Matthew Balan has been a news analyst at Media Research Center since February 2007. Previously, he worked for the Heritage Foundation from 2003 until 2006, and for Human Life International in 2006. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's in political science and history.

Latest from Matthew Balan
August 5, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT

As of Tuesday morning, ABC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Associated Press report that revealed the Obama administration's covert program in Cuba that attempted "recruit young Cubans to anti-government activism" on the communist-dominated island. The AP outlined that "over at least two years, the U.S. Agency for International Development...sent nearly a dozen neophytes from Venezuela, Costa Rica and Peru to gin up opposition in Cuba."

By contrast, both CBS This Morning and NBC's Today set aside air time to the scoop. NBC's Natalie Morales gave a 32-second news brief on the clandestine program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

August 4, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT

On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry program on Saturday, Dean Obeidallah injected race into the debate inside the U.S. over the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict: "You saw a poll last week, young people 18 to 29: only 25 percent think it's justified what Israel is doing; 50 percent said, no. People of color, same numbers...It's really the Obama coalition versus white conservatives. That's the only group saying – the majority saying what Israel is doing is justified."

During the same panel discussion, American University's Hillary Mann Leverett made a very peculiar assertion about anti-Jewish sentiment in the Middle East – that from a historical perspective, European anti-Semitism was supposedly much worse than Islamic anti-Semitism: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

August 1, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

As of 5pm ET on Friday, August 1, CNN has yet to cover the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over his possible obstruction of a commission trying to expose political corruption in the Empire State's government. Instead, New Day, the network's morning show (which is co-anchored by the governor's brother, Chris Cuomo) has covered seemingly more important stories, such as the controversy surrounding the NFL's two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.

The New York Times broke the Cuomo investigation on July 23. Since then, the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the story has been CBS This Morning. The morning show aired a full report on Friday about the possible witness tampering. Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron also covered the scandal on Friday's Happening Now: [video below the jump]

July 31, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

Carol Costello badgered Congressman Matt Salmon on Thursday's CNN Newsroom over Congress choosing to go into recess instead of dealing with issues like illegal immigration: "Congress is again the butt of jokes on late-night TV. Rome burns and lawmakers go on vacation....Why don't you guys just stay in Washington and deal with problems like immigration?"

Costello later hounded the Arizona Republican for the House of Representatives' vote to sue President Obama, and wondered, "Why didn't Republicans vote to impeach the President then?" She also rattled off a list of GOP politicians who had raised the specter of impeachment in the past: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 30, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

ABC's World News stood out as the sole Big Three evening newscast on Wednesday to not cover the release of Lois Lerner's e-mails, where the former top IRS official slammed conservatives as "a**holes" and "crazies." Instead, the news program devoted full reports to the water main that burst on the campus of UCLA and the controversy over usage charges on cell phone bills.

By contrast, NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News on Wednesday both set aside about two minutes each of air time to Lerner's "salty language," as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell put it: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 30, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT

On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams left out a key detail from his news brief about his network's upcoming live production of Peter Pan. Williams noted that "Allison Williams will play the role of Peter Pan," but left out that the actress is his first-born child.

During the 37-second news brief, the anchor mentioned that the younger Williams is "currently in the cast of Girls on HBO," and included a detail about his daughter's childhood: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 30, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

CNN's Anderson Cooper targeted former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura in a Tuesday post on Twitter, after a jury awarded the ex-governor of Minnesota over $1.8 million in damages in a defamation lawsuit against the estate of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, is the executor of her deceased husband's estate.

In the Tweet, Cooper expressed his disbelief over the lawsuit, and wondered what was wrong with Ventura: [post below the jump]

July 29, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

Tuesday's CBS This Morning broke out the kid gloves for Laverne Cox, and zeroed in on how the Orange is the New Black actor is "the first openly-transgendered woman ever nominated for an acting Emmy." Charlie Rose spotlighted how "there are people contacting you saying, my God – thank God for you being there, because they've been struggling with identity. And all of a sudden, you give them hope."

When Norah O'Donnell touted how her guest's Time magazine cover was "second to the Pope, in terms of interest online," Cox underlined the apparent divine plan behind this success, but then asserted that his biological identity was foisted upon him: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 24, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the dire situation of Christians in Iraq, particularly after ISIS's takeover of the key city of Mosul. The Islamic extremist group drove most of the Christians out of the city, and issued an ultimatum to those who remained: covert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or face death. Refreshingly, the New York Times spotlighted the crisis in a Thursday op-ed, and noted that the Christian community in Mosul has lived there for nearly 2,000 years.

The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church, Ignatius Yousef Younan III, along with Fox News Channel's Father Jonathan Morris, detailed ISIS's anti-Christian pogrom on Wednesday's Fox and Friends: [video below the jump]

July 24, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams reported the Apollo 11 astronauts' meeting with President Obama to mark the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, but failed to mention that only photo journalists were permitted to cover the event. Williams spotlighted Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins's visit to the White House, and how "with them in spirit in the Oval Office today was the late, great Neil Armstrong."

During his minute-long news brief, the anchor also pointed out a former NASA administrator's warning about the current state of the U.S. manned spaceflight program: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 23, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT

Wednesday's NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast to notice the criticism of the Obama administration banning U.S. airliners from traveling to Israel. Prominent politicians from both sides of the political spectrum, including Senator Ted Cruz and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have denounced this move by the FAA. Senator Cruz accused the administration of using the "federal regulatory agency to launch an economic boycott on Israel."

Anchor Brian Williams zeroed in on Bloomberg's blunt critique of the travel ban, as he introduced a report from correspondent Richard Engel: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 23, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

The Big Three networks' morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the Government Accountability Office's investigation of ObamaCare's sign-up process that uncovered that fraudulent documents were able to procure federal health plans and subsidies. On Wednesday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported that "undercover GAO investigators tried to obtain health plans for a dozen fictitious applicants....All but one of the fake applicants ended up getting subsidized coverage — and have kept it."

Brian Williams glossed over this GAO investigation on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, but set aside 21 seconds of air time to tout the latest enrollment numbers for ObamaCare: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 22, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

Monday's CBS Evening News was the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to cover the conviction of Azamat Tazhayakov, who was found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Jurors also convicted Tazhayakov of taking part in a "conspiracy with his off-campus roommate to hide incriminating evidence in the days immediately after the attack," as reported by the Boston Globe on Monday.

Anchor Scott Pelley gave a 19-second news brief to the conviction of the former student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 21, 2014, 4:02 PM EDT

On Sunday's Media Buzz, Senator John McCain brushed off Jon Stewart's latest blast at him over the Iraq War. Host Howard Kurtz wondered, "Is Jon Stewart fair to Republicans?" McCain bluntly answered, "No, but it doesn't matter really. He's a comedian." When Kurtz brought up Stewart's "sizable following among young people," the Republican contended that "he's a very entertaining and funny guy, but...when he says things...that are absolutely wrong, he gets away with it."

Earlier in the interview, the Fox News Channel host raised the conservative critique about the liberal media's deferential treatment of President Obama. Kurtz wondered if that was less true since his second inauguration: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

July 18, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

On Thursday, Reuters's Carey Gillam underlined that the "embattled" Catholic bishop of Kansas City, Missouri is under "scrutiny," as she covered a former church employee's lawsuit against his diocese. The litigant, Colleen Simon, asserts that "she was wrongfully fired from her salaried position as a pastoral associate after her marriage to another woman was mentioned in a local newspaper."

Gilliam spotlighted how Simon filed her suit less than a year after an arbitrator ordered Bishop Robert Finn and his diocese to pay $1.1 million to the victims of a priest who sexually abused children:

July 17, 2014, 4:44 PM EDT

The Catholic League's Bill Donohue blasted "sick man" David Letterman for his Wednesday night sketch making light about Pope Francis's recent remarks about priestly celibacy. The segment repeatedly featured a group of young women screaming ecstatically over the news that the Pope is "now thinking about lifting the celibacy requirements for priests." He also aired a fake CNN news report featuring the pontiff giving a sex ed lesson to bishops at the Vatican. [video below the jump]

Donohue's Thursday statement, titled "Letterman Should Avoid Sexual Jokes," underlined the CBS's host admission from nearly five years ago that he had sexual escapades with several of his female staffers (it should be pointed out that MRC President Brent Bozell serves on the board of advisors for the Catholic League):

July 17, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

NBC Nightly News stood out on Wednesday as the only Big Three morning or evening newscast to notice the 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the mission that landed the first men on the Moon. During his 41-second news brief, Brian Williams paid tribute to Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins as "the living embodiment of the right stuff."

Williams also pointed out that "Apollo 11 was the culmination of the space race – a dead sprint against the Russians for a decade, who, these days, ironically, offer the only ride to space for our American astronauts." However, the anchor did not go into the detail about the decisions by President Obama and his predecessor that led to the U.S. not currently having a manned spaceflight program.

July 16, 2014, 11:33 PM EDT

Anthony Mason spotlighted the death of comic book character Archie Andrews on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, and pointed out that "it all ends...when an adult Archie takes a bullet aimed by a stalker at a gay friend." Mason turned to the comics' publisher, Jon Goldwater, and wondered if he was "trying to make a political statement with this comic book" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].

Goldwater denied that he was doing so, even though he underlined that "gun violence is too prevalent in this country, and we should do everything we can to prevent it." However, just hours earlier on NPR's Morning Edition, he hinted that he was indeed making a political statement:

July 16, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT

Wednesday's CBS Evening News unsurprisingly spotlighted a recent study that asserted that turbulence will become more common due to climate change during a news brief about the injuries on an international flight that encountered such unsettled air. Anchor Scott Pelley played up how "one British study predicts that this kind of turbulence will increase significantly in the future because of climate change" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].

By contrast, Brian Williams used his brief on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News to remind his viewers of the safety recommendation flight attendants regularly cite in order to prevent such injuries:

July 15, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

Michelle Andrews spotlighted the silver lining for social liberals in a Tuesday item for NPR.org about the aftermath of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling. Andrews underlined that "women in most health plans will still be able to get their birth control covered with no out-of-pocket expenses," even after the five to four decision.

The writer turned to a policy expert at the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, which she merely labeled a "research and policy organization that focuses on reproductive health," but failed to cite any pro-lifers for their take on the issue: