Baker received a First Class Honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Corpus Christi College at Oxford University.
- His first job after graduation was at the Bank of England. From 1988 to 1994, he worked at the BBC, initially as a producer in London and New York, and then as Economics Correspondent. In 1994, he joined the Financial Times, where he was Tokyo Correspondent, US Economics Correspondent, and Washington Bureau Chief and Associate Editor.
Baker joined the Times in 2004 serving as the paper's US editor and assistant editor. He also wrote a weekly op-ed column on US affairs. He was appointed Deputy editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal in November 2004.
This appointment was controversial in some quarters, because Baker's right-wing commentary was seen to be at odds with an American tradition of editorial objectivity.
In a 2007 Times article, Baker wrote that "neoconservatives and their sympathisers — yes, me — badly underestimated the scale of difficulty of effecting radical change in a country such as Iraq."
- It was an error of judgment and not to acknowledge that is to dodge responsibility for the massive daily suffering of the Iraqi people. I still do not think, however, that the basic neoconservative diagnosis was wrong: that the course of history in the Middle East needed a radical change if the world were not to suffer an even greater misery.
In a January 2006 Times article, Baker wrote:
- THE UNIMAGINABLE but ultimately inescapable truth is that we are going to have to get ready for war with Iran. Being of a free-speaking, free-thinking disposition, we generally find in the West that hand-wringing, finger-pointing and second-guessing come more easily to us than cold, strategic thinking. Confronted with nightmarish perils we instinctively choose to seize the opportunity to blame each other, cursing our domestic opponents for the situation they’ve put us in.