Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
February 22, 2016, 10:32 AM EST

If there was one theme on today's Morning Joe, it was Joe Scarborough's relentless, merciless mocking of the notion that Marco Rubio has an electoral "firewall" in Nevada. It began with Mika Brzezinski's citing of a National Review article from December that spoke of such a firewall. Joe, butter not melting in his mouth, turned to Mark Halperin, coyly wondering why he was laughing at the notion. Halperin opined that, in fact, Donald Trump was likely to carry Nevada with his biggest margin yet.

Scarborough returned repeatedly to his routine, even working it into a Richard Haass report on the upcoming elections in Iran, with Scarborough declaring that Rubio had a "firewall" there, too. It was a pitiless Scarborough pile-on, persisting right through the show-closing "What Have We Learned?" segment, in which Joe claimed that "Nevada is Spanish for Rubio" and that, yes, one more time, Rubio has a firewall there.

February 21, 2016, 11:21 AM EST

On today's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd helped perpetuate the myth that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms. Interviewing Donald Trump, Todd said "Democrats will say the money they give to Planned Parenthood does not go to abortions. That the money they give to Planned Parenthood only goes to other women's health issues including mammograms and things like that."

Let's make this absolutely clear: Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms. Its own FAQ on the matter makes that clear. Even the Washington Post says "the myth that Planned Parenthood actually offers mammogram X-rays to patients has been long debunked, and needs to stop being repeated . . . When Democratic lawmakers or other supporters assert that Planned Parenthood 'provides' mammograms, this is highly misleading." If Todd was going to echo the Dem's "highly-misleading" line, he had a duty to inform viewers that it was untrue.  He didn't, and thus misled MTP's audience. A shame.

February 19, 2016, 9:14 PM EST

If you're going to flaunt your superior knowledge, it's a good idea to get it right . . . On this evening's O'Reilly Factor, Geraldo Rivera scolded guest host Eric Bolling for pronouncing the state of Nevada as Ne-VA-da. Condescendingly instructed Rivera: "It's a Spanish word, Ne-VAH-da. Gringo." 

There's just one problem. When it comes to pronouncing the name of the state, and not the Spanish word, Bolling was right and Rivera was wrong: "The only acceptable pronunciation of the state is 'Nev-AD-a,' not 'Nev-AH-da.' Pronouncing the state’s name incorrectly can draw ire among residents."--Time magazine.

February 19, 2016, 8:22 AM EST

Talk about setting someone up to fail . . . Heading into a contest, politicians traditionally like to lower expectations. But Joe Scarborough has raised expectations for Marco Rubio almost to the roof. On today's Morning JoeScarborough repeatedly cited talk that if Marco Rubio doesn't finish second in the South Carolina primary, "he has to get out of the race."  

Chuckling through Joe's comments, Mark Halperin batted away talk of a less-than-second-place finish forcing Rubio out of the race: "with all due respect, that's one of the silliest things I've heard this cycle. Rubio needs to beat Bush here and that's it." Halperin added that should Rubio finish second [behind Trump], "it's a big problem for Ted Cruz."

February 18, 2016, 6:44 PM EST

Aid and Abet: "to assist another in the commission of a crime by words or conduct." Yup, in the mind of Dems, it's nothing short of a crime for the MSM to do anything but get behind whichever presidential candidate has a 'D' after her name.

Witness former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe--now a Hillary endorser--on today's With All Due Respect. He told John Heilemann that if Marco Rubio were the Republican candidate "you in the press, that worries me, because that's going to be a really interesting narrative: young, diverse, versus old." Plouffe went on to complain that the press will "aid and abet" Rubio, rather than letting Hillary define him. "And that's a big problem," concluded Plouffe. Hear that, MSM? Unwavering support for Hillary's plan to rip Rubio is required!

February 18, 2016, 9:01 AM EST

On today's on Morning JoeJoe Scarborough flatly stated that people that know him, as in his family, know whom he's voting for, and "it's not Donald Trump!" That's newsworthy because Scarborough has been accused by many, as herehere and here, of being in the tank for Trump. Clashing with Time's Joe Klein, Scarborough said that, while not supporting Trump, he and Mika Brzezinski have simply been making the case that for months, the media have been "dead wrong" about Trump in constantly predicting his imminent demise.  

Klein, meanwhile, paid a very backhanded compliment to Trump. According to Klein, Trump has a "highly developed lizard brain" and a "feral intelligence," while knowing nothing about policy. Klein added that Trump reminds him of "the Emperor Caligula who got his greatest pleasure from destroying his opponents and humiliating them." 

February 16, 2016, 10:17 PM EST

How can we put this politely? "Choked up," our hind quarters . . . In  the most blatant case of the MSM covering for a liberal candidate with a potentially serious health issue that this NewsBuster can remember, CNN's Brianna Keilar has described a Hillary Clinton coughing fit as a case of Clinton getting "choked up."

Readers are urged to watch this clip from Hillary's speech in Harlem today. This is someone experiencing a serious, extended, coughing fit. Yet on Don Lemon's CNN show this evening, Keilar described this as Hillary being "choked up so badly that she struggled to speak for a few minutes and they actually cheered to fill the time." Rightttt.

February 16, 2016, 6:49 PM EST

Could the end be near for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign? Would a back-in-the-pack finish in South Carolina be the final blow? Kasie Hunt seems to suggest so.

MSNBC's Hunt, appearing on today's With All Due Respect, sounded an ominous note for Bush fans. Reporting that the Bush campaign has been disappointed by the lack of a bump coming off a strong debate performance, Hunt said "to a certain extent there's a little bit of throwing up of the hands . . . The sense I'm getting from the people I talk to in the Bush circle is getting more and more pessimistic."

February 13, 2016, 12:06 PM EST

Welcome to the official Evangelical Christian Church of America, brought to you by President Ted Cruz . . .  

That's the scare-mongering scenario that Joy Reid painted on MSNBC today. Reid alleged that as president, Cruz would "ignore" the part of the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of a national religion. She in essence falsely accused Cruz of planning to establish evangelical Christianity as the law of the land.

February 12, 2016, 8:27 AM EST

"If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you." That was Groucho's famous line in A Day at the Races. It's also Hillary's strategy in South Carolina, as she hugs President Obama as close as she can in an effort to appeal to African-Americans, who make up a majority of Dem primary voters there.

Joe Scarborough threw a serious spanner into Hillary's strategy on today's Morning Joe. Scarborough displayed a tweet from Hillary spox Brian Fallon saying how "strange" it is that leaks about investigations into Hillary "seem to emerge on the eve of debates and primaries." Repeatedly calling Fallon a "hack spokesman," Scarborough pointed out that Hillary, via Fallon, was attacking the "integrity" of President Obama and the inspectors general in his administration. That might loosen up Hillary's clinch of Obama a bit in the eyes of Dem voters!

February 11, 2016, 5:54 PM EST

Any would-be Republican presidential candidate who had--hanging around his neck--all the scandals and investigations that surround Hillary Clinton, would likely not have the chutzpah to throw his hat into the ring. He'd know that the MSM would create such a toxic environment that his candidacy would never have a chance of getting off the ground. 

And so it is somewhere between amusing and outrageous to hear Mark Halperin claim, as he did on today's With All Due Respect, that the press is "biased against" Hillary Clinton. Granted, Halperin did so in the context of discussing this evening's Dem debate between Hillary and Bernie Sanders. As between those two, might the MSM lean towards Sanders, as the further-left candidate? Could be. But if Hillary wins the nomination, does Halperin doubt that the press will be pulling for Clinton against the Republican? Some bias!

February 11, 2016, 7:18 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough forcefully sought to refute the notion that Chris Christie's takedown of Marco Rubio in the last GOP debate was an unprovoked attack. Scarborough painted a very different picture, one in which by dint of his town hall work, Christie had been steadily climbing in the New Hampshire polls--until Rubio unleashed a wave of negative advertising on Christie that drove his numbers back down. It was only then that Christie counter-attacked, suggested Joe.

Scarborough said pundits were either "ignorant" or "lying" to their readers if they portrayed Christie as "mean" for having exposed Rubio as he did, or that Christie's poor performance in New Hampshire was the result of a backlash against his attack. Noteworthy was Scarborough's statement that the funding for Rubio's attack ads against Christie was "dark" money. At one point, Scarborough called it "dirty" money, before correcting himself and repeating "dark" money.

February 10, 2016, 9:30 AM EST

Yesterday, Politico reported that in a Wall Street speech, Hillary sounded more like "a Goldman Sachs managing director." Today, Bloomberg's Josh Green quoted a financial CEO who attended another Clinton speech as saying Hillary "lavished praise on Wall Street, said you guys are the pillar of our economy."  Ruh-roh: how will the increasingly left-wing Dem electorate react to that? GOP strategist Steve Schmidt subsequently said that release of the speech transcripts could be "fatal" for Clinton's campaign.

Happy day after New Hampshire, Hillary! The MSM is not eager to sink Clinton. But the drip, drip, drip of these stories about what Hillary told people who paid her millions for her remarks threatens to swell into an irresistible torrent that will force Clinton to disclose. And when she does . . . 

February 9, 2016, 8:41 AM EST

About to begin her word-asociation game about the other candidates with Donald Trump, Mika Brzezinski said "I'm scared to do this." Prescient on Mika's part. Because although Trump had been in a relatively light-hearted mood during his Morning Joe appearance today, things suddenly got deadly serious.

When it came time to give his word on Hillary, and despite having been reminded that she had attended his wedding, Trump said: "in a certain way evil."  Making clear it was no slip of the tongue, Trump repeated himself: "in a certain way, evil." Mika's "whoah!" in response probably spoke for a lot of people in attendance.

February 8, 2016, 9:30 AM EST

Bill Clinton has lost his fastball. That's an emerging theme from this campaign season, and it was on glaring display on today's Morning Joe.

Introducing a clip of Clinton [dressed like a lumberjack] attacking Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Mika Brzezinski said the ex-prez had picked up the "hatchet"—not a good image for a would-be statesman. After the clip aired, Joe Scarborough called it "painful." Mike Barnicle said it was a "cringe" moment, with Chuck Todd seconding the assessment.

February 5, 2016, 8:59 PM EST

¡Muchas gracias, señor Matthews! If Bernie Sanders becomes the Dem nominee, the GOP might wind up having to pay royalties to Chris Matthews .  . On this evening's Hardball, Matthews aired what he himself said could be an anti-Bernie Republican ad, cobbled together from clips of various radical statements Sanders has made over the years.

In Chris' commercial, Sanders is seen saying he's a socialist, confirming he's not a capitalist, admitting that he applied for conscientious objector status, indicating that he would raise taxes to somewhere between 50 and 90%, and preaching political "revolution." Workers of the world, unite behind Bernie!

February 5, 2016, 6:10 PM EST

With all due respect, indeed! On the Bloomberg TV show of that name that he co-hosts with Mark Halperin, John Heilemann today reported that the current and former governors in the GOP field--Bush, Kasich and Christie--think Marco Rubio is a "punk."

Clarified Heilemann: "when I say 'punk,' they have the same view that Hillary Clinton had of Barack Obama [in 2008]: line-cutter, punk, man of no accomplishment." It's hard to imagine the dignifed Jeb calling Rubio a punk, but in his interiew on CBS today, Jeb did flatly assert that Rubio had accomplished "nothing" in the Senate. Readers will also remember that yesterday, Joe Scarborough grilled Rubio-endorser Rick Santorum, who struggled to name a Rubio accomplishement in the Senate.

February 5, 2016, 8:19 AM EST

Then why the hell weren't those "top journalists" shouting it from the top of the evening news and in banner headlines? . . . On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said "as we were leaving Iowa, I heard from a lot of top journalists who whispered "you know Bernie won." I heard that time and time again. 'You know Bernie won.'"

With Scarborough asking "where is this, Bolivia in the 1930s?" and Steve Schmidt saying it was "shady as hell," the blame was laid at the feet of the Democrat party, which runs an intentionally murky process so it can control things. No doubt. But what about the responsibility of those "top journalists" to blow the whistle? Why did they "whisper" and speak "quietly?" How might this campaign be different if the day after Iowa the headline had been either "Bernie Wins" or "Debbie Wasserman Schultz Throws Iowa to Hillary?"

February 4, 2016, 8:22 AM EST

Joe Scarborough has denied having it in for Marco Rubio. But on today's Morning Joe, he went on an anti-Rubio rant so protracted that one segment wasn't enough to contain it. Scarborough first called Rubio the "Republican Obama," who's been marketed like a "bag of potato chips," and the "emptiest suit" in the campaign. After a commercial break, Scarborough hectored Rick Santorum, who has just endorsed Rubio, repeatedly challenging him to name Rubio's accomplishments. 

By all means, let's carefully examine the record of all candidates. But for Scarborough to deny that, for whatever reason, he has a grudge against Rubio is a joke. Can anyone remember the last time Joe attacked Hillary or any other prominent Democrat with such sustained vitriol?

February 3, 2016, 7:18 PM EST

Of all the things you can call John Heilemann, one thing you cannot is "clandestine Republican operative." So it might be a sign of just how frazzled the Hillary campaign has become that her spokesman has in essence accused Heilemann of being a GOP catspaw.

On today's With All Due Respect, Heilemann pressed Clinton spox Brian Fallon as to whether Hillary would call herself a liberal. Fallon sought refuge behind the term "progressive." When Heilemann persisted, Fallon snapped "you're asking me because you want the RNC to clip this and turn it into a 15-second ad." Paging Richard Hofstadter's Paranoid Style in American Politics.