George Will marveled in his column late last week over how “a CNN anchor wondered if an asteroid that passed by Earth on Feb. 15 was ‘an effect of, perhaps, global warming.’” That quote, however, isn’t new to you if you’ve been reading NewsBusters or attended the MRC’s 2013 “DisHonors Awards” where that was a runner-up in the “Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis.”
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.
A prime time plug Thursday night for the joy of voting for Barack Obama. “I’m really into this. You know, elections and voting, it really means a lot to me. I mean, casting my ballot for Obama in ‘08 was one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done,” enthused “Jasmine Trussell,” played by Joy Bryant, on Parenthood, the NBC drama about the multi-generational “Braverman” family in suburban San Francisco.
Lee Harvey Oswald was far-left defector to the Soviet Union, but you’d never know that from Sunday’s ABC This Week which focused on Dallas as a cauldron of segregationist hate for President Kennedy without any mention of the political orientation of the actual assassin.
Using Dan Rather as his expert, ex-CBS and current ABC reporter Byron Pitts perpetuated the myth that right-wing hate was somehow responsible for what occurred in Dallas: “Nowhere in Texas did the jagged edge of segregation cut deeper, anti-Kennedy sentiment spew any stronger. This flyer [“Wanted for Treason”] greeted the President when he arrived.”
Exhibit A on Friday night for how the news media are an impediment to any rational discussion of reining in federal spending. “The ax falls for more than 47 million Americans struggling to put food on the table as tonight time has run out,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ominously and fatuously intoned Friday night, as if payments to them are about to be eliminated.
Spending on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps,” will increase “over the next decade by 57 percent,” as the number of Americans on the program has doubled under Obama, yet NBC focused on the victims of “cuts.”
Jumping in to excuse President Obama for making the false promise (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”), ABC News on Tuesday night rationalized how ObamaCare is simply saving people in the individual market from being victims of awful policies forced upon them by insurance companies.
On World News, Jim Avila cited the case of Julie Prince, who has been notified her policy will be canceled. Avila turned to an ObamaCare advocate and asked: “Julie tells us that she doesn’t have hospital care on this cheap insurance plan. Is that dangerous?” Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union agreed: “Absolutely. That’s on enormous hole in her coverage.”
David Callaway, Editor-in-Chief of USA Today, is so upset by Republicans using the HealthCare.gov roll-out mess to discredit ObamaCare, that he penned an op-ed for Friday’s edition of the national newspaper to dismiss the problems as a blip with no relevance to the overall program.
Headlined “Obama’s Y2K moment,” Callaway unpersuasively equated the current situation of the ongoing dysfunctional HeathCare.gov with the concerns before January 1, 2000 about how that date change could cause computer havoc. But it did not, so he equated an actual technology mess with one that never occurred, contending the current situation is just like Y2K – a big nothing.
Some more bashing of Sarah Palin on Sunday night’s episode of CBS’s The Good Wife, but the scene also managed to deliver an illustrative dramatization of liberals in a bubble displaying arrogant condescension toward those who dare stray from liberal orthodoxy – and how they learn to despise the Fox News Channel via Jon Stewart.
A couple who are old college friends of liberal lawyer “Diane Lockhart” visit and meet her fiancé, Gary Cole as Sarah Palin supporter, gun owner and ballistics expert “Kurt McVeigh.” An appalled “Francesca” despairs: “But his views, Diane. All his views. He supports Sarah Palin!”
As anybody knows, who watched Charles Krauthammer accept the “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence” last month at the MRC’s 2013 DisHonors Awards and Gala, Charles Krauthammer is capable of delivering funny lines and humorous anecdotes.
On Friday’s Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, Krauthammer offered a joke in explaining why the ending of the government shutdown – with the resumption of the “Panda-Cam” – meant a panda at the National Zoo was his “loser” of the week.
“Wow, so you actually worked for Obama on his campaign in 2008!?” So gushed “Kristina Braverman,” played by Monica Potter, on last week’s episode of NBC’s Parenthood, a prime time drama about the extended, three-generation Braverman family in suburban San Francisco.
(A new episode airs tonight, Thursday, at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT).
From the debate over ObamaCare over the past few years, Bob Schieffer learned not of all the problems that need to be addressed or that it lacks public support, but that it should have been enacted without delay so critics would have been thwarted. “The opponents of this have had two years to just go at it from all different angles,” he lamented.
The Washington Post’s Colby King took another stab Saturday at impugning and discrediting the Tea Party as a bunch of racists who are little more than an extension of the Confederacy. In a column titled “The rise of the New Confederacy,” King, a regular on Inside Washington, argued: “Today there is a New Confederacy, an insurgent political force that has captured the Republican Party and is taking up where the Old Confederacy left off in its efforts to bring down the federal government.”
“After the President vetoed several spending bills, not one story blamed him for the shutdown, but nearly two dozen declared the GOP culpable. Furloughed workers and other ‘victims’ were featured in half the stories.” Sound familiar? That’s from a 1996 Media Research Center study on the battle between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. Yes, the current shutdown showdown is deja vu all over again in who gets blamed.
To help illustrate the very familiar media tone and approach, I’ve put three clips together out of the MRC archive, starting with Bob Schieffer anchoring the Saturday, December 16, 1995 CBS Evening News: “Well, they’ve done it again. Nine days from Christmas, Republicans have forced another partial shutdown of the government because they cannot come to an agreement with the White House on how to balance the budget.”
Resurrecting an ideological tag from the 1980s media era, on Monday’s CBS Evening News, the network’s chief Washington correspondent, Bob Schieffer, fretted over how “ultra-conservatives” in the House – a label he used twice – are making a mess of things.
In defiance of reality illustrated in numerous polls, on Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer scolded Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn when she correctly asserted “there is only partisan support” for ObamaCare. Schieffer cut her off: “Well now Congresswoman, that’s not entirely true. The polls don’t suggest that. Polls say that most people favor it.”
Never mind Rush Limbaugh’s warnings about misguided “low information voters.” CNN stumbled upon some best dubbed “zero information voters” – though one hopes they are never allowed near a ballot box.
Finding confirmation for a Kaiser Family Foundation poll which found 43 percent of those without health insurance “still have no idea about the new exchanges,” one man speculated ObamaCare “has something to do with caring about people” and another demanded to know: “I’m just wondering, as a citizen of America, how come I did not hear of this?”
PBS put its late-night leftism on display on Meet the Press when PBS host Tavis Smiley used his slot, on the Sunday morning NBC News show’s panel, to regret President Barack Obama’s supposed touting of “American Exceptionalism” and claim the presumed desire of conservatives in the House, to shut down the federal government, means “we are going to lose our democracy. It’s that serious.”
Smiley fretted that “the President recently, much to my chagrin, spoke of, advanced once again, this notion of American Exceptionalism, and clearly he isn’t the only one in town who likes to push that notion that we as Americans are exceptional.”
Imagine a major news network anchor, in 1985, telling President Reagan that five years into his presidency rising income inequality wasn’t his fault. Ludicrous, given how the media used the term Reaganomics to denigrate his policies, policies far more successful than President Obama’s in turning around an inherited poor economy.
Yet in a sit-down with Barack Obama for ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos compliantly excused Obama’s failure: “Do you look at that four and a half years in and say, maybe a President can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”
Friday in Russia, President Obama let slip that putting Congress on the hook, or in a political bind, was part of his calculus in asking for their approval for an attack on Syria, but twice on Sunday morning ABC’s George Stephanopoulos misquoted Obama’s admission. Obama maintained: “I did not put this before Congress, you know, just as a political ploy or as symbolism.”
Yet on Sunday’s Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos quoted Obama: “Listen to what he said Friday night in Russia: ‘I did not put this’ – this resolution – ‘before Congress as a political ploy or symbolism.’” Later, on This Week, he again left off the very relevant “just” as he mis-characterized Obama back to White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough: “He said his call to Congress was not a political ploy or symbolism.”
PBS’s Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill provided a tag team of Obama idolatry in their interview with President Barack Obama at the White House following Wednesday’s March on Washington anniversary event, gently pressing him from the left and treating him as a victim of racist opposition as Gwen Ifill forwarded the theory “you are a victim of partisan racial gridlock.”
When, in the session carried on the PBS NewsHour, Obama fretted “we have increasing inequality in this society,” Judy Woodruff buttered up Obama by first hailing how “you’ve been able to do -- help the country in many ways,” yet problems – remarkably – still remain, so “how much does it weigh on you that your policies haven’t made more of a difference in those areas?”
Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, who oversees the IRS, made the rounds of four Sunday morning TV talk shows (all but CBS’s Face the Nation) to promote President Obama’s latest “pivot” to the economy, but ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and CNN’s Candy Crowley failed to take advantage of the opportunity to press him on the IRS scandal.
NBC’s David Gregory squeezed a question in at the very end of their session, but then didn’t follow up on Lew’s insistence “there’s no evidence of any political involvement.” Gregory: “Mr. Secretary, I’ll leave it there. Thank you as always.”