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

Friday's CBS This Morning heralded how supposedly, "Pope Francis is already being described as one of the most progressive popes in modern times" after six months as Bishop of Rome. Charlie D'Agata asserted that the pontiff is "the friendly face of the Vatican, the people's pope", and played up how Francis' apparent "spirit of spontaneity, openness, and inclusion has courted controversy...It includes extending an olive branch to the gay community." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News also underlined how Pope Francis seemingly "has changed the tone in a church plagued by the sex abuse scandal, emphasizing Church teaching on helping the poor and social justice....it's not just what the new pope says that's a sign of a changing church – it's what he does – getting close to people...enjoying the crowds that flock to him."


As of Thursday morning, CBS's morning and evening newscasts have yet to mention a revelation made by their own investigative correspondent, Sharyl Attkisson, on Tuesday – that Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress "he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."

Wednesday's CBS Evening News aired a full report on the State Department's slow progress in upgrading security at U.S. diplomatic posts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack, but failed to mention Kerry's refusal. Margaret Brennan also let the Obama administration and Senator Robert Menendez hint that congressional Republicans were to blame for not appropriating the $2.2 billion needed for the security upgrades. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]


Wednesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning show to devote a full report to Colorado voters recalling two pro-gun control state legislators. Barry Petersen highlighted how "those who oppose gun control have a lot to celebrate" with the recall, and how "those backing the two senators spent seven times more money – $3.2 million" than the gun rights supporters who spearheaded the campaign [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].

By contrast, NBC's Today on Wednesday didn't devote a second of air time to the Colorado recall election. Instead, they set aside 36 seconds of reporting to Hillary Clinton receiving the Liberty Medal. ABC's Good Morning America also minimized their coverage, as they merely broadcasted a 16-second news brief on the story.


The Big Three network morning shows on Wednesday briefly noted the one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, but not one pointed out the latest development in the ongoing controversy over what happened. On Tuesday, CBS correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported on Twitter that Secretary of State John Kerry "tells [C]ongress he will not honor the request to make Benghazi survivors available for questioning."

Norah O'Donnell highlighted on Wednesday's CBS This Morning that "Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to interview survivors" and that "he's giving the State Department until Monday to meet his demand", but didn't mention Kerry's refusal. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]


On Monday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose cited how Hillary Clinton once referred to Bashar al-Assad as a "reformer", but didn't use the former secretary of state's name in his question to the Syrian despot. When al-Assad asked to specify who had called him a "reformer, " Rose vaguely replied, "People who write about you; people who talk about you; people who analyze Syria and your regime." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

The veteran PBS host continued, "Now, they say – their words – a 'butcher' – comparisons to the worst dictators ever to walk on the face of the earth...Everything they could say bad about a dictator, they're now saying about you." The Middle Eastern dictator answered by bizarrely likening himself to a doctor:


On Friday's CBS This Morning, Mark Phillips all but hinted that Pope Francis had "taken sides" with Russia's Vladimir Putin and against President Obama in the international debate over military strikes in Syria. Phillips proposed that the Pope's letter to Putin "must have been music to the Russian president's ears."

The journalist also turned to a "Vatican historian" who once publicly attacked Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, as a "dictator", and likened him to Islamists. He also labeled the Pope's upcoming prayer and fasting vigil for peace in Syria a "religious street protest." [audio available here; video below the jump]


[Update, Friday, 1:45 pm Eastern: Carol Costello is standing by her anti-Limbaugh Tweet, according to a report on TVNewser blog. The unnamed CNN spokesperson claimed Costello's Tweet was deleted, but it's actually still up -- see link below.]

Someone pass the smelling salts. Liberal CNN host Carol Costello expressed her disgust over conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh's upcoming children's book, "Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims." Costello first snarked on Twitter about Limbaugh's book announcement: "Um. Oh. Seriously?" Minutes later, the on-air personality Tweeted, "I'm a little sick now."

Costello's openly slanted post was the first response to a Huffington Post Tweet on Limbaugh's book. [Update, Thursday, 5:55 pm Eastern: second paragraph corrected, as Costello's Tweet is actually still visible on her timeline.]


Wednesday's CBS Evening News twice underlined President Obama's 2012 "red line" remark before playing a soundbite of the Democrat's "I didn't set a red line" reversal earlier in the day. Scott Pelley noted that "a year ago, he [Obama] warned the Syrian dictator that a red line would be crossed if the dictator used chemical weapons against his rebellious citizens." Major Garrett soon added that Obama "set a red line on the use of chemical weapons 13 months ago." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

None of the Big Three evening newscasts played the actual clip of the President's 2012 warning. On NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd did his best to explain away the President's denial: "The President redefined what he meant by his red line". Jonathan Karl didn't even mention the original "red line" comment during his report on ABC's World News.


On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford boosted the latest pro-ObamaCare campaign from the President's supporters in Hollywood. Crawford played back-to-back soundbites from liberal comedian Will Ferrell's "Funny or Die" website, and highlighted the list of celebrities who have signed up for the campaign.

The correspondent did later acknowledge that the controversial law is still "deeply unpopular", and featured a clip from a recent anti-ObamaCare ad released by the Crossroads GPS super PAC [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].


Tuesday's CBS This Morning spotlighted the upcoming one-year anniversary of the Islamist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, but whitewashed the role of President Obama and his administration, including that of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell, and Gayle King didn't once mention Obama or Clinton's name during an interview segment with author Fred Burton.

In his new book, Burton revealed that "an unidentified security official in the Benghazi compound...messaged the U.S. embassy in Tripoli: 'Benghazi under fire, terrorist attack.'" However, Rose only vaguely referenced the White House's now-discredited talking point about the terrorist attack: "Does this book and your understanding of it suggest that everybody knew it was a planned attack, and not a surprise arising out of a protest?" [audio available here; video below the jump]


Friday's CBS This Morning ballyhooed the Justice Department's recent move to relax enforcement of laws against marijuana in the several states that have legalized medical or recreational use of the drug. Gayle King heralded the "historic new regulations", while Bill Whitaker failed to include talking heads who oppose this move by the Obama administration [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump].

By contrast, ABC and NBC's morning newscasts minimized their coverage of the story on Friday. ABC's Good Morning America granted a mere 17 seconds of air time to the federal government's decision, while devoting 25 seconds to the plight of two kittens that strayed onto subway tracks in New York City.


On Thursday's CBS This Morning, Jeff Pegues spotlighted the lack of GOP speakers at the 50th anniversary commemoration of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech: "Noticeably absent from this event, the GOP...the two most senior Republicans in the House...were invited to speak but declined." However, Pegues failed to mention that the event organizers didn't make much of an effort to get Republican Tim Scott, the only current black U.S. senator, to speak.

The correspondent also zeroed in on former President Bill Clinton's dubious claim during his speech at the commemoration – that "a great democracy does not make it harder to vote than to buy an assault weapon." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]


Douglas Brinkley predictably fawned over President Obama's apparently "very beautifully written" address marking the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, mere moments after he finished delivering it: "I think it's one of the great speeches that Barack Obama's ever delivered." [audio available here; video below the jump]

Scott Pelley turned to Brinkley during CBS's special coverage of the anniversary rally. The liberal historian was quick to sing the President's praises:


Wednesday's CBS This Morning shamelessly promoted President Obama's upcoming address commemorating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1963 "I have a dream" speech by featuring nothing but race-related clips from the President's past speeches. Jeff Pegues hyped the "big names" set to speak at the anniversary celebration, but underlined "the headliner: the nation's first black president, delivering a speech and standing where Dr. King did half a century ago."

Pegues also hyped how the President's July 2013 remarks about Trayvon Martin were "surprisingly revealing", and played up how the Democratic executive has "walked a fine line addressing the issue of race and equality, trying to voice the concerns of African-Americans while attempting to avoid alienating whites." [audio clips available here; video below the jump]


Anthony Mason played up President Obama's $89 restaurant tip on Monday's CBS This Morning, underlining that "when it comes to tips, President Obama is tops." However, the network has yet to cover a Monday story from the New York Times that pointed out the "uncomfortable reality for the White House: the administration has named no more women to high-level executive branch posts than the Clinton administration." [audio clip available here; video below the jump]

In fact, none of the Big Three networks have covered writer Annie Lowery's scoop on the air, which cited critics of the President from the left on the issue of the administration's Cabinet gender gap.


CBS This Morning was the sole Big Three morning newscast on Thursday to report that delivery company UPS was cutting health insurance to 15,000 spouses of employees due to the rising costs related to ObamaCare. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today both failed to cover this latest development concerning the controversial law. [audio available here; video below the jump]

The CBS program devoted a news brief and a two-and-a-half minute segment to UPS being "one of the first major companies to directly blame ObamaCare for changes in coverage." When host Gayle King wondered if the company's move was "a bad thing to do", analyst Mellody Hobson actually replied that "it's actually not, because, at the end of the day, the spouse will be covered."


On Monday's Morning Edition on NPR, Cokie Roberts did little to hide her feelings about the Republican National Committee's recent decision to exclude NBC and CNN from hosting future debates between would-be GOP presidential candidates. Roberts asserted that "some might think it's a little bit childish."

Roberts also brushed off the impact of the RNC's move, stating that it's "not likely to play much one way or the other" with voters.


Tuesday's CBS This Morning stood out as the only Big Three network morning newscast to cover the latest development in the controversy surrounding the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Gayle King gave a 26-second news brief to Secretary of State John Kerry clearing four mid-level diplomats to return to duty, after they were placed on leave by his predecessor, Hillary Clinton [audio available here; video below the jump].

Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor NBC's Today devoted any air time to Kerry's move. Instead, the two programs set aside full reports to Sunny, the new dog adopted by the Obama family.


On Monday's Morning Edition on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio correspondent Elizabeth Stawicki featured Karen Pollitz of the Kaiser Family Foundation during a report about ObamaCare, but failed to mention the left-leaning political affiliation of the organization. Stawicki merely labeled the foundation "non-partisan".

The public radio journalist also failed to mention that Pollitz is an alumna of both the Obama and Clinton administrations, and previously worked for two Democratic politicians.


NBC hasn't covered the ongoing Bob Filner sexual harassment scandal an almost a week, despite a fifteenth woman – a 67-year-old great grandmother – coming forward on Thursday, accusing the former congressman of making lurid comments to her. The last time that NBC's morning and evening newscasts covered the Filner story was on August 10, 2013.

On Friday, ABC and CBS's morning newscasts aired news briefs on the latest development in the Filner controversy, but both failed to identify him as a Democrat. Mere seconds before reporting on the San Diego mayor, CBS This Morning pointed out the Democratic party affiliation of Filner's former congressional colleague, Jackie Speier, who blasted the Defense Department on their handling of sexual assaults in the military. [audio available here; video below the jump]