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
October 31, 2008, 9:22 PM EDT

Just as he did in two earlier interviews with Barack Obama when he held up magazine covers and asked Obama to glow in the moment, in an excerpt from this week's session with Obama aired on Friday's NBC Nightly News, Williams cued up Obama with another visual image -- this time holding up a photograph of Obama in sandals in Honolulu when he went for a walk after visiting his dying grandmother -- to empathize: “The human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?” Back in January, Williams held up a Newsweek with Obama on the cover and wondered: “How does this feel?” In May, he held up a Time magazine cover with Obama's picture and presented it to him: “Have you yet held this in your hands?”

Showing Obama the picture of him walking in a Honolulu neighborhood, Williams pondered: 

I want to ask you about -- it's a press-related question. This picture was so striking to me. And according to the press pool traveling with you, you asked to just take a walk and be alone. You're visiting your grandmother. What may, by all accounts be the last time you see her. How do you react to this, I guess it's part of the contract you make when you run in such an extended campaign, but, the human in you, and the husband and father and grandson must want to just bust out sometimes, or disappear, if you can't go for a walk like that?
October 31, 2008, 1:43 AM EDT

At least on the CBS Evening News. On Thursday's newscast, reporter Chip Reid explained that John McCain campaigned in northern Ohio towns Reid described as “conservative areas” while CBS colleague Dean Reynolds, with Barack Obama in Sarasota, Florida, marveled at how he's “not just concentrating on Republican states now. He's stumping in their most conservative strongholds.”

October 30, 2008, 9:40 PM EDT

A week after NBC's Brian Williams spent his time with John McCain and Sarah Palin in Ohio discrediting the accuracy of their claims and pushing for assurance their campaign wouldn't mention Jeremiah Wright, Williams on Thursday night in Florida returned to the same cozy approach with Barack Obama, though without the memories of mom, he employed in earlier interviews with the Democratic candidate. After declaring Obama's campaign is “fueled by the urgent fight to fix the economy,” Williams cited fresh bad economic news before cuing up Obama: “How do you tailor your message to this crowd? Is there more pain before there's a gain?”

His other three questions in the first excerpt run on Thursday's NBC Nightly News (with more to come Friday night) also didn't challenge any of Obama's claims or attacks, nor raise any detracting information: “Why did it take so long for Bill Clinton to join you for a rally like the one we saw here in Florida last night?” Then two questions which seemed to presume Obama will soon take office: “Does America need American car companies? Is three too many? Two too few? And on top of the billions already spent, what's it worth to you, if the answer is yes?” And lastly, a long question about litmus tests for Supreme Court nominees and if you don't apply one “how then do you also avoid surprises?”

October 29, 2008, 9:43 PM EDT

Chris Matthews came aboard the shortened Countdown after MSNBC, unlike FNC and CNN, aired the Obama campaign's half-hour infomercial on Wednesday night, and oozed over how “it was romance.

October 29, 2008, 8:57 PM EDT

Suggesting Brian Williams and the producers of NBC Nightly News assume a significant portion of their viewership is pretty dumb, the newscast began a story about how, as Williams fretted, “number of rumors and myths and threats that might keep some people away from the polls this year,” by highlighting a flyer, riddled with glaring misspellings and non-words, which made a false announcement about the date to vote. Rehema Ellis, who asserted voter “anxiety is valid,” intoned: “In Virginia, an official-looking flier is on the Internet saying, 'Republicans vote on November 4th and Democrats on November 5th.'” Ellis then decided she had to explain the obvious: “Not true. Tuesday, November 4th, is election day for everyone.”

For expert comment, Ellis turned to Jonah Goldman of Election Protection, a group partnered with a who's who of left-wing groups, including NBC News and MSNBC. (After her story, Williams plugged Election Protection to answer view concerns about “voting problems or problems at the polls.”) Goldman worried: “New voters aren't as familiar with the way that elections run, and because of that, they're more vulnerable to these types of misinformation.” Amongst the “rumors and outright misinformation aimed at holding down voter turnout” which Ellis proceeded to fact check: “Outstanding parking tickets make you ineligible to vote” and: “Can voters dealing with home foreclosure lose the right to vote?”

October 29, 2008, 1:08 AM EDT

In a Tuesday night look at the battle for Pennsylvania, the CBS Evening News chose to check how, anchor Katie Couric reported, voters in the Keystone state “are doing some last-minute soul-searching.” The story showcased husband and wife “registered Republicans” who are upset by what reporter Jeff Glor characterized as McCain's “overwhelmingly negative” TV ads. The husband, who conceded he'll be voting for Obama, declared: “I just don't think it's necessary to be that ugly and that nasty against the opponent.” His wife concurred: “I think it actually hurts their cause rather than helps it when they're negative like that. At least for me it does.” She described herself as “in the middle, but I'm leaning slightly towards McCain.”

Glor began with how the Allentown-area couple, “Rick, 50, and Jane, 45, are registered Republicans, though Rick especially believes he has reason to cross party lines.” He explained: “In 2006 and again just this year, I've been laid off from two different jobs, and I look at it, and it's all happened under the current party.”

October 28, 2008, 3:04 AM EDT

An emerging preview of the post-election media spin that McCain lost because he moved too far to “the right,” with his pick of Sarah Palin as the smoking gun? On Monday night's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, now a political analyst for CNN, contended McCain is “in the difficulty he's in” because “he's really become a captive of the right wing of his party and its agenda and it shows, particularly through the pick of Sarah Palin.” Bernstein's supposition came three days after Bob Schieffer of CBS News blamed McCain's situation on how, after the primaries, “instead of moving to the center, he moved to the right. He put Sarah Palin on the ticket which pleased the right but...”

Bernstein, formerly with the Washington Post and Time magazine, lamented on the Monday night/Tuesday morning CBS show: “I think he's abandoned the principles of his campaign in 2000 and that's probably why he's in the difficulty he's in.” He elaborated:

The campaign of 2000 was built about being a really independent-spirited American politician and now he's really become a captive of the right wing of his party and its agenda and it shows, particularly through the pick of Sarah Palin.
October 27, 2008, 9:57 PM EDT

YouTube postings over the weekend divulged a 2001 radio interview in which Barack Obama regretted that “the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society,” but though John McCain on Monday cited this new evidence of Obama's long-standing advocacy of redistributing wealth, the CBS Evening News offered nothing more than a McCain soundbite surrounded by reporter Chip Reid discrediting the criticism as he relayed the Obama campaign's charge McCain had made a “false, desperate attack” and Reid bemoaned: “If the events of today are any guide, this is a campaign that is taking an increasingly negative tone in the last week.”

In contrast, the NBC Nightly News at least ran a short audio clip of Obama from 2001: “The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth.” ABC's World News, in a piece by Ron Claiborne, aired a much longer audio soundbite from Obama:

One of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.
October 26, 2008, 9:04 PM EDT

In an otherwise pretty friendly 60 Minutes profile of T. Boone Pickens and his “Pickens Plan” to reduce dependence on foreign oil, Charlie Rose, on loan from PBS, couldn't resist repeating the usual derogatory media descriptions and canards about the 2004 “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” ads against John Kerry, which Pickens helped fund, as “infamous,” “widely criticized” and “representative of dirty politics, smear politics, character assassination.” After video of Pickens taking his case to Democrats at their convention in Denver, Rose highlighted:

It didn't take long for the new non-partisan Boone Pickens to have a visibly uncomfortable encounter with his partisan past: Senator John Kerry, whose presidential campaign Pickens helped destroy four years ago when he gave money for the infamous and widely criticized “Swift Boat” ads that attacked the Senator's service in Vietnam and his later testimony before Congress.

Rose pressed Pickens about any regrets: “You spent $3 million funding an advertising campaign that, in some people’s mind, was representative of dirty politics, smear politics, character assassination, all of that. At this stage, do you have any reservations, do you have any-?” Pickens jumped in with an emphatic “none” and told Rose he'd do it over again.

October 26, 2008, 2:30 PM EDT

In a Fox News Sunday panel segment on the media's pro-Obama and anti-McCain bias, Juan Williams revealed journalists were in such a swoon for Barack Obama that during the primaries “what you saw was that the executive editors and the top people at the networks were all rushing to Obama events, bringing their children, celebrating it, saying they were, there's this part of history.” Though Williams, a former Washington Post reporter who is now a

October 25, 2008, 6:55 PM EDT

Just after CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric noted how there is “some finger-pointing already going on” in the McCain-Palin campaign, CBS's Bob Schieffer did a little finger-pointing of his own as he blamed John McCain's presumed impending loss on his supposed move “to the right.” Schieffer observed Friday night that “with this continuing bad economic news, I think it's going to be very hard for any Republican, even one who says he's a maverick, like John McCain.” The host of Face the Nation then offered his take on “what's going to make it even harder,” that after the primaries:

Instead of moving to the center, he moved to the right. He put Sarah Palin on the ticket which pleased the right but, as we're now seeing in these polls, her appeal does not go much beyond that.

How much of a move “to the right” was it for McCain to refuse to raise Jeremiah Wright's rants? Or to stand by his liberal position on global warming and other policies where he's gone left against the majority on the GOP? You could just as well argue that picking Palin and hitting Obama on taxes are what has given McCain any hope.

October 25, 2008, 1:44 AM EDT

Actor Tim Robbins warned fellow left-wingers watching, and in the audience, of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday night that McCain operatives/Republicans will “try to disenfranchise as many voters” as possible by “doing a lot of dirty tricks” and so:

I am very cautious right now. I don't think this thing is over. I do think there is a chance of another stolen election, so don't get too confident, folks. Get out and vote because this could be very close.

When fellow panelist Matthew Dowd, the ex-Bush adviser turned ABC News analyst, predicted an Obama victory by 8 to 10 points, Robbins reiterated: “Don't take anything for granted, folks.”

October 24, 2008, 9:17 PM EDT

Friday's NBC Nightly News carried the third excerpt from Brian Williams' time Wednesday with John McCain and Sarah Palin and, unlike his challenging approach to basic McCain-Palin premises in segments aired Wednesday and Thursday night, Williams kept it light as he asked how she's “liking” the campaign trail, wondered, when she cited “lies” about her, if there's “anything you want to correct the record on?” and raised “the inevitable question about her future in politics?” But he made up for the soft take in advance by prefacing the interview excerpt with a recitation of her “tough week.” Though it was more of a “tough week” for Palin through the media's prism than reality, Williams justified the “tough week” description:

She had told a student questioner the Vice President was quote “in charge” of the U.S. Senate. Then came the story about the RNC ponying up $150,000 for a new high-end wardrobe and other personal items, damaging to the self-described hockey mom.

But the more damaging numbers, the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing 55 percent of respondents now believe Palin is not qualified to be President. Then just today Palin and her husband were placed under oath for depositions in the so-called Trooper-gate investigation in Alaska.

October 23, 2008, 9:22 PM EDT

In the second excerpt of his interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC's Brian Williams continued, for the second night, to challenge the premises of the McCain-Palin campaign as he pushed back at describing William Ayers as a “domestic terrorist” since “it give it a vaguely post-9/11 hint” by associating terrorist with “domestic crimes,” so “is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist?” Instead of prodding McCain about why he hasn't cited Jeremiah Wright when Obama had a long-time close relationship with the fount of anti-American and racial rants, Williams sought assurance Wright will remain off the table: “Are you going to keep your promise not to involve Reverend Wright in the campaign?”

Williams next snidely demanded to learn from Palin “what is an elite? Who is a member of the elite?” before pressing her: “Governor, are you a feminist?” (Last month, CBS's Katie Couric posed the same question: “Do you consider yourself a feminist?”)

Setting up the interview excerpt on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, Williams highlighted how “Sarah Palin's day today was spent prepping for tomorrow when Sarah and Todd Palin will be deposed under oath in that so-called Trooper-gate case” and: “The deposition, along with yesterday's revelation of that new $150,000 wardrobe and her struggle earlier this week to define the job of Vice President, have all brought a lot of unwelcome attention to the Palin side of the campaign.”

October 23, 2008, 5:23 PM EDT

“Voters overwhelmingly believe that the media wants Barack Obama to win the presidential election,” a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press survey released Wednesday discovered. Specifically: “By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4.

October 23, 2008, 2:29 AM EDT

Brian Williams, who was enamored with Barack Obama in two interviews this year in which he celebrated the liberal Democrat's achievements, in a Wednesday interview with the Republican ticket challenged the premises of their campaign. Recalling the woman in an audience who claimed Obama is Arab, Williams channeled left-wing efforts to discredit McCain: “Did this campaign get out of your control?”

October 22, 2008, 9:55 PM EDT

Consistency on the CBS Evening News: Wednesday night Dean Reynolds concluded his piece on Barack Obama's campaign day by asserting “McCain's campaign tactics...have drawn criticism even from some Republicans” and next Chip Reid ended his story on John McCain's day on the trail by highlighting how “Gordon Smith of Oregon,” otherwise unidentified, “today became the fourth Republican to urge John McCain to stop those robo-calls to people's homes linking Barack Obama with William Ayers” -- all before a full report on how Sarah “Palin's carefully cultivated Joe Six Pack image is now bumping up against a six-figure wardrobe.”

Reynolds helpfully previewed some additional CBS News bias in advance as he reported “this afternoon, the Early Show's Harry Smith asked Obama about McCain's campaign tactics that have drawn criticism even from some Republicans,” and after a clip of Obama declaring he would never make unfair attacks on his opponents, Reynolds concluded: “Obama says he understands that politics is a rough business, but he insisted there is no equivalence between his campaign tactics and John McCain's.”

Anchor Katie Couric soon announced: “Sarah Palin may think the world of Joe the Plumber, too, but that doesn't mean she intends to dress like him. In fact, the Republican Party has spent $150,000 on Governor Palin's wardrobe, something that may not square with her image as a down-to-earth every woman.” The story from reporter Nancy Cordes ended with another media-generated controversy: 

October 21, 2008, 10:31 PM EDT

After seven weeks of the news media deriding Sarah Palin, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night seemed to delight in emphasizing how, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which led the NBC Nightly News, Palin is hurting McCain as Obama surges ahead. And Williams touted Colin Powell's Sunday endorsement of Barack Obama as “the shot heard 'round the world.” After reciting how the survey of registered voters put Obama up by ten points, 52 to 42 percent, Williams asserted: “Perhaps more dangerous for the GOP ticket, most of those polled do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, by a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent.”

However, take a look at the PDF of the full poll, which did not pose the same question about Obama, and you learn that despite the media's pounding the public perception of her qualifications has been remarkably consistent across three NBC/WSJ surveys (see question 29d) with more considering her unqualified than qualified not anything new: 40 percent called her “qualified” in the September 19-22 poll, 41 percent replied qualified in the poll conducted October 4-5 and she returned to 40 percent in this new survey. Meanwhile, “not qualified” grew only slightly, from 49 to 50 to the current 55 percent which Williams treated as big news.

October 21, 2008, 2:20 AM EDT

Not that it's any big surprise given his well-established liberal views and contempt for conservative policies, but in what is an unusually blatant abandonment of basic journalistic pretenses, CNN on Sunday -- and Newsweek in this week's issue -- provided time and space for Fareed Zakaria to outline why he will be voting for the “steady and reasoned” Barack Obama. Along the way, he denigrated Sarah Palin as “a rabble-rousing ultraconservative.” At the end of his Sunday (October 19) CNN program, Fareed Zakaria: GPS, Zakaria told his viewers of his choice, concluding:

John McCain represents the best of America's past, and Barack Obama the hope of the future -- the hope of a country that can make big changes and live out one of its greatest promises, of equal opportunities for all Americans, of every caste, creed and color. And America has always been a country that looks forward. So, I will be voting for Barack Obama on election day this year. (CNN.com video)

The Editor of Newsweek International was more explicitly hostile to McCain and Palin in the October 27 domestic edition of Newsweek where, in a piece titled “The Case for Barack Obama,” he made clear his disagreement with conservative policies and his left-wing view of past campaigns.

October 20, 2008, 10:31 PM EDT

Twisting in the knife. While Barack Obama gets gushing coverage (ABC's Jake Tapper marveled on Monday's World News over Obama's “rather unbelievable weekend where he had his largest campaign crowd ever -- 100,00 in St Louis -- he announced record-breaking fundraising, $150 million in September and, of course, he secured the endorsement of that Republican Secretary of State, retired General Colin Powell”), ABC and CBS took gratuitous shots at John McCain and Sarah Palin, twisting upbeat events and a Joe Biden gaffe into negatives for the Republican ticket while NBC skipped over Biden's warning Obama's election will invite “an international crisis.”

ABC reporter Ron Claiborne cited McCain's “concentrated attack on Obama as not just a tax raiser, but someone whose policies are socialist. McCain never utters the S-word himself. That's left to his running mate.” But, he warned, “Palin may be a damaged carrier of the McCain message.” Claiborne then paired her Saturday night success with a negative poll finding as he noted “her appearance this weekend on Saturday Night Live was a boost for the show's ratings, but an ABC News poll finds that 52 percent of voters said McCain's choice of Palin made them less confident of his judgment.”