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.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
January 28, 2008, 8:44 AM EST

Harry Smith won't be up on the platform with Ted Kennedy today endorsing Barack Obama. But he might be there in spirit, after having absolutely unloaded on Bill Clinton's on this morning's Early Show. The CBS anchor made the stunning suggestion that when it comes to matters racial, Bill Clinton may have perpetrated a fraud on African-Americans.

Smith's guest was "diversity expert" Joe Watson and you might have expected Watson [who FWIW impressed me favorably] to carry the anti-Bill ball. But ultimately it was Smith who offered the single most damning suggestion. The CBS host began by playing the clip of Bill's by-now infamous words from the weekend, writing off the Obama victory in South Carolina by pointing out that Jesse Jackson had won there twice in the 80s.

View video here.

January 27, 2008, 6:55 PM EST
Takeaway exchange from John McCain's Meet The Press appearance today.
TIM RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S-1433, the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, would you as president sign it?

JOHN MCCAIN: Yeah, but the lesson is that it isn't going to come, it isn't going to come. The lesson is they want the borders secured first.

View video here.

January 26, 2008, 10:41 PM EST
Carl Bernstein isn't just, on the basis of his Watergate-busting fame, a liberal icon. He's also a certified Hillary Clinton expert, having devoted years to researching and writing a definitive biography of her, A Woman in Charge. So his comments tonight on Hillary's graceless reaction to her stunning defeat at the hands of Barack Obama carry special weight, and are likely to reverberate through Dem circles. Here's Bernstein's brutal take, appearing on CNN .
CARL BERNSTEIN: One of the worst nights of Hillary Clinton's life. She had a chance at the end of the evening to be magnanimous, to say something about where her campaign is going to go. Instead she was shopworn, tired; it's exactly what they don't need, the Clinton campaign, and she's going to have an uphill fight from here in.

View the video here, not only to hear Bernstein's remarks, but to watch a Hillary acknowledge Obama's victory only in passing while spending most of the same sentence speaking of primaries to come.

January 26, 2008, 6:08 PM EST
On the east and west coasts today, two liberal columnists unleashed a torrent of vitriol at Hillary and Bill Clinton. At the Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Jonathan Chait [a past master of political hatred] asked Is the right right on the Clintons? Consider these blistering excerpts [emphasis added]:
  • Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.
January 26, 2008, 8:32 AM EST

Count Craig Crawford as a dissenting voice in the media storm blaming the Clintons for the injection of race into the Dem primaries. The Congressional Quarterly columnist and MSNBC political analyst offered his unconventional wisdom on a special Saturday edition of Morning Joe today.

CRAIG CRAWFORD: I never understood exactly what Bill Clinton said that was supposed to interject race, actually. I know he was arguing at arm's length with Obama about the war and some other issues. It wasn't clear to me -- I mean the most direct reference to race I saw in this campaign was interjected by the media after New Hampshire trying to say that for some reason Obama lost New Hampshire because of racism. I never followed that one either.

View video here.

January 25, 2008, 8:50 PM EST

Living in the DC area, Chris Matthews has surely been stuck in traffic more than once behind someone sporting the classic NRA bumper sticker: "If Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns." Was Chris was listening too intently to NPR to consider the the truth of that pithy aphorism? You might think so, considering his anti-gun rant that seemed to assume that criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens, will obey restrictions on gun ownership.

On this evening's Hardball, riffing off Mitt Romney's Second Amendment defense during last night's GOP debate, Chris took aim at National Review's Deroy Murdock, a Giuliani backer.

View video here.

January 25, 2008, 11:42 AM EST

Last year, the Washington Post let itself be so badly misled by a "study" on military recruiting from a far-left think tank that WaPo ombudsman Deborah Powell felt obliged to write a lengthy column about the matter, diplomatically taking her paper to task for failing to "tell the full story."

So when the same think tank came out with another recruiting study this year, surely WaPo would take it with a large grain of salt, right? Think again.

January 25, 2008, 9:18 AM EST

The biggest news out of last night's GOP debate could be the hit taken by John McCain's reputation for straight talk.

For whatever reason, McCain chose to deny the undeniable: that on more than one occasion he has admitted not understanding the economy as well as he should. When the debate ended it took MSNBC no time to document the record. And a bit later, in the post-debate coffee klatsch, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman unloaded on the Arizona senator for his fudging.

View video here.

January 24, 2008, 4:45 PM EST
Yesterday, the Obama campaign put out an email from John Kerry condemning the "Swiftboating" of Barack. Today it's Michelle Obama's turn, and the candidate's wife has come out swinging. Here's the text of an email from Michelle Obama just received from the Obama campaign [emphasis added]:
Mark --
In the past week or two, another candidate's spouse has been getting an awful lot of attention.
We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time.
We expected that Bill Clinton would tout his record from the nineties and talk about Hillary's role in his past success. That's a fair approach and a challenge we are prepared to face.
What we didn't expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we've seen recently. We didn't expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack's record.
January 24, 2008, 10:29 AM EST

The woman who got her big break on network TV thanks to the firing of Don Imus now apparently wants another host to lose his job over some tasteless remarks.

Morning Joe is the show that took over MSNBC's early-morning time slot after Imus was bounced for his offensive observations about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Mika Brzezinski, a regular member of the Morning Joe crew, has now left little doubt she would like to see John Gibson fired for the callous comments about the death of actor Heath Ledger the Fox News host made on his radio show.

View video.

January 23, 2008, 9:24 AM EST

Tom Brokaw says his most conservative friend has told him he might vote for Hillary Clinton. I for one believe the former NBC News anchor. Hillary supporters might indeed constitute the rightmost fringe of his friend set.

The revelation occurred on today's Morning Joe.

View video here.

January 22, 2008, 10:56 AM EST
What if pro-choicers wrote a column filled with well-articulated pro-life arguments . . . and never mustered a substantive response? Would it suggest they have effectively conceded defeat on one of the great moral issues of the day?

That "what if" becomes reality in Abortion's battle of messages in today's LA Times. As noteworthy as the column's substance is the identity of one of the co-authors: none other than leading pro-choice light Kate Michelman, past president of NARAL [and current John Edwards advisor].

Consider these excerpts, which with minor editing could just as easily have come from a Bill Buckley column.
January 22, 2008, 8:06 AM EST
Not that there was much doubt, but let's make it official: MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski is firmly in the Obama camp. The capper came during today's opening segment of Morning Joe. After Chris Matthews offered a plausible explanation for Obama's "present" votes in the Illinois senate, David Shuster used an apt metaphor to describe Barack's less-than-trenchant rhetorical style.
DAVID SHUSTER: It's in Barack Obama's interest to say it as sharply as you [Matthews] just did, and his inability to sort of navigate in these debates, like the giant aircraft carrier trying to make a turn. If he could make the point as simply as you just did he would be fine but the way he's trying to explain and defend everything, it's like a guy who skis down a hill who makes these wide, swooping turns, and after awhile, you know, that's not, you don't get down very fast that way.
That's when Mika made her allegiance unmistakable.
January 21, 2008, 12:08 PM EST

Did Hillary Clinton really claim to be "blessed" and "grateful" to have a "passionate" husband? Yes.

Freudian slip or part of a calculated strategy to curry the women's vote by reminding people of the indignities she's suffered at the hands of her wayward spouse? In any case, Hillary deployed the intriguing double-entendre to defend Bill's recent attacks on Barack Obama.

View video here.

January 21, 2008, 9:45 AM EST

Battered by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama might be up against the ropes, but he can count on having Good Morning America in his corner to apply a refreshing sponge and send him back into the ring. Check out Robin Roberts's softballs to the Illinois senator this morning, followed by even more surprising comment -- and body language -- from George Stephanopoulos.

View video here.

The focus was the way Bill Clinton has been going after Obama. Questions from Robin Roberts:

January 19, 2008, 8:22 AM EST

H/t David Shuster. What's that? David Shuster, liberal MSNBC avenger, now a NewsBusters source? Not exactly, but read on . . .

Watching a special Saturday-morning edition of Morning Joe, I was surprised by CNBC chief DC correspondent John Harwood's willingness to pronounce Fred Thompson's political epitaph even before voters went to the South Carolina primary polls today. Shuster was similarly struck, going so far as to suggest a headline.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: What about Fred Thompson? Is it the end of the line, John, for him tonight, or is there a way he can rejuvenate his campaign?

View video here.

January 18, 2008, 10:17 AM EST

Unlike the sensitive folks over at Media Matters, we NewsBusters are a relatively thick-skinned lot. And no one's ever confused me with Gloria Steinem. So we're not going to overreact to Willie Geist's comment this morning and demand a Matthewsesque mea culpa.

However . . . Willie did manage to diss the intelligence of his compatriots on today's Morning Joe. A Friday show tradition is for Geist and MSNBC celebrity correspondent Courtney Hazlett [a personal fave in the genre for her intelligent perspective] to predict which movie will score best at the box office during the coming weekend. When Hazlett tapped Cloverfield, an action-horror flick in which things go horribly wrong for Manhattan, Geist reacted with, well, horror.

View video here.

January 18, 2008, 7:59 AM EST

Bill and Hillary might be taking flak for the vote-suppressing lawsuit their supporters brought in Nevada, but the couple can count on at least one supporter in the MSM: David Shuster.

On today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and MSNBC's David Shuster got into an extended argument over Mitt Romney's testy exchange with a reporter over the candidate's claim that Washington lobbyists were not running his campaign [in contrast with McCain's]. But while that dust-up between Scarborough and Shuster had its moments, a couple Shuster comments during the briefer Nevada-caucus discussion were, IMHO, more telling.

View video here, which includes both the MSNBC pair's discussion and footage of Bill Clinton's angry reaction to a reporter who had the temerity to question him about the lawsuit.

January 17, 2008, 8:49 AM EST

What does it say about the secular state of the MSM that a liberal media member has to defensively clarify for the record that she doesn't object to a candidate having "a moral grounding"?

During the opening half-hour of today's Morning Joe, a clip was played of Mike Huckabee describing to a South Carolina gathering how he found his faith as a 10-year old attending a vacation Bible school. He expressed the hope that others had experienced that joy and would share it with others.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: The thing that I found is, if people don't get too down in the weeds about their faith, and don't seem like they're lecturing, then I think it gives people a sense of assurance: "OK, the guy's got a faith system; I'm comfortable with that, and now move on and tell me how you're going to run the country."
That seemed to put Mika Brzezinski on the defensive.

View video here.
January 16, 2008, 1:47 PM EST
The VRWC rides again, but this time it's apparently going after a Republican . . .

Mike Huckabee went on Morning Joe today and toyed with suggesting a "conspiracy" composed of the "Washington power circles" was out to get him. At 7:41 AM ET, the former Arkansas governor was discussing his efforts in South Carolina with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

View video here.