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
November 6, 2008, 3:54 PM EST

Catching up with Newsweek's Howard Fineman on Wednesday's Countdown, he came across as a parody of an in-the-tank for Barack Obama journalist as he gauzily proclaimed: “Obama's changing everything as he moves. His victory speech last night in Grant Park...was so memorable on so many levels.” Asked by host Keith Olbermann to predict “an overarching theme” for Obama's appointments, such as “competency, bipartisanship, diversity, newness,” Fineman went beyond Olbermann and trumpeted:

Well, it's going to be all of those. But I think, if you had to pick one, it would be excellence. Barack Obama is a guy who appreciates excellence and focus. He's a guy who appreciates results.

Fineman, the magazine's senior Washington correspondent and columnist, as well as senior editor and deputy Washington Bureau Chief, soon hailed Obama's expected team: “It will be naturally diverse and naturally bipartisan.”

November 6, 2008, 4:24 AM EST

Examining “what went wrong” with John McCain's campaign, ABC's David Wright charged Wednesday night that by asserting Barack Obama would “be redistributionist in chief” McCain had “distorted Obama's policy positions” (how that was a distortion Wright did not say) and painted McCain as a hypocrite for having “mocked Obama as an empty-headed celebrity” before “he created a celebrity of his own,” Sarah Palin. While “many were impressed” with her, Wright snidely contended “plenty of others came to see Sarah Palin as an empty designer suit.” In castigating McCain from the left, Wright failed to offer any conservative critiques, such as McCain's lack of consistent conservative positions to contrast himself with Obama.

“If Barack Obama was driving the Cadillac of campaigns,” World News anchor Charles Gibson quipped, “John McCain was driving one that seemed in constant need of a tune-up and by the end it simply ran out of gas.” Wright fretted that after McCain won the GOP nomination “he started to change” and cut off media access, as if that led to his defeat: “The free-wheeling exchanges that put the Straight Talk Express on the map didn't last past the maiden voyage of Straight Talk Air.” Wright pointed out how “McCain had always promised to run a clean campaign on the issues,” but soon, Wright scolded, “McCain attacked Obama's associations....Obama's experience....and distorted Obama's policy positions.”

November 5, 2008, 10:11 PM EST

The broadcast network evening newscasts on Wednesday night all marked Barack Obama's victory with stories on celebrations around the world, the joy expressed by African-Americans and how newspapers sold out as people cheered in the streets. NBC anchor Brian Williams hailed: “As one columnist put it, America  matured in 2008 by choosing Barack Obama.” CBS, however, aired the most triumphant story. Though Ronald Reagan earned nearly 59 percent of the vote in 1984 and George Bush captured more than 53 percent four years later, an awed Byron Pitts began by proposing about Obama's win with 52 percent: “When was the last time our nation cheered this much?”

Pitts proceeded to cite anecdotes about several people, black and white, who saw vindication in Obama's victory, including two women at “a suburban home in Iowa. Iowa, the state that first bought into Obama's audacious hopes and where a life-long Democrat like Deb Tekippe and a life long Republican like Brenda Myer made a toast with champagne.” He concluded:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union.” That's what the Constitution says. Last night, all across America for so many people, that's how it felt. A more perfect union.
November 5, 2008, 4:03 AM EST

At about 2:50 AM EST Wednesday morning, MSNBC went live to NBC News reporter Dawna Friesen in London for world reaction to Barack Obama's election and she triumphantly declared: “It's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win.”

After blurry video of Kenyans dancing and singing a song which “had only two words, 'Obama' and 'miracle,'” Friesen held up the front page of London's left of center The Independent and explained how the newspaper's headline “dubbed” Obama "The history man." She also decided to highlight:

The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy.
November 5, 2008, 12:36 AM EST

At 11:49 PM EST, live from Morehouse College in Atlanta, ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami choked up and came near tears as he recalled how “my father used to tell us that there's no way this country would elect a black President,” but “this evening, the country has proved my old man wrong -- and we're the better for it.”

As he stood with cheering students, Osunsami told anchor Charlie Gibson:

November 4, 2008, 11:31 PM EST

In an interview from Chicago's Grant Park taped shortly beforehand and aired on ABC just past 10:30 PM EST/9:30 PM local time, an excited Oprah Winfrey told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts:

I haven't seen this sense of unity since 9/11, really, really, and 9/11 was this tragic experience that brought us all together and now we're all brought together in the name of hope. Not since 9/11 have I experienced anything even kind of close to this.

Of course, the 47 percent who voted for McCain may not share Winfrey's unity.

She had prefaced that contention: “It's my town. My town's been vibrating all day. I mean, from the moment I left the building this morning -- the doorman, everybody vibrates, just great. It's one of the greatest experiences of, certainly my lifetime and it's been wonderful, I think, for everybody in the country who has called somebody or somebody has called them. Everybody was e-mailing everybody standing in line.”

November 3, 2008, 9:53 PM EST

Just as with all his previous interviews with the broadcast network anchors, Barack Obama had nothing to fear from his final pre-election sit-down, this time with CBS's Katie Couric, who laughed along with him about being a “nervous wreck” on election day, raised Jeremiah Wright not to press him about Wright's incendiary anti-American rants but to ask if the McCain campaign had given its “approval” to a state party to raise the topic, and concluded by fawning: “If things go your way on Tuesday and you become this nation's first African-American President, what will that mean to you personally?”

In the excerpts from the interview conducted Sunday in Columbus, Ohio and aired on Monday's CBS Evening News, Couric posed four questions, starting with “fears that perhaps an unbridled, unchecked, filibuster-proof Democratic majority will overreach and move the country too far to the left. How can you assuage people's concerns about that?”  Instead of hitting him on how much the decision by the McCain campaign and the news media to drop Wright helped him avoid a subject that would have hurt in swing states, she treated Republicans as the miscreants: 

The Pennsylvania Republican Party is starting to run an ad in that state which features your former minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, saying quote, “God damn America.” Do you think they would have run that ad without the approval of the McCain campaign?
November 1, 2008, 11:29 PM EDT

A beyond overwhelming 96 percent of the staff of Slate.com, the online news magazine site owned by the Washington Post, plan to vote for Barack Obama. A Tuesday posting, “Slate Votes: Obama wins this magazine in a rout,” reported 55 staff members plan to cast their ballot for Obama, a mere one person will vote for John McCain, the same number (one) who support libertarian Bob Barr. Another staffer replied: “Not McCain.” It's hard to imagine such left-wing uniformity isn't matched at many other media outlets. In a Wednesday posting, Slate Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer (the Barr backer) quipped: “I doubt that Obama will garner 96 percent even in his home precinct of Hyde Park.”

This year's annual staff survey matches the last two presidential contests when nearly every editor and reporter voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 (2004 MRC CyberAlert item). Slate.com headlined an October 26, 2004 article: “At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!” In 2000, 12 of the 13 in the top editorial positions voted for Gore, with the 13th going not for Bush but the libertarian. In all three years, the Democrat earned the vote of Slate's chief editor, Jacob Weisberg, a former Newsweek reporter.

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.”