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

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 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

Latest from Brent Baker
September 12, 2008, 8:47 PM EDT

In Charles Gibson's third interview session with Sarah Palin, conducted at her home in Wasilla and featured on Friday's World News, Gibson asserted “we've got a very sick economy,” pressed her to list how she'd change Bush economic policy, insisted she concede “it's now pretty clearly documented you supported that bridge before you opposed it” (and to defend Alaska's continued earmark requests), all before he ran through several social issues -- from abortion to guns -- forcing her to state positions Gibson certainly realized would cement her to ideologically conservative positions seen as extreme by many of his viewers.

On the economy, with the Palin's airplane visible lakeside in the background, Gibson proposed: “John McCain and you are now talking about the GOP as a party of change. We've got a very sick economy. Tell me the three principal things you would do to change the Bush economic policies.” Amongst his follow-ups: “Summarize the three things that you'd change in the Bush economic plans.” Gibson soon ran through a list of social issue topics:

> Roe v. Wade, do you think it should be reversed?...John McCain would allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. Do you believe in it only in the case where the life of the mother is in danger?...Would you change and accept it in rape and incest?

> Embryonic stem cell research, John McCain has been supportive of it.

> Homosexuality, genetic or learned?

> Guns: 70 percent of this country supports a ban on semiautomatic assault weapons. Do you?

September 12, 2008, 2:02 PM EDT

Newsweek reporter Suzanne Smalley declared on MSNBC shortly before 1 PM EDT this afternoon that “over the past few weeks, the McCain campaign has really gotten down and dirty. A lot of their ads have been flat-out lies.” So, she pleaded: “Obama needs to really take the steering wheel back. Many Democrats in Washington are worried.”

Smalley was encouraged, however, by how at Thursday night's National Service Forum “McCain gave Obama a present on a silver platter by talking about the fact that he's divorced from the every day challenges that people in America face. So I think Obama is going to be using that in the coming days.”

September 12, 2008, 1:32 AM EDT

ABC's Charles Gibson pressed Sarah Palin repeatedly, in a fresh interview excerpt aired on Thursday's "Nightline," to cry uncle and concede global warming is “man-made” -- but even when she did he wasn't satisfied and pushed for more of a mea culpa. "Nightline," which made “War, God and Oil” the on-screen header for excerpts from Gibson's interviews, began with a slightly longer version of what "World News" carried earlier, mostly about foreign policy, followed by new video from a second interview Gibson conducted as the two walked alongside the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Gibson presumed not believing global warming is “man-made” is some kind of shameful oddity as he wondered: “Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?” Palin offered that “I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming,” but that wasn't enough for Gibson, who held up John McCain as the oracle and lectured:

September 11, 2008, 9:46 PM EDT

Charles Gibson's interview with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, the first since her selection, not surprisingly focused mostly on pressing her to prove she's qualified for the job and quizzing her about foreign policy issues. While Gibson certainly treated her with more respect than would have many other national media figures, he did suggest her willingness to unhesitatingly accept John McCain's offer demonstrated “hubris” and he delved into what he described as her “provocative comments” on the Iraq war being part of “God's plan.” When he seemingly caught her unaware of the definition of the “Bush Doctrine,” he outlined its tenets without embarrassing her, yet he also veered close to condescension in asking if she had “ever travel[ed] outside the country” and: “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?”

Gibson began the World News excerpt, of the session recorded in Fairbanks, with what he termed “the central question,” namely: “Can you look the country in the eye and say 'I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just Vice President, but perhaps President of the United States of America?'” When she denied any hesitation about her abilities, Gibson asserted: “Doesn't that take some hubris?”After she cited her energy expertise, he countered: “National security is a whole lot more than energy.” He moved on to quizzing her about how, if the U.S. followed her advice to admit Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, “wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?”, whether she'd let Israel attack Iran and if she would approve of cross-border raids into Pakistan.

That segment consumed the first ten minutes or so of World News which ended with another interview excerpt in which Gibson paraphrased her as saying in June that “our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.” After supporting You Tube video of Palin, Gibson demanded: “Are we fighting a holy war?” Unconvinced by her answer about how she only meant, as Lincoln urged, “let us pray that we are on God's side,” Gibson pounced: “But you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan.'” He soon followed up again: “Are you sending your son on a task that is from God?”

September 11, 2008, 3:38 AM EDT

A week after a Rasmussen Reports survey discovered that by a ten-to-one margin the public believes the media are trying to hurt Sarah Palin, a new Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters, briefly highlighted Wednesday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes, determined “69 percent remain convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Barack Obama.” Specifically, “50 percent of voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama win versus 11 percent who believe they are trying to help his Republican opponent John McCain” with 26 percent saying “reporters offer unbiased coverage.”

Even amongst Democrats, more think journalists are aiding Democrat Obama than Republican McCain: “While 83 percent of Republican voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama, 19 percent of Democrats agree, one percentage point higher than the number of Democrats who believe they are trying to help McCain.” Most telling, “unaffiliated voters by a 53 percent to 10 percent margin see reporters trying to help Obama.”

September 10, 2008, 10:00 PM EDT

CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night used an Interior Department sex and drug scandal to snidely frame a story around how “the Bush administration has long been accused of having too close a relationship with the oil industry. Just how close is documented in new reports just out today.” The ABC and NBC evening newscasts also ran full stories on three new reports from the Interior Department's inspector general about the staffers of the Minerals Management Service, mostly in Colorado, but refrained from the overtly political characterization.

Turning to reporter Sharyl Attkisson, Couric opined: “This sounds pretty embarrassing.” Attkisson agreed as she immediately brought President Bush into the story: “It is, Katie. The investigative reports were released a day after President Bush had a private lunch with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the man in charge of the agency at the heart of the scandal. That was behind closed doors. Today's embarrassment was very public.”

September 9, 2008, 11:16 PM EDT

Joy Behar, one of the hosts of ABC's daytime show "The View," took to CNN's "Larry King Live" Tuesday night and delivered a new line of attack on Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska: Palin's “very mean” in how she treats wildlife because she hunts them and is opposed to putting polar bears on the endangered list.

(Didn't John Kerry go hunting during the 2004 campaign?) Behar, apparently quite serious since she insisted her concern was “an important point,” began the live interview:

“You know, the one thing that I don't think anybody's said yet is that she's very mean to animals, this woman. Why does she have it in for these poor polar bear and the caribou and she aerial kills wolves? That's a very mean thing to do. I think that that's an important point we should all be looking at.”

September 9, 2008, 9:36 PM EDT

With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Introducing a “Reality Check,” CBS anchor Katie Couric asserted:

There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the example she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story...

Wyatt Andrews concluded: “By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that Governor Palin confronted a Congress recklessly wasting money. The record shows, she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.” Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams recalled how Palin's convention speech had “several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her.” But, he asked, “how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.”

September 8, 2008, 9:18 PM EDT

In back-to-back stories on Monday's NBC Nightly News, reporters displayed a disparity in the use of terms applied to describe the criticism by John McCain and Barack Obama of each other. Up first, Kelly O'Donnell described how McCain “asserted that Obama claims he has stood up to fellow Democrats, but hasn't.”

In the second story, Lee Cowan played a clip he set up as showing how Obama “outright mocked what he called McCain's No Change Express” and after the soundbite (“You can't just re-create yourself. You can't just reinvent yourself. The American people aren't stupid.”), Cowan called that “a new bluntness on the stump, one his running mate Joe Biden fleshed out across the lake in Wisconsin today.” Following Biden, Cowan warned: “Then there was that new McCain TV ad touting his partnership with Sarah Palin and her record on wasteful spending in Alaska, something one spokesman called a flat-out lie.”

From Kelly O'Donnell's story on the Monday, September 8 NBC Nightly News:

September 8, 2008, 2:35 AM EDT

ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who when interviewing John McCain six weeks ago scolded him for a criticism of Barack Obama (“I can't believe you believe that”), on Sunday's This Week prodded Obama to agree with those of his supporters who “heard subtle racial code” in the ridiculing, at the Republican convention, of his “community organizer” work. Stephanopoulos, who did challenge Obama to name three things he'd do as President which “would be unpopular with the Democrats in Congress” and to acknowledge McCain was correct on the surge, also cued up Obama on Sarah Palin's qualifications: “You said that your number one criteria for vice presidential pick was someone that's capable of being President. Did John McCain meet the threshold test?”

In the interview taped in Terre Haute, in what appeared to be a barn, Stephanopoulos noted that “it's pretty clear they didn't think too much of your early career as a community organizer. Governor Palin. Rudy Giuliani.” After a clip from Giuliani which produced boos from the Republican faithful, Stephanopoulos wondered: “What were you thinking when you heard the boos, the laugher?” Saying “it's curious to me that they would mock” his community organizer work, Stephanopoulos contended:

You're smiling about it, but some of your supporters were listening and they heard subtle racial code.
September 7, 2008, 1:04 AM EDT

A major media denigration of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin as a “wacko right-winger” didn't come on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or even MSNBC, but on FNC from a regular contributor to the network: Morton Kondrake, who was hostile all last week to Palin in his appearances on Special Report with Brit Hume. Wrapping up the “Ups and Downs” segment on FNC's Beltway Boys this weekend with an “Up” for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's performance during Hurricane Gustav, Kondracke inserted the gratuitous insult into his agreement with co-host Fred Barnes that Hurricane Katrina would have turned out better if Jindal were in charge three years ago: 

If Jindal had been Governor of Louisiana in 2005, everything would have been different and he would be John McCain's running mate instead of this wacko right-winger.

Earlier in the half-hour show, Kondracke, a DC media veteran now with Roll Call, asserted that Palin “is very far right.”

September 6, 2008, 1:41 AM EDT

Declaring “I'm not that convinced that that's her baby,” far-left comedian Bill Maher, Friday night on his HBO show Real Time, forwarded left-wing blog rumors about how Trig Palin, born in April, is really the son of Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol who is now pregnant. Maher raised his theory during a one-on-one interview with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, who didn't accept Maher's belief in such deceit, leading Maher to concede “it could be her baby,” but he still insisted “it is a little suspicious” because “the daughter -- who we know is fertile because she's knocked up again, or maybe for the first time” had taken:

...a five-month leave from high school because she had [uses fingers to make quote marks] “mononucleosis” right around the time the baby was being born. And the mother, the so-called, you know, okay, maybe it is the mother, but, you know, she was back to work three days later. You don't smell something?

Toobin remained unconvinced: “You know what, I don't.” Maher then turned to the old left-wing stand-by argument: all Republicans and conservatives are liars. To applause and laughter from the audience, Maher quipped: “Yeah, but look who we're talking's not like they're not willing to lie about everything else.”

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video above (1:55, 650 Kb)

September 5, 2008, 6:20 AM EDT

Assessing Barack Obama's speech last Thursday, for the “Nightline Report Card,” ABC's George Stephanopoulos awarded Obama A's as he dismissed Republican complaints about his “red meat” attacks on John McCain, declaring they allowed Obama to affirmatively answer “the commander-in-chief question” and hailed how he addressed social issues “in a way that a majority of Americans” will embrace. But this week, he tried to discredit McCain's points. On McCain's assertion he's more bi-partisan than Obama, Stephanopoulos recited a list of issues where “Obama has reached out to the other side.” Then citing McCain's claim that he will cut taxes while Obama will raise them, Stephanopoulos countered:

Senator Obama's plan, and this has been verified by outside experts, 95 percent of the country will get a tax cut, that's not the same -- that is bigger than the one that John McCain offers.

Overall, Stephanopoulos awarded Democrats with slightly better grades than the Republicans for their respective confabs, including ten A's over four nights to the Democrats in Denver, twice as many as the five A's over three nights he gave the Republicans. Throwing out F's he gave both parties for what he saw as bad stages, and an incomplete for each, of 15 grades for the Democrats, he issued ten A's, two grades of B+, two of B and one C.  This week, from St. Paul, Stephanopoulos presented 12 grades for the Republican convention: Five A's, one A-, four grades of B, one B- and one C.

September 5, 2008, 4:01 AM EDT

CBS's Bob Schieffer on Thursday night praised John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican convention, especially compared to VP nominee Sarah Palin's address from the night before. He was pleased that McCain appealed to “our better angels” with a speech that was “much more inclusive” than what Palin delivered:

I thought this was a fine speech tonight that appeals to our better angels, really. I found it much more inclusive than the speech that Sarah Palin made yesterday. I think this speech will play very well across America.

Colleague Jeff Greenfield, however, found McCain's address to have been too predictably Republican: “I have to say, I found much of the speech surprisingly familiar. It was a speech that almost any Republican could give, except for the part of change” and so “other than the instant bump in the polls that everybody gets” the address “may not have changed a lot of minds.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd saw McCain's words as anything but the standard Republican fare: “This was designed to be as non of an ideological speech as a Republican nominee could give at a Republican convention.”

September 4, 2008, 7:20 PM EDT

“Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November,” Rasmussen Reports announced Thursday in posting survey results which determined “just five percent (5%) think reporters are trying to help her with their coverage, while 35 percent believe reporters are providing unbiased coverage.” In Thursday's “Grapevine” segment, FNC's Brit Hume highlighted the findings from the poll of 1,000 “likely voters.”

By wide margins, more Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters see the media as trying to hurt rather than trying to help Palin. For Republicans it's 80 to 6 percent, for Democrats 28 to 4 percent (with 57 percent believing reporting is unbiased) and for unaffiliated voters it's 49 to 5 percent.

September 4, 2008, 6:32 AM EDT

Sarah Palin's Wednesday night Republican convention speech was widely greeted with praise from television commentators and the short break between her address and Rudy Giuliani's beforehand didn't leave much time for analysis of Giuliani's, but ABC's George Stephanopoulos managed to find a dark side to both while ABC's Nightline devoted a six-minute story to “new details tonight on a brewing controversy in Alaska,” a “nasty family scandal that's come to be called trooper-gate.”

Following Giuliani's speech, Stephanopoulos declared it “far and away the toughest speech we've seen so far” at both conventions and ruminated: “What I wonder about is how it came across on television. A little too nasty? A little too ugly? I don't know.” After Palin finished, he  fretted that she “she also spent a lot of time attacking” and “that could come off as quite negative to some viewers.”

Issuing the Nightline “Report Card,” Stephanopoulos, who a week earlier awarded Joe Biden and Democrats four A's, gave Giuliani and Palin three A's, a B and a C. For “Red Meat,” he presented an A “for substance,” but a C “on delivery” because he contended their repeated mention of how Barack Obama was a “community organizer” came across as “a little too derisive.”

September 4, 2008, 4:48 AM EDT

Guest “Dr. Phil” on Wednesday night chastised David Letterman's misunderstanding of teenage sexual behavior and parental influence after Letterman sarcastically complained that if a President McCain “drops dead...don't you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenaged kids for five minutes about birth control?” (Letterman delivered the same belittling joke the night before too.)

Referring to Letterman's almost five-year-old son, daytime TV host Phil McGraw, aka “Dr. Phil,” informed Letterman:

Let me tell you something, new dad. If you are under the misapprehension that when Harry is 17 that you are going to have even a remote influence on what he decides in the back seat of a Chevy on a Saturday night -- I don't think old Dave's going to be popping in his mind at that point. It's not a 15-minute conversation. It's a dialogue that you need to have starting when he's about eight or nine.

Undeterred from his contempt for Sarah Palin, Letterman asked: “Then why didn't they have the dialogue?” McGraw suggested: “Maybe they did. But when children get that age, at 17 -- see, here's the thing. The body's grown but the brain is not.” Letterman soon sneered: “They don't sell Trojans in Alaska? Come on,” prompting McGraw to point out: “Wasn't Barack's mother like 18 when he was born?” Indeed she was.

Audio: MP3 audio clip (2:10, 650 Kb)

September 3, 2008, 8:22 PM EDT

Reflecting the media's continued disdain for the pro-life position, interviewing Cindy McCain for Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric painted Sarah Palin as an extremist, zeroing in how “even Republicans” supposedly, “seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.” Couric then turned the session into an interrogation about Mrs. McCain's personal views on abortion:

Where do you stand on abortion?

So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?

Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?

Why not? Your husband does.

So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?

September 3, 2008, 7:00 AM EDT

Sarah Palin's presumed lack of qualifications and the assumed failure of the McCain campaign to adequately vet her consumed much of the ABC, CBS and NBC prime time hour Tuesday on the Republican convention. CBS's Katie Couric was the most aggressive. A flustered Couric demanded to know from McCain adviser Steve Schmidt how anyone could possibly “compare” Palin's public service with the more experienced Obama: “How can you compare those two?”

When Tim Pawlenty later made the same assertion, Couric shot back: “Well, that’s according to Republican talking points.” She also contended questions about Palin “call into question the vetting process” as she complained: “Why are these kind of things coming out in kind of a drip, drip, drip fashion?” With Pawlenty, Couric, who last week never wondered if the liberal ticket would dissuade anyone, portrayed Palin as some sort of alien creature:

She is against abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. She wants creationism taught in schools. Do you worry that her selection might be a turnoff to some wavering Democrats and independents who might consider supporting John McCain?

ABC devoted an entire segment to its panel of Diane Sawyer, Charles Gibson, George Stephanopoulos, Matthew Dowd and Tori Clarke speculating about bad vetting and Palin undermining a McCain theme. Gibson proposed: “There were signs all over Denver, put up by Republicans, saying 'Not Ready '08.' Have they totally throw that argument away? And do they regret losing it, do you think?” Dowd confirmed: “I think they've totally thrown it away...”

September 3, 2008, 5:03 AM EDT

Obsessing over Sarah Palin's pro-life position on abortion, MSNBC hosts and reporters on Tuesday night repeatedly raised it and painted it as a detriment to Republicans even though last week with Democrats the channel did not similarly pursue how a solidly left view on abortion might hurt Obama and Biden. By the count of the MRC's Geoff Dickens, between 8 PM and midnight EDT, MSNBC raised abortion at least 16 times, twice with an edge that painted the GOP position as extreme by applying a “hard right” label. Chris Matthews declared “they are going hard right on abortion rights” and later David Gregory asserted: “The abortion platform here is pretty hard right.”

Chuck Todd, Political Director for NBC News, fretted over how “this is as stringent of a platform on abortion the Republican Party ever has. And the problem is” that “these delegates are more conservative than even the ones four years ago.” Andrea Mitchell described Palin as “very conservative” and pressed a Republican Congressman: “Now there are a lot of women in that area who are less conservative socially than Sarah Palin. There are a lot of women who believe in choice. So how do you square the circle there?”

Matthews bemoaned to Tom Ridge that “it seems like you got a convention saluting a vice presidential nominee who wants to outlaw abortion, period, across the country. Is this going too far?” To Tim Pawlenty, Matthews demanded:

Do you believe you can win with the cultural statement being made by the selection of Governor Palin? That statement being someone from the very culturally conservative part of your party?