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
May 18, 2008, 3:41 PM EDT

An early review is in for HBO's upcoming movie, Recount, about the Bush-Gore battle in Florida after 2000 election. Gillian Flynn in Entertainment Weekly, which like HBO is part of the Time-Warner family, has described the film, to premiere next Sunday night, as tilted against the Republican characters.

In her review in the May 23 edition of the magazine, Flynn asserted: “Recount may not be downright blue, but it's not as purply as it wants to appear.” Saying “Recount is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story,” Flynn reported that the “Republican players here are coolly calculating -- Tom Wilkinson's James Baker III, the Bush team quarterback -- or they teeter on the edge of madness, like Laura Dern's Katherine Harris.” In fact, in an interview elsewhere, the writer of the movie slammed Harris as “a fraud.” [Screen shot is of Dern as Harris]

May 17, 2008, 5:16 PM EDT

Catching up with a fawning Associated Press story on Barack Obama from last Saturday, “Obama rises from political obscurity to verge of history,” on Friday the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto ridiculed the sycophant approach taken by the AP's Charles Babington, formerly of the Washington Post. Babington trumpeted in the May 10 dispatch: “There's ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn't sound Pollyannaish.” Taranto, in his May 16 “Best of the Web Today” online compilation, poked fun at Babington:

Is Barack Obama merely something special, or is he truly extraordinary? Babington can't take a position on that. He's a professional reporter, after all, and has to maintain his detachment. But he does report that “without question, Obama is an electrifying speaker,” that “Obama has a compelling biography, too,” and that “for a politician with only four years of experience at the federal level, Obama also has spot-on instincts, associates say, and a steely confidence in his convictions, in good times and bad.”

Speaking truth to power Charles Babington isn't.

May 16, 2008, 9:15 PM EDT

The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Friday conveyed Barack Obama's charge of hypocrisy by John McCain on dealing with Hamas, all based on one January 28, 2006 soundbite fed to them by the Obama campaign via the Huffington Post -- “They're the government, and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with them in one way or another” -- though, in fact, in an interview that same day with CNN, in the same snowy setting, McCain made clear the U.S. could deal with Hamas only if it were to “renounce” its “commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again.”

CBS's Dean Reynolds presumed Obama had caught McCain in a flip-flop: “Obama called McCain a hypocrite for backing Bush, and pointed to an earlier statement McCain had made about Hamas, which runs the Gaza strip.” After the “they're the government, and sooner or later we're going to have to deal with them in one way or another” McCain soundbite, Reynolds reported that “today McCain clarified,” as if he had to adjust his earlier view. On NBC, Lee Cowan highlighted how “Obama pointed to this interview two years ago when the Arizona Senator seemed to hint that eventually talking with Hamas might well be a political necessity.” Following the clip, Cowan allowed: “McCain says, though, that quote was taken out of context.”

May 15, 2008, 8:48 PM EDT

The broadcast network evening news shows took their cues from the Obama campaign Thursday night as all framed their coverage -- of President Bush warning in Israel that “some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals” -- around angry reaction to Bush's perceived attack on Barack Obama with CBS and NBC trying to undermine Bush's argument by contending it contradicts policies of past Republican Presidents and/or Bush administration officials.

CBS anchor Katie Couric, referring to Bush and John McCain, cited “a two-pronged Republican attack today on Barack Obama on a key foreign policy matter.” Reporter Chip Reid saw a “Republican barrage” which “began in Jerusalem today where President Bush appeared to be taking aim at Barack Obama.” Reid soon passed along how “Obama, who has said he would meet with leaders of Iran, Syria, and Cuba, noted that Presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and even Reagan also negotiated directly with America's enemies.” But Mikhail Gorbachev hadn't promised to nuke Israel.

Over on NBC, Brian Williams teased his lead story: “President Bush on the world stage delivers what was widely seen as an attack on Barack Obama.” Williams described it as “today's political shot heard 'round the world. The concussion was instantaneous. Upon hearing the news, one Democratic Senator used a word we can't use on this broadcast.” Reporter John Yang called it “the first salvo of this fall's general election campaign” and, with “THIS IS B******T” on screen, relayed how “Senator Joseph Biden characterized the President's words with a word we can't use.” Yang contended Bush's admonition “would also apply to Mr. Bush's former Secretary of State” who urged engagement with Hamas. But not a personal sit-down with the President of the United States.

May 14, 2008, 9:19 PM EDT

Trumpeting the “major endorsement” from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night with the “dramatic” announcement of the “political prize” that gives Obama a “major boost.” Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate “our top story tonight” as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: “John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two.”

ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, compete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged:

Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy.

Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free.

May 14, 2008, 2:46 AM EDT

FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted how “some in the media elite have found that Karl Rove, in his new role as a commentator” for Fox News and writer for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, “is, to their apparent astonishment, a pretty good guy.” Hume cited the admission, by an unnamed Newsweek editor, that realizing Karl Rove is not the devil portrayed by the media “complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.”

Picking up on the Monday New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg, “The Pundit Analyzing Obama? Some TV Upstart Named Rove” (Tim Graham's earlier post on the story), Hume noted how the article reported that Newsweek's top editor, Jon Meacham, revealed “Rove had been received surprisingly well in the magazine's newsroom, where he has been a reliable colleague who files his articles on time and works diligently with fact checkers.” After one editor dealt with him, Meacham told the newspaper: “The editor called me and said, 'This just complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.'”

May 13, 2008, 9:09 PM EDT

A week after ABC focused a story on two pitiable Minnesota families living in the dark because higher energy and food prices mean they “can no longer afford to pay for electricity,” Tuesday's World News highlighted the replies from sad case stories solicited on, starting with a woman who says she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas. ABC displayed “FEELING THE PAIN” on screen as Charles Gibson set up the story that David Muir started by fretting about “the price of a gallon of gas jumping more than a dime in just the last week” -- which is a piddling $2 more to fill a 20-gallon tank. Nonetheless, he asserted “the e-mails we've received show the pain is being felt far and wide. Single mother Caroline Saunders wrote to us from New Jersey.” He read aloud from her e-mail with her quote on screen:

I now skip breakfast to save the extra $4 per day. That gives me an extra $20 added to my gas budget.

Muir proceeded to recite two less ridiculous complaints, a trucker upset about a 60 percent hike in diesel fuel over the past in two years and a woman who found a job that requires $110 a week in gas to commute 140 miles round trip.

May 12, 2008, 8:38 PM EDT

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Monday evening gave credibility to the extremist environmental theory that the Earth is reacting to mankind's mistreatment by spawning a rash of tornadoes. Williams reported how “this has been one of the most active, deadly tornado seasons in a long time” with more tornadoes so far this year than through August last year. He then forwarded to NBC Weather Plus meteorologist Bill Karins the kind of reasoning he hears during his daily routine:

I talked to three people, casual conversation today, all of them smart, saying “I don't know, we must be doing something to our Earth.”

Karins gently corrected him: “Well, there are correlations that can be made. Global warming not quite one of them. La Nina, more likely.”

May 11, 2008, 4:55 PM EDT

Just as segregation in the South “blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis” during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Washington Post arts critic Philip Kennicott contended in a Saturday lead “Style” section piece on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on the 1936 games, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have also undermined arguments against Chinese political repression before the Olympic games there this summer.

Deep into his May 10 treatise, “Playing With Fire: U.S. Holocaust Museum Revisits Fascist Iconography of 1936 Games and Beyond,” Kennicott asserted:

It's impossible to walk through the current exhibition without feeling a repetition syndrome. Just as Jim Crow laws blunted the force of moral outrage against the Nazis, the specter of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo has blunted the force of arguments about Chinese political repression.
May 8, 2008, 8:28 PM EDT

Brian Williams, who slobbered over Barack Obama in their last interview in early January, did so again in a Thursday session conducted at Washington, DC's Newseum and excerpted on the NBC Nightly News. Back on January 7, Williams handed Obama a Newsweek with “Inside Obama's Dream Machine” as the cover story and wondered: “How does this feel, of all the honors that have come your way, all the publicity? Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?” On Thursday, Williams didn't pose a single challenging question nor mention Jeremiah Wright in any of the ten questions aired, but pulled the same magazine stunt, this time holding up the new Time with a smiling Obama on the cover by the words, “And the Winner* Is...” Williams fondly recalled:

Last time we were together, I handed you a copy of Newsweek, it was the first time you'd held it in your hands with you on the cover. Have you yet held this in your hands?

Obama said he had not, prompting Williams to remind him: “Last time you looked at it and you thought instantly of your mom.” Obama effused: “She'd like that picture. She always encouraged me to smile more.” Proceeding to cue up Obama for a long recitation on how he's not an elitist, Williams empathized: “You end up with people talking about your bowling score, gutter balls, wearing a tie, wearing a tie with farmers. And how have you dealt with that? Is there an operating theory that guides your life these days?”

May 8, 2008, 2:26 AM EDT

“It took much too long for major news media outlets to appreciate the importance of the Wright connection” to Barack Obama, Don Campbell, who spent “nearly two decades as a Washington reporter, editor and columnist for Gannett Newspapers and USA Today,” asserted in a Wednesday op-ed piece for USA Today. The headline over the piece by Campbell, now journalism lecturer at Emory University in Atlanta, asked: “Wright story: What took so long?” Only after “the most incendiary clips...landed on YouTube” were the news media, Campbell observed, “dragged into the controversy holding their noses, but by then Obama had the goal line in sight.”

Nonetheless, Campbell contended “Obama has been ill-served by a press corps that seemingly was mesmerized by the large, frenzied crowds who turn out to see the Democratic rock star.” Indeed, “crowds can be deceiving,” as Campbell recalled: “McGovern, nobody's idea of a rock star, attracted huge and exuberant crowds throughout the fall of 1972 -- on his way to losing 49 states to Richard Nixon.”

May 7, 2008, 9:15 PM EDT

Last October the NBC Nightly News was the first broadcast network evening newscast to highlight the first Medal of Honor award since Vietnam for a member of the Navy, Lieutenant Michael Murphy, a SEAL killed in combat in Afghanistan in June of 2005, and on Wednesday the newscast stood alone in highlighting the Navy's announcement that a guided-missile destroyer will be named the “USS Michael Murphy.” Anchor Brian Williams outlined what earned Murphy the Medal of Honor recognition:

During an intense firefight in Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan back in '05, while pinned down under fire, he chose to stand up to get a signal on his satellite phone to communicate their location. He knew that standing up would expose him to withering fire. It did. He was hit several times and killed.

Williams also noted that a park in Patchogue, New York was dedicated Wednesday “in his name on what would have been his 32nd birthday.” Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter made the ship naming announcement during the dedication ceremony at the park along side Lake Ronkonkoma where Murphy had been a lifeguard.

May 7, 2008, 1:28 AM EDT

Rush Limbaugh's “Operation Chaos,” the effort to urge conservatives and Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to prolong the Democratic nomination battle, certainly annoys MSNBC's Chris Matthews who, during primary coverage Tuesday night, denounced the “mischief-making” by “a talk jock.” In the 11:30 PM EDT half hour, Matthews offered a “Keith [Olbermann]-style special comment” about how “anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives.” He called it “a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died,” sarcastically remarking: “I hope you're proud of yourself.” The rant from Matthews:

I have to offer a Keith-style special comment on that. Anyone who voted to screw up the political system of this country with the purpose of mischief should carry that with them the rest their lives. What a ridiculous way to use the vote for which people fought and died, to use that vote to make mischief. I hope you're proud of yourself. [20-second MP3 audio of this comment]

That followed the contention of guest Michelle Bernard, of the Independent Women's Forum, that Limbaugh did “something positive” which helped Barack Obama “because he's said to African-Americans, ask the Democratic Party 'what have they done for you lately?'” and encouraged African-Americans to force “Republicans and Democrats to compete for the black vote.” For that, she concluded, “I say to Rush Limbaugh: good job.”

May 6, 2008, 11:26 PM EDT

Those opposed to the Roe v Wade abortion decision are “the far right” in the vernacular of the Associated Press. In a dispatch datelined from Winston-Salem, North Carolina where John McCain delivered an address Tuesday castigating Barack Obama for voting against the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, as he pledged to name non-activist judges, reporter Libby Quaid wrote:

McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn't mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
May 6, 2008, 10:31 PM EDT

Four days after NBC centered a story around an elderly couple forced to move “into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back” while “high food costs have meant” they've “gone hungry,” ABC's World News caught up Tuesday night with a nearly as silly anecdotal report on how families in Minnesota can no longer afford electricity. In the first of two families she showcased, reporter Gigi Stone relayed Julie Tkachuk's plight: “After paying for more expensive gas and groceries, Julie had no money for the heating bills left over from the winter.” Then Stone described the predicament of a family whose father “says business at his moving company is down 35 percent this year. There just wasn't enough money for the power bill.”

Referring to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Stone acknowledged that “there's federal assistance for people who can't afford their utility bills,” but she ominously intoned, “the number of applicants reached the highest point in 16 years.” ABC then aired a soundbite from Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, an advocacy group for LIHEAP spending. The group's April 25 press release (PDF) hyping “the number of households receiving LIHEAP funds this year is the highest in 16 years” also, however, disclosed a fact ABC didn't mention -- that increase is merely 3.8 percent over fiscal year 2007 with the number of households on the dole in Minnesota rising from 120,765 to 126,500, hardly a huge jump.

May 6, 2008, 12:38 AM EDT

“Senator Hillary Clinton is multimillionaire former First Lady with a solid liberal voting record,” ABC's Jake Tapper observed in a rare story applying an ideological label to a Democrat but, he pointed out Monday night, “you wouldn't necessarily know that from catching up with her on the campaign trail” where she plays a barbecue-eating populist on trade to the right of Barack Obama on guns and the gas tax.

From Indiana, Tapper marveled at how the Democratic presidential candidate now bashes Wall Street though she “has taken millions from Wall Street,” and then explained some other campaign spins which don't match her record, including the rarely recalled fact that Bill Clinton raised the tax on gas:

The National Rifle Association says Clinton's name is synonymous with gun control. But here, in Indiana, in a new mailer, she suggests Obama would outlaw guns. She has distanced herself from trade deals her husband signed into law and she worked to pass. And while her husband raised gas taxes, she wants to give consumers a summer without them.

May 5, 2008, 7:54 PM EDT

“Mainstream media coverage of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has drawn a round of barking from some of their own in-house watchdogs,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in his Monday night “Grapevine” segment. Hume started by highlighting how PBS ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the soft approach of Bill Moyers in his interview with Wright: “Inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged” and “there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft.”

Hume next turned to New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt's disappointment in the paper for putting a review of Wright's performance in appearances ahead of checking what Wright contended against the reality, scolding his employer: “It was a performance strangely lacking in energy at a potential turning point in the election.”

May 4, 2008, 8:11 PM EDT

Demonstrating how the mainstream media will view criticism of Barack Obama through the prism of past attacks on Democrats they consider illegitimate, Dean Reynolds concluded a Sunday night CBS Evening News story on Barack Obama by suggesting Democrats are well-justified in fearing Republicans will succeed in portraying Obama as “out of the mainstream,'” which Reynolds described as “code for 'unpatriotic'” in forwarding the red-herring, since it has worked “even against those who've received the purple heart.” To make his reference clear, as he spoke viewers saw video from the 2004 campaign of John Kerry.

Reynolds had relayed how Obama has “been mocking suggestions that he's out of the mainstream.” CBS then played a clip of Obama, in a stump speech, repeating the questions about him: “'We're not sure he shares our values.' 'We haven't seen him wear a flag pin lately.' 'His former pastor said some terrible things' and so, you know, 'can we really trust this guy?'”

Next, Reynolds ended his May 4 story from Indianapolis:

But 'out of the mainstream' is a charge Republicans habitually make against Democrats. It's code for 'unpatriotic.' And it worries Democrats that it's been so effective against their candidates in the past -- even against those who've received the purple heart.
May 2, 2008, 9:09 PM EDT

On the day the government reported a tenth of a point drop in the unemployment rate and two days after news of a second straight quarter of 0.6 percent GDP growth proved the nation is not in a recession, Friday's NBC Nightly News delivered a ridiculously shallow story, based on two anecdotes and a couple of advocates, to prove rising prices are forcing the elderly out of their homes and into vans and soup kitchens. Anchor Brian Williams promised “an interesting the toll that rising prices, of things like gas and food, is taking on Americans living on fixed incomes.” [audio available here]

Chris Jansing [that's her by the van] traveled to Northridge, California, just north of Los Angeles, where she found 82-year-old Betty Weinstein, stunned by a water bill, turning to a second reverse mortgage to stay in her home. But she at least still has a home. Jansing then highlighted an even sadder case:

Rising rents forced Scott and Kate Bishop to move out of this blue house and into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back.

But it got worse: “And now high food costs have meant, for first time in their lives, the Bishops have gone hungry.” Jansing cited no source for her claims as she asserted: “Soup kitchens and food banks are seeing record numbers of seniors asking for help for the first time in their lives,” but “now donations here are down as middle class donors struggle to feed their own families.”

May 2, 2008, 2:50 AM EDT

An evening after the NBC Nightly News showcased Michelle Obama's plea to move on from focusing on Jeremiah Wright because talking about him “doesn't help kids out there,” on Thursday night the newscast again provided a platform for Barack and Michelle Obama to advance their efforts to show humility and paint media coverage as unfair. Setting up a second night of excerpts from the interview the couple conducted with Meredith Vieira for the Today show, anchor Brian Williams explained how “both went out of their way to say they understand that a lot of Americans are right now trying to figure out just who Barack Obama is.”

The excerpt began with Barack Obama maintaining “it's understandable” to “raise questions” about him because he's an African-American named Barack, “so if I don't wear a flag pin, that becomes a cause for concern,” but “if John McCain doesn't wear a flag pin, look, he's a war hero.”

That prompted Vieira to empathize: “So you're treated differently, then, you think?” And to wonder to Michelle Obama: “So you never sit there and get upset about these?” Barack Obama interjected that “she stops reading the newspapers during certain spans of time” before she quipped, during loving back-and-forth joshing: “I take the paper and I ball it up and I throw it in a corner!”