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
April 24, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

If there was anyone in America who recklessly rushed to prematurely proclaim a position on George Zimmerman, it was Joe Scarborough.  Before Zimmerman had even been arrested, at a time when even Al Sharpton was being relatively cautious with his language, Scarborough used his Morning Joe platform to brand Zimmerman a "murderer."

But there was Scarborough on today's show with the gall to condemn conservatives who "raced blindly" to embrace Zimmerman. View the video after the jump.

April 22, 2014, 7:47 AM EDT

To use a word dear to NewsBusters' dear late Noel Sheppard, ah, the delicious ironies of history. Back in 1998 Hillary Clinton famously complained of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" out to get her husband. Sixteen years later, it's Hillary herself being accused at sitting at the center of a powerful "cabal" capable of crushing political opponents.

The irony is that this unflattering portrait of Hillary's machine emanates from the media left, in the person of Mika Brzezinski.  On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski argued that, when recently interviewed by ABC's David Muir, Warren had to deny any presidential ambitions because had she not "the Hillary Clinton cabal would close in on her and get rid of her so quickly."  View the video after the jump.

April 21, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT

Shut up, Joe Scarborough explained.  That was the Morning Joe host's advice today to people in Topeka, Kansas who are concerned that First Lady Michelle Obama's visit to the city's joint high school graduation ceremony will limit seating for family members and take the spotlight off the graduates themselves.

The man who makes his living offering his opinions and expressing his concerns instructed Kansans to "keep those concerns to yourself."   Adding insult to injury, Scarborough called the Kansans' concerns "asinine." View the video after the jump.

April 18, 2014, 10:01 AM EDT

Who would deny that Hillary could use a little softening of her icy image?  But when Andrew Ross Sorkin had the audacity to suggest that Clinton's impending grandma-hood would work to her advantage in that regard, the collective wrath of the Morning Joe panel descended on him.

John Heilemann, as is his habit, sneered.  "Republican" Nicolle Wallace actually led the Sorkin scolding, suggesting it was "stupid" to think as he did.  View the video after the jump.

April 15, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT

Q. How do you know when Barack Obama has set a dubious new record for presidential weakness?  A. When Jimmy Carter's former top adviser mocks his anemic response to an international crisis.

On today's Morning Joe, Zbigniew Brzezinski argued that the US needs to discuss with Ukraine the provision of defensive weapons in the face of the Russian threat.  He then mockingly observed: "the Ukrainians did ask us for help in that regard. Do you know what our answer has been? We offered them prepackaged food for their soldiers. Well, you can't win a military conflict by throwing pancakes at somebody." The laughter on the normally Obama-friendly set should still be ringing in the President's ears.  View the video after the jump.

April 10, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

Democrats have clung to the claim that women earn 77% of what men do with religious fervor, as evidenced by the "religious revival, Praise Jesus" atmosphere at President Obama's equal pay event at the White House earlier this week.

But although the 77% figure has been thoroughly debunked, on today's Morning Joe Mika Brzezinski alleged that the real gap is actually "far worse." Mika made her claim without benefit of any actual statistics. View the video after the jump.

April 9, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

Looks like the left might be getting some of that old-time religion.  Old-time, as in circa 2007-8, when Barack Obama was being hailed as The One and some sort of messiah.

On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski described yesterday's White House equal-pay-for-women event which she attended, sitting next to Valerie Jarrett. Brzezinski said  "it was sort of like a church revival. I'm telling you, every time the president made a comment about why women should be paid equally to men. Equal pay for equal work, talking about the same jobs. You'd hear like "okay." Clapping, and almost like "praise Jesus." It was fun." View the video after the jump.

April 4, 2014, 8:28 AM EDT

Today's Morning Joe devoted a seemingly endless opening segment to the lavish lauding of David Letterman, who yesterday announced that he would be retiring sometime next year.  Not once, but twice, Joe Scarborough actually equated Letterman's importance with that of the Beatles.  Gag me with a walrus.

But not once in the 12-plus minute love letter to Letterman did anyone find time to mention the liberal slant that Letterman brought to the Late Show. Ironically, in the subsequent segment Scarborough lambasted Harry Reid for, among other things, lying in claiming that Mitt Romney over a period of ten years hadn't paid any taxes.  Guess who else perpetrated the same lie, accusing Romney for good measure of being a "felon?"  Yup, Letterman, as documented by our dear late NewsBusters colleague, Noel Sheppard. View the Morning Joe video after the jump.

March 31, 2014, 8:08 AM EDT

How bad are things for Meet The Press?  The once-dominant Sunday show has fallen into a distant third place. And now Mika Brzezinski has resorted to an embarrassing attempt to revive her network's failing patient.

On today's Morning Joe, Mika managed to mention Meet The Press by name no fewer than eight times in one segment. Her argument was that MTP is the go-to place for politicians wanting to make news, and that Chris Christie had blown it by not appearing yesterday, sending two surrogates instead.  View the video after the jump.

March 27, 2014, 8:21 AM EDT

At 63, Chuck Schumer can still dance—for awhile.  But eventually, age or ambition caught up with the New York senator.  On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough grilled Schumer over Harry Reid's accusation, uttered on the floor of the Senate, that the Koch brothers are "un-American."

For as long as he could, Schumer moonwalked away from Scarborough's question as to whether the Kochs are un-American.  As one of Harry Reid's top lieutenants—and a lean and hungry senator who almost surely aspires to take Reid's leadership role when the opportunity arises—Schumer was on the spot.  But Scarborough to his credit was relentless, and Schumer eventually wore down, making a distinction without a difference.  Schumer asserted that the Kochs "actions" in running their run ads "absolutely" are "un-American." View the video after the jump.

March 24, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

Jimmy Carter has blamed the Catholic and Southern Baptist churches for the abuse of women around the world. According to Carter, men around the world use the doctrine of those churches on the role of women as justification for abusing women.

Appearing on Monday's Morning Joe, the former president said: "with the writing of St. Paul, you can selectively take verses out of the Bible and you can justify women not being able to be priests and so forth, so the Catholic church and the Southern Baptist Convention and others quite often say well women are not qualified to have an equal role in the service of God as men. And of course men all over the world take this as kind of a proof that they can abuse their wives or pay less pay, you know?"  View the video after the jump.

March 20, 2014, 12:23 PM EDT

Talk about a guy who could pick a fight in a phone booth—if there were phone booths anymore . . .

On today's Daily Rundown, in a conversation about charter schools, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel repeatedly insulted host Chuck Todd, suggesting he was ignorant about charter schools, was "backward" looking, and that being in Washington had affected "your brain." Todd generally took it in stride, but after one insult couldn't suppress a "wow" of amazement at Rahm's rudeness.  View the video after the jump.

March 20, 2014, 8:51 AM EDT

You're MSNBC.  That hurts I know, but work with me.  So, what would you like to feature: President Obama getting Putinized?  Syria flouting the WMD agreement?  Iran's inexorable march toward nukes?  The ongoing Obamacare debacle?

Not so much.  Say: why not make like CNN and go all in on MH-370? Which is precisely what Morning Joe did today.  The first 103 minutes were devoted exclusively to the story of the missing plane, as an endless series of experts and panelists speculated to no particular avail. Rare that we agree with Madeline Albright. But long into the second hour, during—finally—a Ukraine segment, Albright said "I know we're all focused on the airplane," but suggesting that Ukraine is by far the more critical issue.  Mika Brzezinski reacted defensively.  View the video after the jump.

March 18, 2014, 8:01 AM EDT

The line between liberal political punditry and outright, unapologetic, liberal political activism at MSNBC has faded to the very vanishing point.

In the latest promo for his All In show, Chris Hayes boasts "I'm not just a passive witness. I am not there to just tell you a story. I'm there to act out: to do it in real time—to do politics, not talk about it."  There's something comic about Hayes' delivery.  He speaks with all the manic strength and conviction of President Obama laying down a red line to Vladimir Putin.  View the video after the jump.

March 13, 2014, 8:55 AM EDT

Here at NewsBusters, we've regularly raked Chuck Todd over the coals.  So let's give the NBC political director credit for calling out Dems today on their lame spin over the loss by Dem Alex Sink in this week's special congressional election in FL-13.

On today's Morning Joe, Todd mocked Dems in the White House and elsewhere now claiming that FL-13 "is not a swing district.  It's an 'R+13.':" Said Todd: "Well, it's only that because your people didn't show up! They didn't move. They still live in the district. They didn't leave!" View the video after the jump.

March 12, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT

As an embarrassed Joe Scarborough said, Mika Brzezinski didn't have her "filter on" this morning. On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski broke out a lurid tale of how as a young woman she had been held "hostage" by the son of the President of Lebanon, who apparently had hijinks on his mind.

Scarborough had just teased Mika with a variation on his running joke of how she vacations in the south of France. Joe jibed that in retaliation for France's sale of warships to Russia, Ukraine notwithstanding,  Mika would be imposing personal sanctions on France by cutting back her weekend trips there from 26 to 23 yearly.  In response, Brzezinski described how 25 years ago, the son of the President of Lebanon held her "hostage" in the south of France, took her to porn flicks, and bought her bikinis "with only one piece." View the video after the jump.

March 10, 2014, 8:11 AM EDT

Here was the Morning Joe panel bemoaning Ted Cruz's supposed incivility at CPAC in allegedly insulting war hero Bob Dole, when up pops Mike Barnicle to ask "what does it say about CPAC, where the most popular speaker they had, the one who received the most rousing reception is a moron, Sarah Palin?"

A bit later, Mika Brzezinski piled on, calling Palin a "multi-million dollar moron."  When Joe Scarborough challenged her, saying "you don't think that, right?", Mika didn't retract her slur, saying only that Palin is "savvy in selling a message that makes a lot of money." View the video after the jump.
 

March 7, 2014, 9:43 AM EST

$10 an hour?  $20?  Let's make everyone rich and call it an even $100! 

As a proud member of the email list of Organizing For America, the successor organization to the Obama campaign, I just received a message, next to a big photo of the President, stating "Our minimum wage is at a historic low, and millions of full-time workers are struggling just to get by."  The message then invites recipients to fill in a blank answering this question: "What do you think the minimum wage should be?" Image after the jump.

March 7, 2014, 8:26 AM EST

Mika Brzezinski has a jaded view of why young Americans choose to join the military.  According to the Morning Joe host, they do so "if they need the money."

Brzezinski made her comment on today's show during a segment on a book comparing the values and beliefs of the various generations of Americans. When Joe Scarborough challenged her doing-it-for-the-money claim, saying that many serve "for all the best reasons," Brzezinski began to back down.  Mika also suggested that her fellow panelists didn't know many people serving in the military, which might say more about the MSM bubble in which they exist than it does about the millenial generation. View the video after the jump.

March 1, 2014, 8:23 AM EST

Perhaps because President Obama is looking pitiably weak in his mano a mano with Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine,  ABC News chose to bury the story during today's Good Morning America.  Incredibly, the show-opening teaser didn't mention the Ukraine--but did highlight the latest on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  As the program unfolded, and before saying a word about the Ukraine, GMA inexcusably chose to air segments on rain in California, snow in the North, a laser being shined into a plane's cockpit, an airplane bird strike, the arrest of a Mexican drug lord, the cause of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death, and Mardi Gras in Brazil.

When GMA finally got around to the most serious story in the world right now, it did its best to protect President Obama.  Two nights ago on FNC, Charles Krauthammer did a devastating take-down on President Obama's feeble statement, saying “the Ukrainians, and I think everybody, is shocked by the weakness of Obama’s statement. I find it rather staggering.”  So how did GMA's reporter Alex Marquardt describe the Obama statement? As a "harsh warning."  Gag me with a kalashnikov, and view the video after the jump.