are questions about whether Elena Kagan fits that description. Kagan comes from a world unknown to most Americans: from Manhattan's Upper West Side, to Princeton University, and on to Harvard Law School."

May 10, 2010, 1:53 PM EDT
George Stephanopoulos, ABC Anchor; & Greg Craig, Former Obama Administration White House Counsel | NewsBusters.orgOn Monday's GMA, ABC's George Stephanopoulos dealt with the Elena Kagan Supreme Court nomination by interviewing former Obama official Greg Craig, but no one from the conservative/Republican side as a guest. The anchor did raise potential threats to Kagan's nomination, but failed to follow through when Craig omitted a key detail about the nominee's anti-military record as dean of Harvard Law School.

Stephanopoulos led off the interview, which began 8 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour, with a softball question: "What's the single thing that impresses President Obama most about Kagan?" After the former White House counsel and former Clinton administration official played up Kagan's allegedly "extraordinary" amount of experience, the ABC anchor then asked, "What do you think is the single greatest threat to her nomination- to confirmation?"
May 7, 2010, 8:02 PM EDT
Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator | NewsBusters.orgOn Friday's Situation Room, CNN commentator Jack Cafferty returned to slamming President Obama and Congress on their inaction in enforcing the immigration laws of the United States. Cafferty also singled out Democratic Senator Charles Schumer for his "great chutzpah" in asking Arizona to delay the implementation of its new anti-illegal immigration law.

The CNN personality first stated during his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary that "the federal government...is trying to play catch-up with the State of Arizona when it comes to immigration reform. President Obama is calling on Congress to start work this year on comprehensive immigration reform legislation. The translation is, nothing will get done this year."

Cafferty continued by focusing his criticism on Obama specifically:
May 6, 2010, 5:36 PM EDT
Rick Sanchez, CNN Anchor; & Jessica Yellin, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgCNN and the Associated Press on Wednesday and Thursday touted how the tea party movement apparently didn't get motivate voters to turn out and "throw out the bums" in Republican primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio. Both outlets, however, omitted how senate candidate Rob Portman ran unopposed in his primary race in Ohio.

Anchor Rick Sanchez brought on CNN national political correspondent Jessica Yellin during a segment 21 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour of his Rick's List program on Wednesday. After noting how Democratic Representative David Obey, a "partisan brawler," was retiring, and how "Sarah Palin and tea party influences" might be "running some of these rascals out of office," Sanchez turned to Yellin and asked her about the results: "Those allegedly angry voters could have stormed the polls in droves and thrown out the bums. They would have all been there in big numbers, and they're going to get rid of the incumbents, get rid of the old hacks. So, did that happen?"
May 5, 2010, 4:25 PM EDT
Screen Capture of Graphic from the 5 May 2010 edition of Fox News Channel's Your World With Neil Cavuto | NewsBusters.orgJohn Christoffersen's article for the Associated Press on Tuesday night highlighted the life woes of Faisal Shahzad, the suspect in the failed Times Square bombing plot, citing how "his life seemed to unravel." Christoffersen also noted Shazad's "outspokenness about [former] President George W. Bush and the Iraq war."

The AP writer's article, titled "Times Square bombing suspect's life had unraveled," first detailed the suspect's past "enviable life:" how he had become a U.S. citizen, his wealthy Pakistani family, his MBA, his "well-educated wife and two kids" and the house he owned "in a middle-class Connecticut suburb." Christoffersen then continued with the recent difficulties he faced : "In the past couple of years, though, his life seemed to unravel: He left a job at a global marketing firm he'd held for three years, lost his home to foreclosure and moved into an apartment in an impoverished neighborhood in Bridgeport. And last weekend, authorities say, he drove an SUV loaded with explosives into Times Square intent on blowing it up."
May 4, 2010, 5:41 PM EDT
[Update, 6:06 pm Eastern: CNN ran a slanted commercial promoting Tuchman's report on Anderson Cooper 360 on Monday afternoon, touting how then-Cardinal Ratzinger apparently "resisted" Bishop Cummins's requests to expel the abuser from the priesthood. (see video at right).]

CNN's Gary Tuchman revisited a three-week-old story on a priest abuse case in California during a segment on Monday's AC360, and did his best to cast Pope Benedict XVI's handling of the priest's removal from priestly life (laicization), when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, in the worst light possible. Tuchman omitted key details about the case which clarify the then-cardinal's conduct in handling it.

Anchor Anderson Cooper gave a slanted introduction to the correspondent's report, which aired 46 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour: "Protecting predator priests instead of their prey- that is at the center of the growing sex scandal rocking the Catholic Church. And as we've been reporting, questions surrounded Pope Benedict XVI...Well, tonight, an accusation from survivors of abuse in California, that the future pope delayed the removal of a pedophile priest, and as you'll see if in our '360' investigation, the most damaging evidence may have been put in writing."

May 4, 2010, 4:40 PM EDT
Jim Acosta, CNN Correspondent; & Kiran Chetry, CNN Anchor | NewsBusters.orgOn Tuesday's American Morning, CNN's Jim Acosta sympathized with the suspect in the failed Times Square terror plot, Faisal Shahzad, citing how a guest claimed that his family's house in Connecticut went into foreclosure in 2009: "One would have to imagine that that brought a lot of pressure and a lot of heartache on that family" [see video here].

Acosta remarked on Shahzad's familial difficulty at the end of an interview of Brenda Thurman, one of the suspect's former neighbors, which began 47 minutes into the 8 am Eastern hour.  During the interview, the CNN personality, who was filling in for anchor John Roberts, asked Thurman about her foreclosure claim: "What sense did you get from the family? I mean, you just said a few minutes ago, I think- that it's pretty significant that this house that he apparently owned was foreclosed on in Shelton, Connecticut....Did you get a sense from the family as to- I mean, that must have been extremely difficult on them."
April 30, 2010, 6:51 PM EDT
On Friday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez revisited a story he did on Tuesday where he forwarded Islamic group CAIR's publicity stunt about a Virginia license plate that apparently contained racist messages. The Washington Post, as well, updated their story on Friday, pointing to the driver's apparent Facebook page, which contained white supremacist messages, but CNN was unable to confirm their report.

Both news agencies initially jumped on CAIR's admitted speculation about the pickup truck's license plate numbers, which they claimed represented a slogan from a deceased white supremacist leader, and numbers which translated as "Heil Hitler." Brigid Schulte of the Post broke the controversy in her April 22 story, which only presented the Islamic advocacy group's side of the story (possibly because of privacy rules in Virginia). Sanchez did the same in his Tuesday segment.

Schulte followed through with an article on Thursday, after the owner of the truck, Douglas Story, contacted The Washington Post to claim that the numbers actually represented his favorite NASCAR drivers, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who race under those respective numbers. Story was forced to get a new license plate after the Virginia DMV recalled his plate.
April 29, 2010, 4:17 PM EDT

Matthew Balan, NewsBusters Contributing Writer, screen cap from 19 April 2010 CNN's Rick's List | NewsBusters.orgTime magazine's website on Thursday named me to their tongue-in-cheek "Least Influential People of 2010" list, ranking me with other notables such as Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, MSNBC anchor David Shuster, and Clarence Thomas. Contributor Joel Stein stated that he was "short on morons" to put on his list, so he picked me after CNN anchor Rick Sanchez told him about our recent dispute.

The Time writer got to me after listing three-pages-worth of notables. I was immediately preceded by actor Joaquin Phoenix, "political extremist" Lyndon LaRouche, and Justice Thomas. Stein detailed that "Rick Sanchez told me to put him on because they got in a fight about whether Sanchez was serious or kidding about being surprised volcanoes exist in cold places like Iceland. I forgot to ask Rick what category he thinks Balan should go in, but I was short on morons so I put him here."

As you might remember, I put up an item on NewsBusters on April 15 about the CNN anchor's remark about "when you think of a volcano, you think of Hawaii and long words like that. You don't think of Iceland. You think it's too cold to have a volcano there." Four days later, Sanchez named me to "the very top" of his "List U Don't Want 2 Be On," and devoted more than four minutes to how I did a "hot job" on him for his "joke."

April 29, 2010, 1:49 PM EDT
On April 22 and 27, CNN and The Washington Post both helped forward Islamic advocacy group CAIR's publicity stunt which demeaned an anonymous Virginia motorist as a racist. The Post finally found the driver on Thursday – and apparently, both news outlets jumped the gun, as the owner claimed that the numbers on his license plate were a tribute to his favorite NASCAR drivers, not secret code for “Heil Hitler.”

Anchor Rick Sanchez devoted a brief on his Rick's List program on Tuesday to presenting CAIR's side of the story on the controversy. After showing a picture of the pickup truck and the plate in question, as well as the anti-Islamic message on the truck's tailgate, Sanchez explained that "CAIR...also noticed the vanity license plate. It reads '14CV88.' CAIR says that is a coded hate message. We're told the number eight is for the eighth letter in the alphabet, 'H.' Two eights equals 'H.H.' for 'Heil Hitler.' Fourteen represents imprisoned white supremacist David Lane's motto about securing the future for white children." The anchor didn’t mention the owner’s side of the story.

Did anyone at CNN or the Washington Post consider the possibility that the story was underbaked until they communicated with the driver? Did they consider someone might find the driver and his truck and be spurred to angry talk and/or violence based on the media’s incomplete accounts? The Washington Post, at least, printed an update on Thursday to their initial article from the 22nd (the ball, obviously, is also in Sanchez's court now, as well, especially since he went after NewsBusters for not calling him before we took the "cheap shot" at him). The Post's Brigid Schulte returned to the scene of her incomplete story and provided the driver’s perspective in her Thursday article, "Virginia driver denies license plate had coded racist message."
April 28, 2010, 6:39 PM EDT
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN Correspondent; & PFC Jose Medina, US Army | NewsBusters.orgCNN and CNN.com highlighted opposition to Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law on Monday and Wednesday by focusing on sob stories from a soldier of Latino decent whose family entered the U.S. illegally when he was two, and from Latino businesses apparently "already feeling the effects" of the law.

Correspondent Thelma Gutierrez's interview of Private First Class Jose Medina first aired during the 6 am Eastern hour of Monday's American Morning program. Anchor Kiran Chetry noted that "Thousands of people staged a peaceful protest outside the state capitol in Phoenix....An immigrant soldier [Medina] about to ship out to the war zone was among yesterday's [April 25] protesters." Gutierrez continued that the soldier "sat down with us to talk about his feelings and fears over this new immigration law in Arizona that could affect his family."

During the interview, PFC Medina recounted that when he first entered the military, people who ask him where he was from: "I was proud to say I'm from the great state of Arizona, because I was raised here, I grew up here. I don't know if I can say that so proudly. I don't know if I want to live here any more." The CNN correspondent highlighted how the passage of Arizona's SB1070 was "personal" for the soldier, and asked him slanted questions about the legislation.
April 27, 2010, 7:42 PM EDT
On Tuesday's Rick List, CNN's Rick Sanchez unquestioningly forwarded Islamic advocacy group CAIR's admitted speculation about a Virginia license plate containing a supposed coded message of white supremacy/neo-Naziism, which they found on a pickup truck that also had an anti-Islamic message on it [audio clip available here].

Sanchez devoted a brief to the controversy over the Virginia license plate 18 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour. Earlier in the hour, the CNN anchor gave a teaser on the issue, summarizing CAIR's take as their publicist might: "Take a look at this: what's wrong with that license plate? Opponents say it has a message of nothing but bigotry and hate. I will take you through it. There's more there than meets the eye." He showed a picture of the pickup truck in question, which had a large Confederate flag on the back window of the cab and the message "Everything I ever needed to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11" on the tailgate.
April 26, 2010, 5:59 PM EDT
Christopher Hitchens, from HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher show | NewsBusters.orgNewsweek continued its campaign against the Catholic Church on Friday by letting one of the leading atheist (not to leave out anti-Catholic) voices internationally, Christopher Hitchens, spout half-truths and smears about Pope Benedict XVI and the Church. Most egregiously, Hitchens inaccurately stated that Vatican City "was created by Benito Mussolini," thus trying to tie Catholicism to fascism.

Almost a week before bringing in Hitchens, an infrequent contributor to their publication, Newsweek, through its "On Faith" blog, hosted a screed from author Donna Freitas, a "Stubborn Catholic" according to her own label, where she gushed his and Richard Dawkins's quest to arrest the Pope when he visits the UK later this year. As MRC's Tim Graham pointed out, the blog regularly "shows not respect for the Catholic faith, but maligns its leaders as murderous thugs and cult leaders." More prominently, Newsweek's religion editor, Lisa Miller, has raged against the U.S. Catholic bishops for daring to object to ObamaCare's abortion-friendly architecture, defended same-sex "marriage," and called for the ordination of women in recent weeks.

This paved the way for Hitchens, who began by poking fun of those objecting to his "arrest the Pope" publicity stunt with Dawkins:
April 23, 2010, 6:24 PM EDT
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN Correspondent; & Isabel Garcia, Coalicion de Derechos Humanos | NewsBusters.orgOn Friday's Situation Room, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux omitted the pro-illegal immigration activism of guest Isabel Garcia. Malveaux only referenced how her guest was "legal defender of Pima County, Arizona" and that she was "also co-chair of a Tucson-based human rights group." She also omitted how Garcia participated in the beating and decapitation of a pinata effigy of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The CNN correspondent, filling-in for anchor Wolf Blitzer, brought on the legal defender five minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour to discuss how Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had signed a strong anti-illegal immigration bill into law less than an hour earlier. After introducing Garcia without mentioning the name of her organization,  ("The Human Rights Coalition," whose website features a logo incorporating the southwestern states into Mexico; a CNN graphic called it the "Coalition for Human Rights"), Malveaux first asked her, "The governor...said...she's not going to tolerate racial profiling....She's not going to let police officers pull somebody over because [of] the color of their skin or how they look. Do you believe the governor?"
April 21, 2010, 5:21 PM EDT
Kyra Phillips, CNN Anchor; & Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry | NewsBusters.orgDuring a segment on Wednesday's Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips brought back two out of three heterodox Christians she had on almost a month earlier, both of whom endorse radical leftist "reforms" inside the Catholic Church such as the acceptance of homosexual behavior. Again, Phillips didn't bring on any guests who agree with the Church's teachings and practices.

The CNN anchor led the 9 am Eastern hour with "a new promise from the Pope- that's it, I've had enough. Just a few days ago, he teared up while talking to abuse victims in Malta, told them he'd do something about it. Pope Benedict is going public, telling a crowd in St. Peter's Square that the Vatican is going to start taking action against pedophile priests." She then introduced her guests, Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, and Dan Bartley, president of Voice of the Faithful.

As I noted in my March 26 NewsBusters item on their previous appearance on CNN, DeBernardo's organization endorses same-sex "marriage," while Voice of the Faithful has pushed for end to priestly celibacy and endorsed liberal dissenting theologians such as Rev. Charles Curran. The third guest from the earlier segment, Reverend Serene Jones of the Union Theological Seminary, didn't appear this time.