Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center
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” (highlight video clips on NewsBusters), 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.
Latest from Brent Baker
Even after all the e-mails and information has come out over the past few weeks proving dissembling by President Obama himself and other administration officials on what they knew about the Benghazi attack and how their public pronouncements did not match reality, NBC’s Brian Williams, on Thursday’s Rock Center, treated President Obama as a victim of bad intelligence who is struggling to find the truth.
Incredible. The perfect definition of “in the tank.”
Williams spent a couple of days with Obama for campaign travelogue pieces which consumed the first 25 minutes of the prime time hour. In Colorado with Obama on Wednesday afternoon, Williams posed this obsequious question:
A night after NBC’s Brian Williams used a series of interview sessions with President Barack Obama to express bewilderment Obama is not running away with the presidential race, the anchor touted Colin Powell’s endorsement, pressed Obama from the left to go further in denouncing Republicans on abortion and cued up the President to decry the high level of campaign spending.
It was Williams’ “third interview with him in the past 24 hours” leading up to multiple segment on tonight’s (Thursday) Rock Center at 10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT.
“The high point of that debate for Romney is when he devastatingly leveled the charge of Obama going around the world on ‘an apology tour,’” Charles Krauthammer asserted on the Fox News Channel following Monday night’s third presidential debate. But what Krauthammer saw as so powerful for Mitt Romney, ABC and CNN tried to discredit based on the flimsy reasoning that Obama didn’t use the word “apologize.”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl insisted: “The President didn’t apologize for America...there’s no way you could really call it ‘an apology tour.’” With a big “False” on screen, CNN’s John Berman decided: “Our verdict here is it is false to call the President’s speeches ‘an apology tour’ even if he was critical of past U.S. foreign policy. He issued no apologies.”
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, who three weeks ago derided Mitt Romney for how he “acts...as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes,” on Sunday’s Meet the Press dismissed concerns over how the Obama administration handled Benghazi before and after the attacks. “To me,” he declared, “this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos ludicrously argued: “Hasn’t the White House been relatively transparent?”
The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto on Thursday offered a plausible explanation for why President Barack Obama, during Tuesday night’s debate, felt confident he could count on moderator Candy Crowley of CNN to back him up on how he had uttered the phrase “acts of terror” the day after the Benghazi attack.
On her CNN State of the Union show back on September 30, Crowley interviewed David Axelrod and during that segment she was as incredulous as Mitt Romney was at the debate that Obama had initially referred to “acts of terror” in any relationship to Benghazi.
A not so undecided “undecided voter.” At 10:12 AM EDT Wednesday on CNN, faux “undecided voter” Susan Katz, who had asked Mitt Romney at the debate the night before how he’s different from George W. Bush, told Carol Costello she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and plans to do so again this year because “I saw in President Obama someone who has ripened with time who deserves another four years to see his vision through.” (“Ripened”?)
A little more than eight hours later, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, on Nightly News, looked at debate reaction from “undecided voters chosen to ask questions” who “were not entirely happy with what they heard,” starting with Susan Katz whom Mitchell showcased trashing Romney for liking “to be in charge,” as if that’s a bad thing for a President.
A gratuitous shot at Rush Limbaugh is coming in tonight’s (Wednesday) episode of ABC’s Modern Family sit-com.
In a promo clip played during the network’s post-debate coverage Tuesday evening, “Jay,” played by actor Ed O’Neill, tells a female character: “You’re huge and you’re loud. It’s like sleeping with Rush Limbaugh.”
With New York Times political reporter Jeff Zeleny sitting next to her on the Fox News Sunday set, radio host Laura Ingraham demanded: “I would hope that the New York Times, as they camped outside of Scooter Libby’s house, during the whole Valerie Plame thing -- are you guys camped out of the Susan Rice residence?” After reciting the administration’s dissembling, she concluded: “This is ridiculous and I think the press is partly culpable here.”
Zeleny avoided her point and instead contended Mitt Romney has an opening at the next debate to question President Obama, conceding Obama “hasn’t really explained himself and they have a lot of questions to answer.”
A week ago this morning, St. Louis Post-Dispatch readers awoke to the newspaper’s presidential endorsement editorial, “Obama for president: A second term for a serious man.” Yet it was very hard to take the editorial seriously.
“Ideologically, the P-D is similar to the New York Times, but it’s so knuckleheaded that it almost makes the Times look sophisticated,” the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto observed the next day, passing along how “we had some good laughs at the P-D’s editorial yesterday endorsing Obama’s re-election.”
An Obama voter who assumes if he can lower the seas then local transportation departments can get deer to obey highway signs? A woman called a Fargo, North Dakota radio station last month to complain about how she’d hit three deer with her car over the years and wants deer crossing signs moved so the deer will cross less busy roads – as if deer read and follow roadside signage! Is she for real? Listen and judge for yourself.
“Why are we encouraging deer to cross at the interstates?” She insisted: “They can direct the deer population anywhere they want to by moving the deer crossing sign.”
Bill Maher likes to deride conservatives for living “inside a bubble” where they consume news from only those with whom they agree and so are unaware of the “facts,” but he could just as well be describing the insular world of himself or others in the liberal media.
Case in point: An NPR and Washington Post contributor who spends her days reading left-wing magazines and watching MSNBC, to the exclusion of any conservative news sources, so much so that she conceded: “My 14-year-old daughter can rattle off the entire MSNBC line-up, so that should tell you something about our household viewing habits.”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer spent a solid four minutes of her interview with President Barack Obama, as excerpted at the top of Wednesday’s World News, channeling liberal angst over Obama’s debate performance – and that’s before she allocated more than a minute to cuing up Obama to denounce a Mitt Romney comment on abortion. She prompted Obama with a harsh assessment of Romney: “Is it a lie?”
“Libya” was not even uttered in the Sawyer-Obama segment. Viewers had to wait until the next story, by Jake Tapper, on the House hearing which laid out the administration’s dissembling on what happened in Libya when Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered. Then viewers got 20 seconds -- more than half of that consumed by Obama’s defense and assurance he’ll “fix” anything that wasn’t done properly.
Liberals, Peggy Noonan noted on Sunday’s This Week roundtable, want Mitt Romney “to be more specific so that you can rouse people against” budget cuts to any program. Indeed, earlier in the program, host George Stephanopoulos cited Romney’s wish to end the federal subsidy for PBS, pointing out how PBS “only takes about 1/100th of one percent of budget” and asking if “it a mistake to target” Big Bird?
On Friday night, NBC’s Brian Williams provided a full brief in defense of PBS’s subsidy, misleadingly suggesting the end of the federal subsidy would mean the end to children’s television programming and forwarding its small share of the federal budget as a justification for it, but if you can’t eliminate the small stuff how will you ever take on the big stuff?
Catching up with an item from Wednesday, add actor Henry Winkler to the long list in Hollywood of those wishing for President Obama’s re-election, taking a swipe at Mitt Romney in the process. “I hope that the man who actually cares about 300 million Americans as opposed to very few is re-elected,” Winkler told Nikki Schwab for the Washington Examiner’s “Yeas & Nays” column.
In DC to promote medical research on upper limb spasticity, Winkler informed Schwab that’s he’s never met Barack Obama, but “I would like to get his autograph one day.”
A revelatory humorous moment on Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO: A single member of his studio audience supports Mitt Romney. How’d he get in?
When Republican political consultant Frank Luntz predicted Barack Obama would win re-election, loud applause broke out from those in the studio at CBS Television City in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. “How many of you out there support Mitt Romney?” A single person clapping could be heard, prompting Luntz to quip: “That’s the sound of one percent.”
David Letterman is a Barack Obama sycophant (he once fawned over Obama’s “great courage and great intelligence”), but even he couldn’t deny Obama’s poor debate performance.
Thursday’s Late Show featured a clever parody of Lilly’s ad for their anti-depression drug, Cymbalta, a spoof with scenes of Obama during Wednesday’s presidential debate dropped into the real TV ad.
All Clint Eastwood wanted to convey at the Republican convention “is that maybe our government would be as fiscally responsible as he is,” comedian/actor Tom Dreesen, a friend of Eastwood’s, explained Friday night on CBS’s Late Show. “And that’s all he came to say.”
David Letterman asked Dreesen, who has a role in Eastwood’s new movie, Trouble with the Curve, about Eastwood’s much-ridiculed by the media monologue with an imaginary President Obama. Dreesen declared the acting icon “has more integrity than almost any man I’ve ever met.”
For the second week in a row, on Sunday morning CBS’s Bob Schiefer identified Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s problem as not that’s he’s been too timid in laying out an alternative to President Obama but, in the tired media mantra of many election cycles, that he’s too conservative. He pressed guest Newt Gingrich: “Do you think that Mitt Romney’s got to move a little bit more toward the center here as we come toward the election?”
Last Sunday, in discussing Romney’s challenge in connecting with voters, Schieffer wondered: “Does any of this go back to the fact that what if, in the beginning” he “had said, ‘Look, I’m a moderate. You know, I know we have conservatives in this party and I know we have the Tea Party, but the fact is I’m a moderate...’”
Demonstrating that he would have made the same news judgments hostile to Mitt Romney as those who succeeded him at ABC News, in an address Thursday night to students at Quinnipiac University, Charles Gibson declared “the Republican Party has done Romney no favors by forcing him so far to the right that he may not be able to scramble back by November 6th,” castigated Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge as “absurd, absolutely absurd” and denigrated as “silly” the point that 47 percent don’t pay federal income tax.
He fretted, yet “it becomes a legitimate subject for debate for a lot of people who are Governor Romney supporters.”
Repeating a common mythology that a person’s federal income tax rate equals the effective tax rate they actually pay after deductions, ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Friday night forwarded the canard that Mitt Romney’s 14.1 percent rate is lower than what a $75,000 earner pays. NBC’s Peter Alexander, however, correctly noted “the average middle class American family pays roughly 13 percent.”
On World News, Karl reported that Mitt Romney “made $13.7 million last year and paid nearly $2 million in taxes. His effective tax rate, 14.1 percent.” Then, without citing any source, Karl asserted: “That’s a lower rate than an auto mechanic who made $75,000 in pay.”