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 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?
September 2, 2008, 8:32 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday all focused stories on the media's latest obsession: the inadequacies of VP choice Sarah Palin and John McCain's supposedly rushed and inept vetting process. ABC anchor Charles Gibson, for instance, teased: “The Republicans finally take to the convention floor. Many questions still being asked about John McCain's vice presidential pick.” But CBS was the most aggressive in trying to discredit Palin. Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News:

Tonight, new questions about Sarah Palin's past, including whether she once supported a party that wants Alaska to secede from the U.S. How much did John McCain really know about his running mate?

Couric led by insisting, as if the media are simple observers and not participants: “The story that's continuing to get all the attention here -- and elsewhere for that matter -- is Sarah Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and John McCain's judgment in choosing her as his running mate.” Couric set up a second Palin story: “The McCain campaign has portrayed Governor Palin as a reformer and opponent of pork barrel spending, but there are some new questions about that. Wyatt Andrews now with a Reality Check.”

September 2, 2008, 6:41 PM EDT

In the midst of being pounded by Wolf Blitzer and other CNN panelists about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin's supposedly inadequate experience, Rudy Giuliani wondered late Tuesday afternoon: “Why did Barack Obama get a pass on his experience? And why is Sarah Palin's experience, which from the executive point of view is considerably more than Barack Obama's, under such scrutiny?” Blitzer retorted:

But who says he's [Obama] been getting a pass? He's been scrutinized for months and months and months.

To which, a laughing Giuliani scoffed: “I haven't seen the scrutiny of his experience or his record.” Blitzer then, seriously, asked: "Do you read your hometown newspaper, the New York Times?” Giuliani, still trying to get his words out while laughing at Blitzer's premise at the end of the first hour of The Situation Room, lightheartedly suggested: “Maybe that's the problem. I read the New York Times and I haven't seen much scrutiny of Barack Obama in the New York Times.”

Audio: MP3 clip (30 seconds, 175 Kb)

September 2, 2008, 3:19 AM EDT

Instead of just flat-out making a hypocrisy accusation against “the social conservatives” who “are rallying behind” Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin following news her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, CBS's Jeff Greenfield suggested “very conservative Republicans” may be hypocrites based on how they might have reacted eleven years ago. On Monday's CBS Evening News, Greenfield, at the site of the delayed Republican convention, felt compelled to share:

The one question that occurs to me is if 17-year-old Chelsea Clinton had become pregnant while living in the White House, would the reaction on the part of the Family Research Council and other very conservative Republicans been the same? Maybe it would have been, but it's a question worth asking.

Meanwhile, during the CBS News special at 10 PM EDT, Katie Couric whined to Nicolle Wallace of the McCain campaign: “Why wasn't the campaign, your campaign more pro-active about releasing this information? Why did you wait until sort of rumors and innuendos forced your hand?” Couric implied Bristol Palin's pregnancy should have disqualified her mother and suggested Sarah Palin was not putting her daughter's interests first.

September 1, 2008, 8:55 PM EDT

Late Monday afternoon live on CNN, Bill Bennett rebuked -- as an “outrageous” piece of “advocacy” and “attack journalism” that “has no place on CNN” -- a story the channel had just run which used the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's daughter to score political points by relaying as fact the talking points on sex education from a left-wing group. A defensive Wolf Blitzer kept saying “hold on” as he tried to justify raising the supposed hypocrisy.

Live from Anchorage at 5:33 PM EDT/4:33 PM CDT/1:33 PM ADT, Kyra Phillips revealed “there were a number of things that we were sent here to investigate,” including “trooper-gate,” but before that, she stressed “here's what's interesting,” that Palin ”has gone on the record and said that she is in full support of abstinence, and that she doesn't believe in contraception on school grounds and sex education.” Phillips then highlighted:

The Alliance for Reproductive Justice...says abstinence doesn't work, we've got to have better sex education in schools and this is just one example, this just underscores -- the pregnancy of the Governor's daughter -- to why we need sex education in schools.

Audio: MP3 audio clip (2:10, 600 Kb) which matches the video above rendered for me by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey.

August 31, 2008, 10:33 PM EDT

CBS's 60 Minutes led Sunday night with a taped interview with the Democratic ticket and in the piece Steve Kroft, who couldn't resist labeling Sarah Palin as a “conservative” while never tagging Joe Biden, presumed as fact that Palin “has less experience” than Obama and cued up Obama to agree with his own campaign's rhetoric about how Palin undermines McCain's experience argument:

Does the fact that he chose as his Vice President someone who has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?

On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams pursued the same media narrative as he pressed McCain about how as “a 72-year-old cancer survivor” he chose “a not yet one full term Governor of Alaska. Is she the best person to be literally a heartbeat away from the presidency, Senator?” McCain rejected the premise and, without even knowing it, countered Kroft:

She's been in elected office longer than Senator Obama. She's been the chief executive of the state that supplies 20 percent of America's energy, she has balanced budgets. She's had executive experience as Governor, as Mayor, as a city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Senator Obama was still a quote “community organizer.”

Williams, however, remained unconvinced: “But you know the question, Senator, given the field, given all that we know, is she the best person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?”

August 31, 2008, 2:43 AM EDT

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift disclosed on the McLaughlin Group -- seemingly without any compunction for how she was outing her fellow journalists as behaving the same way as Barack Obama's campaign staff, but I suppose we already knew that intuitively -- that John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for VP was greeted by “literally laughter” in “very many newsrooms.”

From the show taped on Friday at Washington, DC's CBS affiliate and airing at various times over the weekend around the nation, mostly on PBS stations:

ELEANOR CLIFT: This is not a serious choice. It makes it look like a made for TV movie. If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places across news-


CLIFT: In very, very many newsrooms.

Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video (13 seconds, 80 Kb)

August 30, 2008, 9:23 PM EDT

Stunning Fox News Watch host Bill Hemmer, panelist Jim Pinkerton, picking up on a NewsBusters post with video (“Maher: Matthews and Olbermann 'Were Ready to Have Sex with' Obama”), from just hours before the FNC show aired live at 6:30 PM EDT Saturday from St. Paul, pointed out that MSNBC's Democratic convention coverage was so adulatory that it led to:

Bill Maher, who's no conservative, who hates Bush, to joke that he thinks that Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews want to have sex with Obama. That's no slap at Obama, of course. He's innocent.

As the other panelists laughed, Hemmer was incredulous, interjecting “whoa, whoa” before pressing for corroboration: “Bill Maher said that?!” Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Juan Williams all chimed in with confirmation and then Hemmer, putting his finger to his earpiece, informed viewers: “I'm hearing that we have a sound clip of that. Do we? Alright, roll it. Here's Bill Maher.” Viewers were treated to the video of Maher from his Friday night HBO show:

I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him.

Audio: MP3 clip from FNC which matches video above (1:15, 450 Kb)

August 30, 2008, 12:48 PM EDT

The media in general, and MSNBC in particular, are so far into the tank for Barack Obama that even the far-left Bill Maher, on his HBO show Friday night, recognized “there is a problem...with the media gushing over him too much.” Specifically, though he didn't name co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, Maher pointed to MSNBC's coverage following Obama's acceptance speech: “The coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him.”

Maher's assessment, ironically enough, came in the midst of his panel (CBS Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and NPR's Michel Martin) all effusively praising, along with Maher, Obama's Thursday night address concluding the Democratic Convention in Denver. Maher's full rebuke on the August 29 Real Time with Bill Maher:

I think there is a problem, though, with the media gushing over him too much. I don't think he thinks that he's all that, but the media does. I mean, the coverage after, that I was watching, from MSNBC, I mean these guys were ready to have sex with him....It's embarrassing.

Audio: MP3 clip (18 seconds, 100 Kb.) Video: click above or download wmv (1.2 Mb)