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
August 20, 2007, 5:56 PM EDT
Looking to sample the political opinions of regular Americans? What better cross-section than the denizens of MSM newsrooms! That seems to be Mike Barnicle's attitude, at least. The former Boston Globe columnist-turned-MSNBC contributor is guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball."

Chatting with guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and Holly Bailey of Newsweek, talk turned to the topic of Americans' desire for political change. At one point Barnicle made this observation:
MIKE BARNICLE: The force for change that's out there, if you talk to regular people, people like me, people like you, the idea that they want a change is a very powerful force.

View video here.

August 20, 2007, 4:27 PM EDT

Update with YouTube video below.

When is it unimportant to the MSM to inform viewers of a congressman's party affiliation?

At 3:51 P.M. EDT today, CNN aired a "Just In" report on filing of assault and battery charges against California Congressman Bob Filner. Anchor Kyra Phillips said the CNN report was in turn based on a report from its Arlington, VA affiliate, WJLA-TV.

According to the WJLA report:

August 19, 2007, 6:48 PM EDT
Was ABC's George Stephanopoulos [file photo] moderating a presidential debate in Iowa today [transcript here], or running an internal Dem strategy session over how to most propitiously handle U.S. surrender in Iraq?

Imagine that instead of being a former Clinton operative, you're a bona fide journalist dedicated to challenging candidates about their assumptions. When talk turned to Iraq, wouldn't the first questions out of your mouth have been along these lines?:
  • Some of your Democratic colleagues, members of the House and Senate, who recently visited Iraq, have acknowledged that the surge is working. Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, a previously anti-war Democrat, said just Friday that "we're making real progress. I think the consequences of pulling back precipitously would be potentially catastrophic for the Iraqi people themselves, to whom we have a tremendous responsibility … and in the long run chaotic for the region as a whole and for our own security." Doesn't this give you pause about your unconditional plans to withdraw?
August 18, 2007, 4:44 PM EDT

See incredible Roberts double-standard Update at foot.

Michael Vick, victim. That's how Selena Roberts's article in today's New York Times largely portrays the NFL QB accused of involvement with dogfighting. The article's headline sets the tone: Vick Is Trapped in His Circle of Friends.

Excerpts:

  • The crooked circle Michael Vick drew around himself has tripped and squeezed him.
  • The first to fail Vick was Davon Boddie, a cousin and personal chef. His marijuana possession charge in April led police to a white house with black buildings behind it on Moonlight Road in Surry County, Va. [Darn that Davon. If only he hadn't been busted on the pot charge, Vick might have been able to continue -- allegedly -- killing dogs that didn't make the grade.]
August 18, 2007, 6:18 AM EDT

Last week, I described Gail Collins' condescension to what she sees as the bumpkins of Middle America. The New York Times columnist is back at it again this morning, suggesting that illegal immigration is not so much a problem as an issue exploited by Republican candidates to stir the passions of gullible Republican rubes. And yes, to Collins' ear, "sanctuary city" has a nice ring.

The jumping-off point for Collins' [p.p.v.] Of Mitt, Monks, and Mowers is the criticism Mitt Romney has levelled at Rudy Giuliani for the latter's embrace of New York's status as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants when he was Big Apple mayor. Note that Rudy has since toughened his stance, vowing to end illegal immigration.

In Collins' eyes, telling police and others to ignore the fact that people they encounter in the course of their duties are in the country illegally is "a perfectly rational position."

August 17, 2007, 7:33 PM EDT

Melanie Morgan might not have a profile as high as some other pundits on the right, but she is emerging, in my book, as one of conservatism's most fearless and articulate advocates.

Last month, I noted an epic dust-up on "Hardball" between talk radio host Morgan and feminist Naomi Wolf. On today's show, the two again clashed. Last time around, I suggested that Wolf might be America's most passive-aggressive woman. Today, she showed herself to be one of its most alarmist. The topic was the controversy over the extent to which Alberto Gonzales [at the time Pres. Bush's White House counsel] pressured a then-hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft into approving the extension of the anti-terror wiretap program.

View video here.

Morgan was unapologetic.

MELANIE MORGAN: Anbody that doesn't get what a truly dangerous world we live in should just take a look at this wireless wiretapping program. It was a valuable program and it still is. And if there was pressure applied by Gonzales, then good! . . . We needed that program and I'm really glad that if there was pressure applied, it kept it in place, because otherwise, Americans could die.

Wolf's response was a case study in breathless, alarmist, deconstruction-speak.

NAOMI WOLF: What's scary to me about listening to Melanie and various people at the White House is how Orwell [bonus points for Orwellian allusion] describes people who want to close down an open society don't just lie, they make lies the ground of the discourse. There's this extraordinary fudging [demerit for use of everyday word; consider "circumvention" next time] of reality, not just to change the record, but to disorient us [seems to have worked on Naomi].

August 17, 2007, 4:52 PM EDT
On November 17, 2005, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), who had previously supported the Iraq war, announced his call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The story led all three broadcast network evening news reports.

A mirror-image shift of position was reported today: a previously anti-war Dem has announced, after a visit to Iraq, that he now opposes withdrawal at this time. Will the MSM give anything like equal time to the story?

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wa.) is a five-term member of Congress, representing Washington's 3rd District. Baird voted against the initial resolution authorizing the war. But now, having recently returned from Iraq, he has another perspective on events there, telling his hometown newspaper, the Olympian, as reported in this article, the following, :
We're on the ground now. We have a responsibility to the Iraqi people and a strategic interest in making this work.

I think we're making real progress.
I think the consequences of pulling back precipitously would be potentially catastrophic for the Iraqi people themselves, to whom we have a tremendous responsibility … and in the long run chaotic for the region as a whole and for our own security.

August 17, 2007, 12:26 PM EDT

Day Deux of the "MSNBC Booed Bush" controversy, and Joe Scarborough was looking to make up ground . . .

For those who missed the story, in a burst of candor "Morning Joe" host Scarborough mentioned on yesterday's show that members of the MSNBC newsroom had booed President Bush nearly continuously during the 2003 State of the Union.

Today, Scarborough asserted that most of the boo-birds were gone from the network, and claimed for good measure that rival Fox News Channel is "all Republicans." Joe was peeved that Bill O'Reilly had expounded on the booing incident on last evening's O'Reilly Factor.

View video here [that's MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski making sympathetic sounds in the background.]

August 17, 2007, 5:54 AM EDT
I thought it was those French existentialists who were supposed to be the gloomy ones, morosely sipping their espressos at Left Bank cafés while contemplating the end of everything. But according to Agence France Presse, of all people it's Fred Thompson who wallows in the Slough of Despond.

Check out this line that AFP, which has an odd corporate status by which it is partially controlled and subsidized by the French government, slipped into the end of an article on Thompson's campaign plans:
He harbors a dark world view of looming future threats and has accused NATO allies of slumbering through a showdown with Al-Qaeda's forces of "nihilism."
August 16, 2007, 9:05 AM EDT
As we have documented here more than once, liberal bias has a way of working its way into all nooks and crannies of the MSM, including sports reporting.
August 16, 2007, 6:36 AM EDT

UPDATE: Joe and Mika discuss this NB item. Video (0:57): Real (1.55 MB) or Windows (1.78 MB), plus MP3 (435 kB).

Joe Scarborough has pulled back the curtain on the liberal bias at MSNBC, describing an incident in which people in its newsroom ceaselessly booed President Bush during a State of the Union address.

The revelation came on "Morning Joe" today at 6:02 A.M. EDT. Joe was discussing a recent episode at the Seattle Times in which reporters and editors cheered the news that Karl Rove had resigned. Scarborough applauded Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman for issuing a memorandum reproving his colleagues. For more, read NB items by Brent Baker and Ken Shepherd.

Joe went on to describe a similar incident at MSNBC.

VIEW VIDEO OF JOE'S ACCOUNT OF THE NEWSROOM INCIDENT HERE. Note: that's newsreader Mika Brzezinksi heard murmuring in assent, though one has to wonder just how thrilled she was by Joe's candor in outing her fellow MSNBC liberals.

August 15, 2007, 8:14 PM EDT

What's in a name? For Chris Matthews, a lot.

Discussing foreign policy on this afternoon's "Hardball," host Matthews advanced this astonishing theory.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you have a sense, though, well certainly I have it, that just by his name, Barack, ah, Barack Hussein Obama, by his background, having grown up in Indonesia which is a largely Muslim country, that he would have a feel perhaps other presidential candidates don't have of how to connect with that part of the world, the billion people, that we seem to have such a problem connecting with and avoiding war with.

View video here.

August 14, 2007, 9:36 PM EDT
Barack Obama might be taking some flak for his accusations against US troops in Afghanistan. But not to worry: the MSM has got his back. At a recent campaign event, Obama stated:
August 14, 2007, 6:41 AM EDT

When it comes to investigating Dems, the MSM is all Moveon.org. But when a Republican is potentially in the crosshairs, the liberal media suddenly goes Eliot Ness . . .

Take the New York Times editorial of this morning, Mr. Rove Gets Out of Town, which amounts to an extended plea to Democrats to investigate Karl Rove on matters sundry. Huffs the Times:

August 13, 2007, 5:59 AM EDT
Is it just me, or did the New York Times just drop a bombshell?

By the headline of its editorial this morning, Wrong Way Out of Iraq, and its introductory paragraphs -- about how the British model of withdrawing to bases in Basra hasn't worked, I was sure we were headed for a demand for total, rapid withdrawal. When suddenly came this conclusion:
August 12, 2007, 6:49 AM EDT
Today's Los Angeles Times op-ed page item "The art of war" contains drawings on the subject of the Iraq war done by students of visual arts teacher Steve Brodner at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. The drawing displayed here, of Pres.
August 11, 2007, 5:20 PM EDT
Actual op-ed column, or parody of MSM mockery of Middle America? You be the judge of today's p.p.v. opus by Gail Collins, New York Times columnist turned Editorial Page Editor now returned to her column-writing roots. We'll begin with the title, Republicans in the Straw, and proceed to these excerpts:
  • Today 40,000 Republicans are expected to make a pilgrimage to a large tent in Ames, Iowa, where they will eat an enormous amount of free food and vote for a presidential candidate. Mitt Romney is going to serve barbecue, and one of his sons has just visited all 99 counties. I don’t think we need say more.
  • Romney moves around with so many photogenic sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren that they look like one of those singing families that were so popular in the ’70s.
  • The Iowa State Fair is not actually about politics so much as about finding new things to deep-fry.
August 10, 2007, 7:49 PM EDT

Just when you thought the MSM couldn't sink any lower . . .

Could there possibly be an American who doesn't admire the Reverend Billy Graham? Apparently, yes. Have a look at the cover of this week's 'Time.' Of all the ways the editors might have positioned the logo, they managed to do so in a manner in which the 'M' in 'TIME' is transformed into horns protuding from the good reverend's head.

Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist took up the matter on Tucker's MSNBC show this afternoon.

View video here.

August 10, 2007, 3:33 PM EDT

You might consider that speculating about a candidate's sexuality would be off limits in the responsible media. Yet that's just what happened on MSNBC this morning.

Chuck Nice is a comedian, after all, so perhaps his comments should be taken with a grain of salt. Even so, the panelist on today's "Morning Joe" twice ventured into territory that would normally be considered verboten.

Brad Luna of the Human Rights Campaign was the phone guest, discussing the presidential candidates forum that his homosexual-rights group conducted yesterday. Without endorsing Hillary, he did single her out for favorable mention.

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR OF MEDIA RELATIONS BRAD LUNA: Hillary does have a certain comfortableness with the issues and with our community. Obviously this is somebody you can tell has had a lot of contact discussing the issues, has thought about them for a number of years, and I do think that her sincerity and her genuineness came across last night.

MORNING JOE PANELIST CHUCK NICE: Are you saying that Hillary Clinton is bi-curious?
View video here.
August 9, 2007, 12:25 PM EDT
Forget Nurse Ratched. Pat Buchanan and Willie Geist have birthed a new metaphor for Hillary Clinton: the mean schoolmarm.