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.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
January 20, 2015, 11:37 AM EST

Tuning into the middle of a Morning Joe segment today, at first I assumed that MSNBC's Ari Melber was chatting with the Oscar nominees.  But no, turns out Melber had scored interviews with President Obama's SOTU speechwriting team. You'll excuse my confusion. As you'll see, just like the Oscar hopefuls, the SOTU writers appear to be a panorama of people of pallor. 

January 16, 2015, 9:32 AM EST

Interesting: Cuba's Bureau of Tourism sponsored a three-minute promo on today's Morning Joe. Oh, wait, no.  That was NBC itself, in the person of Kate Snow, with a smiley, unrelentingly upbeat segment promoting the glories of tourism in Cuba that will now be possible for Americans under President Obama's executive order relaxing former restrictions.

Snow's segment—entitled 'Bienvenidos a Cuba' just like a travelogue—had it all: beaches, dancing in the streets, cigars, rum, beer and all those nifty vintage cars potentially available to collectors. So, you ask, what did Snow have to say about the repressive Communist regime that continues to rule Cuba?  Nada, naturally.  Don't harsh the Cohiba mellow, compadre!

January 15, 2015, 10:10 AM EST

Europe has been the target of numerous acts of Muslim terrorism, while its economies suffer and unemployment is rampant.  The United States is still recovering from 9-11 and has been the object of a number of terrorist attacks/attempts since then.  Yet in neither country is there a voice in mainstream television saying that right-wing parties might have a point when they advocate limits on immigration.

That was Joe Scarborough's point on today's Morning Joe: "I have yet to hear one person on American television or European television, mainstream, say these people [right-wingers favoring immigration restrictions] may have a point."

January 14, 2015, 9:01 PM EST

Has Ed Schultz watched The Manchurian Candidate one time too many?  On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed tried to pin a wacky conspiracy theory on conservatives.  According to Schultz: conservatives are "trying to get Americans to buy into this is if you're a Muslim and you're here in the united States, you're a plant."  So conservatives are trying to convince Americans that Dearborn, Michigan is one big sleeper cell? Really, Ed? Got any evidence to support your fevered accusation? 

January 13, 2015, 8:28 AM EST

"We Blame George W. Bush" is a recurring category in James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" column at the Wall Street Journal.  The meme mocks the penchant of progressives to blame the former president for everything under the sun.  

The phenomenon was illustrated in an ugly way on last night's Rachel Maddow Show. Dem Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut blamed the existence of the Charlie Hebdo terrorists on, yup, W.  Oh, Murphy didn't call 43 out by name.  He didn't have to.  Instead, Murphy went out of his way to claim that the murderers weren't radicalized by ISIS [which might thus be attributable to Obama's neglect], but instead as a result of "the invasion and occupation of Iraq," which he described as a "decade-long mistake."  Got it?  Iraq not ISIS. Decade-long, not recent.  Not Obama's fault.  All together now: We Blame George W. Bush.

January 12, 2015, 2:52 PM EST

Shades of Pauline Kael! Tuning to Ronan Farrow's MSNBC show today, I was surprised to find him in Paris, and asked myself: what is he doing there?  One thing shortly became clear, he wasn't talking to a wide range of people.

Because in discussing the absence of any top US officials from President Obama on down from the Paris march yesterday, Farrow claimed that "everyone here that I spoke to personally said they understood the limitations of schedule that led to that." Everyone?  Really, Ronan?  What kind of bubble do you float in?

January 12, 2015, 8:08 AM EST

It's not enough to read the transcript.  You really need to view the video to appreciate the depths of Christopher Dickey's world-weary, dismissive, preening political correctness. Asked on today's Morning Joe to comment on Muslim preachers inciting violence from their pulpits, Dickey of The Daily Beast sniffed that the problem is "exaggerated," claimed that the number of violent Muslims is "infinitesimally small" [down even from the "minuscule" number he cited last week], and engaged in the most fraudulent form of moral equivalency, saying that there are also crazy Christian, Jewish and Hindu preachers who incite their congregations.

January 10, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

"We think Texas was right to reject the Confederate plates, but that North Carolina should have issued the abortion rights plates.  How can this be?  Are we merely siding with liberals in both cases?  No."

Methinks the two professors who wrote those lines in a New York Times op-ed appearing today doth protest too much. Their column opines on a case before the Supreme Court deciding the circumstances under which states can refuse to issue vanity license plates.

January 9, 2015, 2:27 PM EST

Sand, meet head of Hollande.  In his just-concluded speech on the terrorist attacks in his country, Socialist French President Francois Hollande claimed that the terrorists "have nothing to do with the Muslim religion."

Of course.  Terrorists run through Charlie Hebdo, shouting "allahu akbar" as they murder, and proclaim themselves to be acting in the name of al Qaeda of Yemen.  Why would anyone think this had anything to do with the Muslim religion? As my MRC colleague Rich Noyes observed, Hollande must watch MSNBC [where Howard Dean expressed a similar sentiment.]

January 9, 2015, 8:27 AM EST

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the man who advised President Obama to shoot down Israeli planes, now argues for the appeasement of radical Islam.

Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Jimmy Carter's former national security adviser criticized some of the satire directed at Islam as "unnecessarily nasty" and "extraordinarily provocative."  He said that it was very important "to avoid becoming the number one enemy of the fanatics." Brzezinski argued that we must not be engaged "in anything that appears to be a struggle against Islam," and he criticized President George W. Bush for speaking of a war against "jihadist terror." According to Brzezinksi, "jihadist terror to Islam, to Muslims, means just war." 

January 8, 2015, 8:36 PM EST

Could the Charlie Hebdo attack be opening the eyes of some in the liberal media?

On his MSNBC show this evening, Ed Schultz surprisingly said "when something like [Charlie Hebdo] comes up, when you start talking about the militarization of police you start understand it a little bit or maybe to view it in a different light."   Welcome to the real world, Ed.

January 8, 2015, 9:47 AM EST

If 16% of American conservatives supported suicide bombings and other violence against civilian targets, do you think the MSM would characterize that proportion as "minuscule" and fret that other conservatives were being "stained" as a result?

Yet on today's Morning Joe, there was Christopher Dickey, the Daily Beast's foreign editor, describing as "minuscule" the proportion of Muslims in France who support yesterday's kind of violence. Dickey worried that other Muslims in France will suffer a resultant "stain." But is the proportion truly "minuscule?"  A Pew poll from 2007 found that 16% of Muslims in France support suicide attacks and other violence against civilian targets at least sometimes, including 6% supporting such attacks "often."  With about six million Muslims in France, that potentially represents hundreds of thousands of people.

January 7, 2015, 8:25 AM EST

Howard Dean—that celebrated scholar of Islam—has weighed in on today's murderous rampage in Paris, declaring that he refuses to call the shooters in this and similar cases "Muslim terrorists."

According to Dean, the disregard for the lives of others that these terrorists display "is not what the Koran says." Dean's denial of the obvious puts him in the company of many liberals, most notably including President Obama, who after the beheading of James Foley declared that ISIS "speaks for no religion."  

December 31, 2014, 12:05 PM EST

Although many of the images are striking and well worth viewing, there's also a dose of the liberal politics of the New York Times on display in its "Year in Pictures" in today's paper. 

The very first photo sets the Times' tone, depicting a Ferguson demonstrator with hands up confronted by a heavily-armed phalanx of police. But it is the commentary accompanying another photo that really gives the Times' game away.  Seen from the inside of a car, the text reads [emphasis added]: "Ignacio, an illegal immigrant, pulled into a convenience store in Tulsa, where a simple traffic stop could lead to deportation."  Well, yes.  Be the infraction large or small, drawing police attention can lead to the discovery that someone is in the country illegally and thus subject to deportation.  

December 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

Couldn't the New York Times give it a rest on Christmas Day and feature a column by a believing Christian? No, it couidn't.

Instead, believers who blunder onto the online op-ed page today are hit with a lead column entitled "Religion Without God." And just in case you didn't get the message, there's a second column called "An Atheist’s Christmas Dream."

December 18, 2014, 8:52 AM EST

It's good that we live in a country where citizens feel free to criticize elected officials to their face.  Just wondering, though: when was the last time that freedom was exercised on MSNBC to tell a Dem official that something he said was "inane?"

On today's Morning Joe, Donny Deutsch angrily asked Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami "why do you say an inane thing like that?" Deutsch's diss came in the context of a heated exchange in which Diaz-Balart told Donny that his notion that the Cuba deal was "liberating" for the Cuban people was "naive" and that Deutsch was living "in la-la land."  Deutsch later retaliated, calling Diaz-Balart naive.

December 17, 2014, 8:53 PM EST

Mark Halperin claims that the MSM has an "anti-Clinton bias." That might send the blood pressure of a Newsbusters reader rocketing.  But before downing a diuretic, consider what he and John Heilemann had to say on their Bloomberg TV show today.

Halperin and Heilemann were riffing off the New York Times report that Hillary's State Department permitted a rich Ecuadorian woman to enter the US after her family donated big bucks to Dem campaigns. According to the Bloomberg duo, there are 20-30 such stories out there, and the media will be eager to research them, with Hillary's scalp being a prime prize for an enterprising investigative reporter.

December 17, 2014, 9:18 AM EST

Joe Scarborough has a warning for conservatives: going after Jeb Bush will make him more likely to run for president.

According to Scarborough, speaking on today's Morning JoeJeb is "his mother's son," "kind of "cranky" and "rough around the edges." If conservatives think they will drive Jeb out of the race by attacking him, "they've got him played exactly backwards." To the contrary, conservative attacks will make Jeb more likely to run "to prove them wrong."

December 15, 2014, 6:40 PM EST

With 2015 only a couple of weeks away, Ed Schultz just managed to sneak under the wire in the race for Most Inane Question of the Year by an MSNBC Host.  Speaking to Valerie Plame's husband Joe Wilson on the The Ed Show this evening, Schultz suggested: "Your wife was outed by the Vice-President and now he's saying he has no problem with torture. How do you feel about that? I mean isn't it torture what your family went through?"

Wilson wasn't wacky enough to bite on Ed's bait, but in other comments made clear that he would like to see Cheney prosecuted in international and/or domestic courts.

December 13, 2014, 8:55 AM EST

So who's crazy now?  In 2011, the MSM mercilessly mocked Michele Bachmann for saying that if she became president, gas prices would fall to under $2/gallon.  Typical was Time magazine, which called her prediction "fantasy." Time mocked Bachmann's drill, baby, drill policy, sniffing that if implemented, "prices at the pump might drop a whole 3 cents a gallon."

But on CBS This Morning, there was top oil analyst Tom Kloza, saying that by Christmas, gas prices would be in the range of . . . $1.99-2.29 [I saw $2.18 here in Texas yesterday].  So who's crazy now, and where does Bachmann go to get her apology from the MSM that so mercilessly mocked her?