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
September 30, 2013, 7:54 AM EDT

The list of things on which Barack Obama has been wrong goes on to the crack of doom.  But there's one thing on which the President is surely right. In devising his strategy for dealing with the shutdown, the prez can count on the MSM to blame Republicans.

Mark Halperin bared the president's calculus on today's Morning Joe, saying the Obama admin has little incentive to negotiate because it believes a "sympathetic" press will blame Republicans like they did in the 1990s, accusing them of being "obstructionist."  View the video after the jump.

September 29, 2013, 4:25 PM EDT

As a blogger, I subscribe to the email lists of some organizations whose goals I do not, shall we say,  necessarily embrace.  Among them is Organizing For Action, the successor to the 2012 Obama campaign.  As you can imagine, although I read OFA's messages with interest, I don't succumb to its frequent appeals for funds.

You might think OFA might let me loaf along in peace, but no.  Just now arrived an email I'd call kind of creepy.  Start with the subject line [emphasis added throughout]: "Mark: Not an OFA donor".  Whoah: so this is more than just a generic pitch to all freeloaders: they're calling me out by name! The body of the message informs me that "according to the records associated with this exact email address," I haven't donated.  "Exact email address"? Yikes!  They've got me nailed dead to rights!  More after the jump.

September 29, 2013, 9:16 AM EDT

It's a classic example of the MSM's use of sympathetic individual anecdotes to manipulate public opinion in favor of more and bigger government. Today's Good Morning America segment on the looming government shutdown, narrated by former New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, offered the stories of just two people, both African-Americans, both of whom might be hurt by a government shutdown. And check out the screen graphic: not to dramatize things or nuthin', but ABC plaintively wonders how federal workers would "survive."

ABC could have balanced its report with stories of younger people who will see their health insurance premiums double or more if ObamaCare is implemented. But why would Good Morning America want to go there?  View the video after the jump.

September 28, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

To imitate the inimitable James Taranto: HA HA HA HA. Politico has cleared MSNBC host Alex Wagner of any conflict of interest stemming from her impending marriage to Sam Kaas, the Executive Director of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let’s Move!" initiative.

According to Politico's Dylan Byers [emphasis added], "We won't call this a conflict of interest because who doesn't love a man who can cook, and really, the White House Chef and Let's Move! role is arguably rather apolitical. Many a White House chef has served multiple administrations from either side of the spectrum."  Uh, yeah, but Kaas is a former White House chef.  He now works directly for the First Lady on her signature initiative.  Is there anyone out there naive enough to believe that Wagner won't be even less apt than previously to criticize anything relating to her husband's boss—or her husband's boss's husband?  More after the jump.

September 27, 2013, 8:22 AM EDT

Could Chris Hayes, the eggheady MSNBC host, be a secret admirer of conservative firebrand Ted Cruz?  The question arises in light of Hayes' new "Lean Forward" promo.

In it, Hayes hails those with "the courage to look power in the eye and say 'no.'"  Quick: in the current political context, who comes to mind?  View the video after the jump.

September 26, 2013, 8:09 AM EDT

Pundits and politicians are normally so slick that they can weasel their way out of even the most glaring of contradictions. "Depends on what the meaning of is, is," anyone?  So it's particularly delicious, to use Noel Sheppard's trademark phrase, to see a talking head left absolutely cornered, babbling without response, when caught in the hypocrisy of a double-standard.

On today's Morning Joe, former Obama car czar Steve Rattner passed along the Obama admin line that negotiating with Republicans over raising the debt ceiling "is like negotiating with terrorists."  With catlike quickness, Joe Scarborough pounced: "so you're saying Barack Obama was a terrorist in 2006 when he said he refused to raise the debt ceiling?"  The cornered Rattner had no comeback, actually asking Mika Brzezinski of all people to "help me out here," then resorting to the lame "it's complicated" line. View the amusing video after the jump.

September 24, 2013, 8:26 AM EDT

Drag a $100 bill through MSNBC and there's no telling what you'll find.  On today's Morning Joe, the ever-classy James Carville likened GOP primary voters to low-quality prison inmates.

Carville made his asinine analogy in responding to Joe Scarborough's suggestion that Republicans can still prevail in coming election cycles if they do the "smart thing." Carville said the situation reminded him of what Lester Maddox said the problem was in the Georgia prison system: the quality of the inmates.  According to Carville, the GOP's problem is the quality of Republican primary voters.  View the video after the jump.

September 19, 2013, 7:58 AM EDT

A Morning Joe kind of Republican?  With Joe Scarborough absent today, was Nicolle Wallace assuming the role of the Republican who gets more satisfaction from ripping fellow members of her party than in criticizing Democrats? 

Wallace mocked congressional Republicans who are trying to defund ObamaCare, analogizing them to two-year olds on scooters racing into traffic against a red light.  She suggested that the "adults" in the party need to restrain them.  View the video after the jump.

September 18, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

A member of the MSM moving to the Obama administration?  A "natural extension" indeed! Nancy Gibbs, the new Time editor, has really let the cat out of the bag.  Appearing on Morning Joe today, she described the move of her predecessor, Rick Stengel, from Time to a State Department job in the Obama administration, as a "natural extension" for him.

Now it's true that Gibbs couched her remarks in terms of Stengel's role in both jobs being that of telling "America's story around the world." More accurately, Gibbs might have said that Stengel has always seen his job as telling Barack Obama's story in the most favorable light.  View the video after the jump.

September 17, 2013, 8:34 AM EDT

Imagine that George W. Bush had decided to proceed with a harsh, partisan speech attacking Democrats for "hurting people," despite a scene of mass murder unfolding just 3.5 miles away.  On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough imagined just such a scenario, and came to the inescapable conclusion: his own MSNBC network and the MSM at large would be "killing" W for his insensitivity and poor judgment.

Panelist John Heilemann of New York magazine grudgingly agreed that Scarborough's assessement was "kinda fair."  But Mika Brzezinski empathized with our poor president: he was in a "horrible position."  View the video after the jump.

September 16, 2013, 8:42 AM EDT

"You tell her.  No, YOU tell her!" . . . Richard Wolffe says that in 2012 an all-male group of senior Obama campaign people got together at a White Sox game and decided to fire deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter—but didn't have the "balls" to tell her.

Maybe so.  Then again, Wolffe—appearing on Morning Joe today to tout his new book on the Obama re-election campaign—also claimed that Cutter was "one of the single most effective" people in the Obama campaign?  Cutter? The nasty gaffe machine? View the video after the jump.

September 12, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT

How do you know when an MSM member is pushing pro-Obama spin to the absurd?  When even the most partisan of Dems, in the person of James Carville, can't stomach it.

On today's Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell, claiming that the world was "coalescing" around Obama's position on Syria, said that there was "a lot of optimism" surrounding the Obama team's negotiations with the Russians.  Mitchell said she had seen this kind of thing before back in the 80s, when the US negotiated arms control with the Soviet Union.  "It starts slowly but things happen," comforted Mitchell.  All this was too much for Carville, who forsaw a future in which the negotiations went on and on and led nowhere. Said Serpent Head: "I love Andrea and she's optimistic. God love her, I hope she's right. Count me a little more pessimistic." View the video after the jump.

September 6, 2013, 8:41 AM EDT

One thing is certain: Axelrod didn't do the rest of us any favors . . .  

On today's Morning Joe, after Joe Scarborough empathized at length, in the context of the Syrian situation, about what a lonely job President Obama has, David Axelrod actually had the chutzpah to say "there have been many days where I wonder, gee, I wonder if all of us who helped him get elected did him a favor." View the video after the jump.

September 5, 2013, 8:25 AM EDT

When did Howard Dean peel the "Question Authority" bumper sticker off his Volvo?  On Syria, we've already seen the likes of Nancy Pelosi making like George Patton.  Now of all people comes mega-dove Dean, credulously claiming that we should support President Obama's decision to attack Syria . . . because he knows more about the situation than we do.

Dean's astounding assertion came during a clash with Joe Scarborough on today's Morning Joe.  Scarborough hit Howard where it hurts, telling him he sounded like Paul Wolfowitz defending President Bush's decision to go to war against Iraq.  View the video after the jump.

September 4, 2013, 8:08 AM EDT

Well, there was a Blue Moon just last month, so maybe the time was right for some rare criticism of President Obama by Andrea Mitchell.

Mitchell didn't hold back  on today's Morning Joe, accusing the President of "bungling," being "ambivalent," and of undercutting his Secretary of State and Vice-President.  For good measure, Mitchell suggested that in his heart of hearts, fellow panelist and former Obama spox Robert Gibbs agreed with her acidulous assessment.  View the video after the jump.

September 3, 2013, 9:54 AM EDT

It's something we've been saying at NewsBusters for some time: living in his MSM/political bubble has turned Joe Scarborough—once a conservative congressman representing the Florida panhandle—soft.

So it was refreshing to hear someone who travels in the same circles as Scarborough make the same observation.  On today's Morning Joe, man-about-Manhattan-and-the-Hamptons Donny Deutsch told Scarborough that "your liberal friends are making you soft." The particular issue at hand was Deutsch's support and Scarborough's opposition to the New York City Police Department's program of spying on potential terrorist organizations, including mosques. But the point is of general application.  View the video after the jump.

August 30, 2013, 8:33 AM EDT

Although he didn't dare mention him by name, there's little doubt that Joe Scarborough had Mark Levin—who has taken strong shots at Scarborough's criticize-conservatives-first approach—in mind as a radio talk show host who is "jealous" of him and for whom Scarborough feels "sorry."

On today's Morning Joe, James Carville told Scarborough that the hard core of the Republican party does not consider him one of them.  Scarborough defended himself, claiming that whereas some basement-dwelling, underwear-clad bloggers and a couple of "jealous" radio hosts might not like him, Republicans regularly come up and hug him, proclaiming "thank God!", when he's out in public.  Let's review the record: Mark Levin is the author of The Liberty Amendments, a current #1 New York Times bestseller. He hosts the the fourth most popular radio show in America that is #1 in its slot in several major markets.  Perhaps most importantly, Levin can put his head on the pillow every night knowing he hasn't sacrificed his principles.  Raise your hand if you think the Great One is jealous of Scarborough.  Bueller?  Bueller?  View the video after the jump.

August 28, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT

Presidential historian Jon Meacham did his best on Morning Joe this morning to lower the bar for President Obama's speech today commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  "The country has put an enormous amount of expectation on him . . . since he first came on the stage in 2004 . . . we sometimes have-often have--unrealistic expectations of the office," empathized Meacham.

Nice try.  But wasn't it Barack Obama himself who raised expectations to absurd heights?  Does this phrase ring a bell, Mr. Meacham?: "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when . . the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." View the video after the jump.

August 26, 2013, 8:19 AM EDT

Joe Scarborough is frequently panned in these parts for his propensity to pummel his presumably fellow Republicans.  So it's noteworthy when the Morning Joe host goes after the left for a change.

It happened on today's show, when Scarborough defended voter ID laws, saying most Americans don't think it's racist to require a photo ID when you show up to vote. and scalding the left for trying fit to politicians in North Carolina and Texas with symbolic KKK hoods.   Scarborough even forced a clearly reluctant Mike Allen of Politico to ultimately acknowledge his point.  View the video after the jump.

August 23, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT

Somebody should tell President Obama to forget the folksy metaphors. The prez sounds phony mouthing them, and since they are unfamiliar to him, he's apt to get them wrong. As was the case at today's townhall at Binghamton University, when Obama claimed that reducing spending on government programs would be "like eating your corn seed."  

You might have thought the man from Illinois would have known that the phrase is "eating your seed corn." Then again, they don't raise much maize in Hyde Park.  For good measure, Obama assured the audience that "we don't have an urgent deficit crisis." Let the good times roll! View the video after the jump.