Matthew Balan

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Contributing Writer


Matthew Balan was a news analyst at Media Research Center from February 2007 until February 2017. Previously, he worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2006, and for Human Life International in 2006. He is an alumnus of the University of Delaware.

Latest from Matthew Balan

On Thursday, ABC and NBC aired their first reports on the beyond disturbing Facebook video of a racially-tinged attack by African American young adults on a mentally-disabled white man in Chicago. Good Morning America and Today, along with CBS This Morning, aired full reports on the heinous kidnapping and torture. All of the morning newscasts featured the "anti-Trump rhetoric," as Today put it, of the suspects. The CBS show stood out, however, for failing to explicitly mention the race of the assailants.


Danielle Kurtzleben played up in a Tuesday item for NPR's website that "just one of the 535 members of the new Congress" is nonreligious. Kurtzleben underlined that "the nation's top legislative body remains far more male and white than the rest of the U.S. population...but religion is one of the more invisible areas where legislators in Washington simply aren't representative of the people they represent." However, the correspondent later revealed that this members of this demographic hold some responsibility for this under-representation.


CNN's Wolf Blitzer boosted the NAACP's protest of Senator Jeff Sessions at his office in Mobile, Alabama. Blitzer set aside over five and a half minutes of air time on Tuesday's Situation Room to an interview of the liberal organization's president, and gave him a platform to attack the attorney general nominee. The NAACP leader even likened his sit-in to the famous 1965 civil rights march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The following morning, ABC's GMA spotlighted the protest during a 28-second news brief.


On Tuesday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello played up the possible fining of the congressional Democrats who organized the pro-gun control sit-in on the House floor in June 2016. Costello asked one of the sit-in participants, Rep. Steve Cohen, if he was "afraid" of the proposed punishment, and boosted a liberal talking point on the issue: "Some people might say that Republicans are trying to exert total control over the Congress, so they can get things done, and marginalize Democrats. Do you think this is all part of that critique?"


The Washington Post and The Daily Beast targeted the dogma of the virgin birth of Jesus to Mary of Nazareth, mere days before Christmas, the holiday where Christians mark this central tenet of their faith. Ruth Everhart claimed in her December 16, 2016 item for the Post's Acts of Faith site that the Christian churches have turned Mary's story into an "idol of sexual purity." Heterodox scholar Candida Moss followed two days later in a Daily Beast article that touted the question of whether or not Jesus's mother was actually a virgin.


Wednesday's CBS This Morning deemed a Facebook post from Senator Bernie Sanders worthy of a 55-second short report. Norah O'Donnell noted how the left-wing politician "criticized some of the Cabinet picks" from President-Elect Donald Trump. She quoted from Sanders, who asserted that "the American people are going to have to organize and fight back against this reactionary movement toward oligarchy." Alex Wagner also cited how the Vermont senator "singled out" two of the nominations in particular, and zeroed in on how the EPA pick is "a skeptic of climate change."


None of the Big Three networks' Monday evening newscasts, nor ABC and NBC's morning shows on Tuesday, covered how President Obama set a one-day record for pardons and commutations on Monday. ABC's GMA on Tuesday apparently thought Merriam-Webster's 2016 'Word of the Year' more important, as it devoted 45 seconds of air time to that story. The same morning, NBC's Today also didn't cover the pardons record, but set aside a minute and 23 seconds to a help line for the board game Monopoly in the United Kingdom.


CNN's Chris Cuomo contended on Monday's New Day that Trump's pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is "one of the most controversial choices the President-elect has made for his Cabinet." Cuomo labeled Friedman "hardliner" or "hardline" during a segment with former Ambassador Martin Indyk. He also pointed out the "very controversial territory" of the would-be diplomat supporting moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and oddly highlighted that "the Christians lay claim to Jerusalem."


On Thursday, Newsweek's Lucy Westcott forwarded possible excuses for Yasmin Seweid's fake account about anti-Muslim men attacking her on New York City's subway. Westcott spotlighted an activist who played up that young Muslim women, like Seweid, are "children of either immigrant parents or U.S.-born Muslims, and parents have high expectations of them, putting [them under] tremendous pressure." She also pointed out an online post from Seweid's sister, who asked people to "think why Muslim [women of color] felt the need to do this."


A Thursday op-ed on CNN.com outlined a proposal to "not only...end a Trump administration, but also to eradicate democracy's ugliest anachronism -- the Electoral College." Scott Piro hoped against hope that a group of Trump electors would switch their vote to Hillary Clinton, in order to gain "the bipartisan support needed to legislate it [the Electoral College] out of existence." Piro contended that "if enough Trump electors voted for Clinton instead, it would give Republicans their own, distinct reason to loathe the Electoral College." 


CNN's Dana Bash paid tribute to retiring Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski on Wednesday's New Day, touting that "it's the end of the Obama and the Mikulski eras; and the trail-blazing senator walked out the door — dropping important pearls of wisdom." Bash played up how the longtime Maryland politician is "retiring disappointed. Her old Senate colleague [Hillary Clinton] failed to become the first female president." She later underlined that "it's not just Mikulski's feminism that makes Clinton's defeat so crushing. It's that that her own Democratic Party lost touch with...working-class voters."


On Monday's CNN Tonight, Don Lemon and his panel refreshingly condemned "safe spaces" on college campuses. Lemon raised how some student Trump supporters have called for their own "safe spaces." Dennis Prager recognized the "legitimate factor here that kids who did vote for Trump are ostracized," but added, "I'm still against the safe space even for conservative students." Professor Todd Gitlin defended the right of white nationalists, such as Richard Spencer, to speak on campus. Carl Bernstein bluntly shot down "the idea that we have interference in the process of free speech on campuses" as being "outrageous on its face."


As of Monday morning, NBC's Today and CNN's New Day have yet to cover the deadly terrorist attack on a Coptic Christian church in Cairo, Egypt on Sunday. The NBC morning newscast's omission is particularly conspicuous, as Sunday's NBC Nightly News devoted a full report to the bombing. CBS's Sunday Morning gave the attack a one-sentence mention on December 11, 2016. However, CBS This Morning didn't cover it on Monday. ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the anti-Christian bombing in passing on Sunday, but didn't report on it on Monday.


CBS Evening News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover the bomb theat on a Trump construction project in the South American country of Uruguay. Scott Pelley devoted ten seconds to the threat, which forced the evacuation of the planned high rise. ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News didn't cover the evacuation on their Friday broadcasts. However, both programs devoted news briefs to actor Kirk Douglas's 100th birthday.


On Thursday's CNN Newsroom, Carol Costello boosted liberal criticism of President-Elect Donald Trump picking several retired generals to his Cabinet. She first asked former Obama Cabinet member Janet Napolitano, "Democrats — they're worried that Mr. Trump has picked so many generals....Does that concern you?" The anchor later hyped that "some...say a militarized view of America got us into...the Iraq War. It created problems at Abu Ghraib. It created the mess that is now Guantanamo Bay. So, do they have a point?"


Chuck Todd joined colleagues Mark Murray and Carrie Dann in a Wednesday article on NBC's First Read blog that decried President-Elect Donald Trump's "dangerous game of...picking winners and losers" in the economy. The trio oddly wondered, "Despite all of the corporate criticism of President Obama's first few years in office...has Trump intervened more in companies -- directly and individually -- in his month as president-elect more than Obama ever did?"


NPR's Morning Edition on Tuesday touted how many "anti-poverty advocates across the political spectrum" are now "worried" after President-Elect Donald Trump picked Dr. Ben Carson to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Correspondent Pam Fessler spotlighted how "advocates fear the worst — that it will lead to deep cuts in programs to reduce homelessness, and to subsidize affordable housing." However, Fessler didn't mention that her first "advocate" worked in the Obama administration, and the second donated to his presidential campaign.


On Monday's CNN Newsroom, The Daily Beast's Dean Obeidallah bewailed the apparent power of "fake news," particularly after the Sunday shooting at a Washington, D.C. restaurant at the center of the "Pizzagate" issue. Obeidallah proposed a hypothetical scenario: "I wonder if a Muslim guy went to a pizza place with a gun...how that would have went down — I think much worse." The liberal pundit later claimed that "Donald Trump...is the great purveyor of fake news," and that "good people [are] misinformed; and in this case, this man was radicalized online. This is no different than ISIS radicalizing someone."


TheRoot.com's Jason Johnson unleashed on Donald Trump on Friday's CNN Newsroom, after the President-Elect called for unity at his Thursday rally in Ohio: "I don't believe anything that Donald Trump says about unity. I can see that from the administration that he's picked. I can see that from the policies he's proposed." Johnson targeted the billionaire for an apparent lack of women and "people of color" in his Cabinet. The guest also blasted his senior advisor, Steve Bannon: "He has a website that terrorists – white nationalist terrorists – consider to be their home base; consider to be their personal bible."


Jill Filipovic wildly claimed that "sex is about to get a lot less fun" in a Thursday op-ed on CNN.com. Filipovic pointed the finger at Donald Trump nominating ObamaCare opponent, Rep. Tom Price, to be HHS secretary, and claimed the move is "just one peek at what Trump's notorious misogyny will look like when it's translated into policy." The Cosmopolitan contributor zeroed in on ObamaCare's "provision that full covers contraception," and claimed that if the controversial law is repealed, many women would no longer be able to "enjoy recreational sex without suffering economically, professionally or medically from an unwanted pregnancy."