Mark Finkelstein has a B.S. from Cornell University, an Ed.M. and a J.D., magna cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law. In 2011, Mark moved to Pecan Plantation, Texas from his long-time home in Ithaca, NY where he hosted "Right Angle," an award-winning local political talk show. Mark is an aviation buff and holds an instrument rating.  Mark spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
July 5, 2013, 8:18 AM EDT

This Fourth of July weekend is turning into an unforseen laff-fest.  Yesterday we had NBC featuring a photo of President Obama making what he might have thought was an assertive hand gesture while discussing the situation in Egypt with his aides.

Today treats us to historian Douglas Brinkley, on Morning Joe, claiming that when it comes to foreign policy, President Obama reminds him of, yes, Supreme-Allied-Commander-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  View the chuckle-worthy video after the jump.

July 4, 2013, 9:24 AM EDT

President Obama's Egypt policy—if you can call it that—has been a feckless disaster.  He has somehow managed to score the dubious hat trick of alienating former President Mubarak's supporters in the military, the backers of ousted President Morsi, and the millions in the street whose demonstrations led the military to depose him.

So what image of President Obama does Today feature this morning in its segment on Egypt?  Why, of PBO extending a forceful fist toward a tableful of aides, including Susan Rice and Eric Holder.  Such a strong leader, that Obama!  View the photo and video after the jump.

July 1, 2013, 7:23 AM EDT

News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.

But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum.  But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues.  More after the jump.

June 30, 2013, 11:57 AM EDT

Latest dispatch from the Department of Pot-Meet-Kettle. On today's Face the Nation, Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who overnight went from being a national unknown to a rising star who today appeared on count-em three Sunday talk shows, has accused politicians of using the abortion issue "to boost their own political aspirations."  

Davis also accused Texas Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst of putting thousands of Texas women "in harm's way in order for them to step up the political ladder." Bob Schieffer never called Davis on her hypocrisy. View the video after the jump.

June 29, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

If a Republican senator cast a vote out of craven political cowardice, do you really think he'd admit that to Joe Biden?

That's what the Veep wants us to believe. In a Dem fundraising email from Bident that just turned up in my inbox, Biden wrote [emphasis added]: "When I asked several Republican senators after they voted against background checks, not one offered an explanation on the merits of why they couldn't vote for them. But almost to a person, they said, "I don't want to take on Ted Cruz. I don't want to take on Rand Paul. They'll be in my district." More after the jump.

June 27, 2013, 9:05 AM EDT

 

On Morning Joe today, Jonathan Capehart hailed the loud protest in the Texas Capitol gallery by pro-abortion rights advocates—which prevented the state senate from voting on a pro-life bill—as an example of "democracy in action."

Joe Scarborough countered that if pro-life protesters had done the same, people on MSNBC and elsewhere would be calling them an "angry, unruly mob."  Interestingly, New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters agreed with Scarborough, saying he was "absolutely right."  Capehart had no rebuttal. View the video after the jump.

June 25, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

Another day, another bizarre blooper by Joe Scarborough regarding the trial of George Zimmerman.

We reported yesterday that Scarborough—ignoring the rule against double jeopardy—claimed that the absence of African-Americans on the jury would subject a verdict to immediate appeal.  Today, the Morning Joe host curiously claimed that the prosecution had a big hill to climb because "you don't know who fired the shot." What?  Zimmerman has admitted from the beginning that he shot Trayvon Martin, albeit in self-defense.  When Al Sharpton [who has actually been more circumspect in his remarks about the trial than Scarborough] pointed this out, Scarborough quickly changed the subject. Scarborough also claimed that he, Sharpton and "everybody" think the same as to what was in Zimmerman's mind. Really? View the video after the jump.

June 24, 2013, 7:51 AM EDT

Do the words "double jeopardy" ring a bell, Joe? In 2012, shortly after Trayvon Martin was killed, and when few facts were available, Joe Scarborough didn't hesitate to brand George Zimmerman a "murderer."

Scarborough's pro-prosecution bias was on display again on Morning Joe today, when he declared that the absence of African-Americans on the George Zimmerman jury would "immediately" make a verdict subject to appeal.  Really?  So if this jury were to acquit Zimmerman, the prosecution would have a valid basis to overturn the verdict on appeal?  Sure sounds like double jeopardy—but Scarborough never raised that concern. View the video after the jump.

June 22, 2013, 11:29 AM EDT

On her MSNBC show this morning, Melissa Harris-Perry vilified John Boehner as a "super-villain," a "bad guy" and "pitiful."  His sin?  Failing to pass the farm bill.

So who is MH-P's idea of a good Speaker?  Why, Nancy Pelosi, of course.   Harris-Perry praised Pelosi as "one of the most effective leaders in the House's history."  So effective that, as a result of her disastrous leadership, Pelosi's Dem House caucus went down to crushing electoral defeat in 2010.  View the video after the jump.

June 20, 2013, 8:29 AM EDT

To say that Mika Brzezinski was "moved" by Joe Manchin's ad, responding to one by the NRA criticizing the Dem senator from West Virginia for supporting new gun-control measures, is a decided understatement.

Have a look at the ad, which Manchin debuted on Morning Joe today, then have a go at describing Mika's emotional reaction.  View the video after the jump.

June 19, 2013, 7:39 AM EDT

Who was Morning Joe protecting: the sensitive ears of its viewers, or Hillary Clinton?

During a discussion of the death of the feisty and fearless reporter Michael Hastings, Morning Joe bleeped out Joe Scarborough's reading from an email from Hastings to Philippe Reines, Hillary's personal spokesman during her Secretary of State tenure.  Hastings had accused Reines of "b---s---" answers on the State Department's handling of Benghazi.  The extended bleeping wasn't simply of the offending word, but of Hastings' entire sentence, so listeners never learned the thrust of his accusation.  View the video after the jump.

June 10, 2013, 8:57 AM EDT

Things got feisty on Morning Joe today, as Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian clashed with Mika Brzezinski over the leak of the NSA phone surveillance program by Greenwald's informant, Edward Snowden. H/t NB reader Jeff M.

When Brzezinski alleged that wiretapping or the review by the NSA of emails required an additional judicial review and warrant, Greenwald accused Mika of using "White House talking points" that were "completely misleading and false."  Mika denied it. Greenwald upped the animosity by telling Mika she would have known better if she had paid even "remote attention" to the issues over the last ten years. View the video after the jump.

June 6, 2013, 8:34 AM EDT

MSNBC and Anthony Weiner: made for each other like a frank and a bun?

Today's New York Daily News reports that when NYC mayoral candidate Weiner got into an argument on the campaign trail yesterday, he boasted that despite his mistakes, "I am still gonna be out there leaning forward."  "Lean Forward" is of course MSNBC's lefty slogan, featured in many promos that NB has analyzed, as here and here.  More after the jump.

June 5, 2013, 8:09 AM EDT

Looks like Mike Barnicle's not going to let anyone get to his PC-left when it comes to women.

On today's Morning Joe, Barnicle claimed that "a lot of men . . . fear the fact—and I think it's a fact—that women are better balanced than men.  They have better judgment about things than a lot of men."  Barnicle's comment during a discussion about the statement made yesterday by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant that the decline in educational outcomes for children today is due to the entry of women into the workforce.  View the video after the jump.

June 3, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT

A classic case of MSM jujitsu.  Yesterday, Darrell Issa called Jay Carney a "paid liar."  So did Morning Joe today dig down to see if Issa was right?  Of course not.  Instead, its focus was on Issa--how he is "overreaching," "overplaying," etc. H/t NB reader Wayne T.

The quintessential statement came from Mika Brzezinski, who actually said that Issa's accusation "makes us all want to walk away and ignore" the White House scandals.  It's not as if Mika & Co. needed much convincing!  View the video after the jump, along with a medley of statements from Mika, Brian Shactman, Joe Scarborough, Jon Meacham, Chuck Todd and Robert Gibbs along similar lines.

May 30, 2013, 8:49 AM EDT

When it comes to identifying nutcases, some might say that Howard Dean gleans valuable experience daily, while shaving.

The failed presidential candidate put his expertise to dubious use on Morning Joe today, calling National Review editor Rich Lowry a "right-wing nutcase."  Lowry's sin?  Having written a column mocking Eric Holder, and President Obama's decision to put Holder in charge of investigating himself in the James Rosen affair. View the video after the jump.

May 28, 2013, 8:39 AM EDT

Do people still mail resumes? If so John Heilemann can save himself the stamp required to send his to Vanity Fair, should he ever consider a shift from his current spot at New York.

On today's Morning Joe, Heilemann bizarrely trashed—excuse the pun—the staff at Vanity Fair.  Said the Game Change co-author: "it's well known Vanity Fair has a congenital, pervasive alcohol dependency problem . . they're all drunk over there." View the video after the jump.

May 22, 2013, 9:19 AM EDT

How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?

On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.

May 20, 2013, 8:34 AM EDT

Let me preface by saying that I'm not criticizing Bill Karins for his choice of words.  Thank, uh, goodness, we live in a country where we're free to believe in any God or no God at all.

But I do see Karins' construction as a sign of the cultural times. The Morning Joe meteorologist today aired dramatic footage of the weatherman at the NBC affiliate in Wichita, Kansas ordering his colleagues to take shelter because a tornado was headed right at the station. Said Karins: "By the grace of whatever, God or whatever else, it lifted the second it got right to the TV station."  You'll hear Karins hesitate and change course when he realizes he's put himself on a path to say "by the grace of God."  View the video after the jump.

May 18, 2013, 8:15 AM EDT

UPDATE: Not one second about the IRS scandal in the entire show.   GMA just went off the air and managed to avoid mentioning the dreaded I-word.  The second half-hour featured two more Powerball segments, and features on Beyoncé's possible pregnancy, Bieber's monkey, and a kangaroo.  IRS scandal?  What IRS scandal?  ABC couldn't find a second for it.

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Bianna Golodryga opened today's Good Morning America by announcing that it was "a very busy Saturday morning."  So busy, in fact, that GMA couldn't spare one second in its first half-hour for the IRS scandal. That despite yesterday's stonewalling testimony by the outgoing IRS Commissioner in which he had the colossal chutzpah to deny there had been any political motive in the targeting of conservative organizations.

So what kept GMA so busy? By far the longest segment was devoted to . . . the Powerball lottery.  Just in the first half-hour, GMA spent 325 seconds—over five minutes—on the lottery and its big prize.  One report from stores where lottery tickets are being sold didn't suffice. There were two.  Those were followed by an interview with a lottery official.  GMA even managed to squeeze in a report of a bear that had climbed into a tree.  But the IRS?  Sorry: too busy.  More after the jump.