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:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
October 2, 2007, 7:45 PM EDT

<p><img src="/static/2007/10/2007-10-02-MSNBCScarborough.jpg" align="right" height="180" width="240" />Oh sure, sometimes they love to hate us, but one thing is clear: NewsBusters is must reading for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.<br /><br />As I noted <a href="/blogs/mark-finkelstein/2007/10/02/scarborough-media-matters-went-after-rush-phony-story-about-phony-">here</a>, Scarborough and panelist Willie Geist blasted Media Matters on today's &quot;Morning Joe&quot; for using a &quot;phony story&quot; to go after Rush for his &quot;phony soldiers&quot; comment. Joe and Willie recognized the truth of the matter: that Rush had been speaking of one phony soldier indeed, Jesse Macbeth, and not of anti-war soldiers in general.<br /><br />Later, at 8:03 A.M. EDT, in the context of the Media Matters-inspired attack on Rush, Joe and Mika made clear that they have NewsBusters on the noggin. </p><p><b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman','serif'">Video (0:52):</span></b><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman','serif'"> <a href="/static/2007/10/2007-10-02-MSNBC-Scarborough.rm">Real</a> (1.41 MB) and <a href="/static/2007/10/2007-10-02-MSNBC-Scarborough.wmv">Windows</a> (1.60 MB), plus <a href="/static/2007/10/2007-10-02-MSNBC-Scarborough.mp3">MP3 audio</a> (404 kB).</span>

October 2, 2007, 6:55 AM EDT

As Brent Baker of MRC/NB has documented, MSNBC has been among the worst MSM offenders in propagating the falsehood that Rush Limbaugh had accused all anti-war military members of being "phony soldiers."

A point of light at that same network this morning, however, as Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist combined to debunk the Media Matters allegation, accusing the organization of using a "phony story about a phony soldier" to go after Rush.

It began at 6:04 A.M. EDT today, during the "Morning Joe" opening coffee klatsch.

View video here.

October 1, 2007, 8:25 PM EDT
Don't look for Shuster to be guest hosting "Tucker" again any time soon. -- from my column of September 26th.
Oy, was I wrong!
October 1, 2007, 7:56 AM EDT
If Dems and Republicans are at odds over everything from Iraq to healthcare, there's one thing that has brought many of them together: shared criticism of the leading GOP presidential contenders for their decision to skip the recent debate moderated by Tavis Smiley, billed as oriented to the concerns of black Americans.

But beginning on yesterday's "Meet the Press" and continuing on today's "Morning Joe," Pat Buchanan has not hesitated to make a pragmatic political case in defense of the Republican candidates' decision. And alone, at least among pundits I've heard, he drew an interesting parallel to the venues the leading Dem candidate is skipping.

View video here.
September 30, 2007, 9:23 AM EDT
ABC may have set a loathsome new MSM low in insulting traditional Christians. On today's "Good Morning America," the network lumped the "Christan right" with the 9-11 Islamic terrorists as driving people to atheism.

Keying off an atheists convention being held this weekend, GMA ran a segment on the "Rise in Atheism." Seeking to explain the phenomenon, as images rolled first of the WTC in flames and then of a man placidly holding a sign that simply read "One Nation Under God" and of a display at a demonstration of the Ten Commandments, ABC's Liz Marlantes stated:
September 29, 2007, 8:13 AM EDT
I would defy anyone to label Maureen Dowd by party affiliation or ideology. I've known her and worked closely with her for 20 years and I can't tell you the answer to either one -- Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times

What would be worse: that when Times editorial page editor Rosenthal claims not to know Maureen Dowd's politics he's not being honest -- or that he is?

September 28, 2007, 8:35 PM EDT

Of all people, you'd think a movie director would understand the importance of sticking to the script. But no . . .

September 28, 2007, 8:07 AM EDT

David Shuster's tasteless game of "gotcha," that we reported here and here, in which the MSNBC "correspondent" exploited the name of a fallen American soldier to put Rep.

September 28, 2007, 7:09 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough is still trying to wring mileage out of bashing Bill O'Reilly over his Sylvia's comments. After calling the "Factor" host a "moron" yesterday, the "Morning Joe" host was back at it today.

September 27, 2007, 10:25 PM EDT

On this afternoon's "Tucker," the eponymous host was discussing with Dem strategist Peter Fenn and former Dem congressman Tom Andrews [a grown-up among liberals, IMHO] the unwillingness of the leading GOP presidential contenders to participate in the debate moderated by Tavis Smiley, billed as addressing issues of concern to black Americans.

On the one hand, Tucker criticized the Republicans' reticence. On the other, he flashed anger at the way Dems play the race card. Carlson concluded with a particularly tantalizing comment.

View video here.

September 27, 2007, 7:08 AM EDT
This could be a first: Al Sharpton criticized for being insufficiently inflammatory; faulted for not shooting from the hip.

At the opening of today's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough panned the Rev's "O'Reilly Factor" performance last evening, in which the normally obstreperous one was relatively subdued on the subject of his host's comments on Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. Scarborough later escalated his criticism, calling O'Reilly a "moron," and accusing him of making "racist" comments.

View video here.
September 26, 2007, 3:05 PM EDT

UPDATE -- SHUSTER APOLOGIZES: At 6:44 PM EDT, MSNBC broke into the Tucker Carlson show to air a terse apology from Shuster. See "My Take" below.

View video of Shuster apology here.

Here follows the text of Shuster apology.

DAVID SHUSTER: On Monday evening while guest-hosting the 6 p.m. evening hour, I conducted an interview with Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn. The congresswoman spoke at length about a newspaper ad that criticized General Petraeus. In what I believed was an effort to examine Representative Blackburn's priorities, I then asked her to name the last soldier from her congressional district killed in Iraq.

She responded "the name of the last soldier killed in Iraq from my district, I do not know." After that response, I identified who I believed to be that fallen soldier, a Tennessean killed in Iraq last month. But according to Pentagon documents, that young man came from a town inside a neighboring congressional district, not from Representative Blackburn's, and for that, I apologize for that mistake.

Read past the jump for the rest of the story..

September 26, 2007, 7:09 AM EDT

Figures. Who else would Mika Brzezinski's ink-stained doppelganger be but Maureen Dowd?

"Morning Joe" has apparently introduced a new feature, "Three Things to Read Today," in which each of the panelists recommends an item from that morning's newspaper crop. Willie Geist went first today, and being the pop-culture maven he is, suggested the New York Post's coverage of the sexual harrassment lawsuit that a former female New York Knicks employee has brought against coach Isiah Thomas.

Then it was Mika's turn.

View video here.

September 25, 2007, 4:55 PM EDT

Viacom-owned MTV has recently rolled out "Think MTV," a new community interaction site oriented toward student activism. Imagine "Facebook" with a social-activist theme. Exploring the site quickly reveals that MTV's notion of social activism has a decided liberal tint.

September 24, 2007, 7:38 PM EDT

Does it get much lower than this?

After first extolling the "F--- Bush" headline, MSNBC's David Shuster, substituting for Tucker Carlson today, later engaged in a grotesque game of "gotcha," exploiting an Amercan soldier killed in Iraq to make his partisan point.

Chatting with Newsweek's Richard Wolffe and MSNBC analyst Craig Crawford, talk turned to the controversy surrounding the editorial in the Colorado State student newspaper headlined "Taser This: F--- Bush" [f-word spelled out in headline].

Wolffe went first, and was patently delighted by the incident. With a hearty grin, he observed . . .

September 24, 2007, 9:37 AM EDT
This morning's column by James Carroll, the Boston Globe's resident gushy liberal, is so predictable you wonder whether it might have been produced by a liberal-column-generator software program. You know the kind: insert issue, names of political players, a few factoids, and let the program spit out the boilerplate of a standard leftist diatribe.
September 23, 2007, 10:16 AM EDT
On Yom Kippur, which ended just last evening, Jews quite literally beat their breasts while asking forgiveness for all the sins committed during the previous year. The confessional prayer enumerates literally dozens of different transgressions. But while the syllabus of sin is seemingly comprehensive, there would appear to be one lacuna. Nowhere in the menu of misdeeds does "schadenfreude" appear.
September 22, 2007, 8:22 AM EDT

At first I thought I might have misunderstood. Lester Holt surely didn't mean to imply that befriending the NRA jeopardizes a politician's reputation for being tough on crime, did he?

Oh yes he did.

View video here.

On this morning's "Today," weekend co-anchor Holt introduced a segment on Rudy Giuliani's Friday speech to the NRA, in which Rudy tried to take some of the sharp edges off his prior anti-NRA positions . . .

September 21, 2007, 9:31 AM EDT
Partners in deception, partners in denial . . .

Earlier today I noted that in her HuffPo column, ex-CBS producer Mary Mapes continues to cling to the delusion that the Memogate documents were authentic. In an inteview on "Morning Joe," Dan Rather has now made a comparable reality-defying claim.
September 21, 2007, 7:22 AM EDT
How can I put this nicely? Mary Mapes [file photo] has reality "issues." Three years after the Memogate producer was exposed for having perpetrated one of the worst frauds in the history of presidential-campaign journalism, she continues to paint herself as the victim of a right-wing conspiracy. And incredibly, despite a mountain of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, she clings to the notion that the blatantly forged documents at the heart of Memogate were authentic.