Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
December 4, 2015, 7:44 AM EST

Yes, it's fair to report Ben Carson's problems in pronouncing "Hamas," as a reflection of his lack of foreign policy fluency. But despite being billed as an MSNBC political "correspondent," on today's Morning Joe Hunt mocked Carson in a manner more befitting a late-night comedian trolling for laughs from a liberal crowd.

After rolling a clip of Ben Carson addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition yesterday in which Carson's pronunciation of "Hamas" left something to be desired, Hunt cracked "there were some questions afterwards in the room whether he was talking about the terrorist group, or the Middle Eastern food staple." Washington Post columnist Gene Robinson gleefully piled on, saying that when he was in Gaza he had "some very good hummus" and "I also met with a member of Hamas." A sighing, seemingly sympathetic Mika Brzezinski observed "it's just too easy."

December 3, 2015, 9:36 PM EST

Rudy Giuliani has said that if you can't figure out that what happened in San Bernardino was an act of terror, "you're a moron." But from Chris Hayes, to the FBI, to a representative of the Muslim community, to a Mother Jones reporter, to President Obama himself, one thing emerged from Hayes' MSNBC show tonight: they're all terribly confused and cautious about what possibly could have been the "motive" of the San Bernardino shooters.

Check out the video montage. It would be comical but for the heinous circumstances—and the unwillingness of the country's political, media and religious leaders to call out radical Islamic terrorism when they see it.

December 3, 2015, 11:47 AM EST

Maybe Martin O'Malley could come up with a list of all the constitutional rights which, as president, he would suspend. On Jose Diaz-Balart's MSNBC show today, discussing the rights of Americans to buy guns, O'Malley said "the very fact that Paul Ryan would start talking about due process and these sorts of issues, I mean I think is outrageous" in the wake of San Bernardino.

During an appearance earlier in the day on Morning Joe, Ryan had discussed the need to respect due process in the context of politicians, including President Obama, who complain that people on no-fly lists are not ipso facto prohibited from buying guns. Ryan pointed out that some people are placed on such lists mistakenly.

December 2, 2015, 8:15 PM EST

Money-grubbing ghouls. How better could you describe Howard Dean's group, Democracy for America? They can't even wait for the blood to dry before exploiting the slaughter in San Bernardino for dollars. 

This NewsBuster just received an email from DFA admitting "the tragic situation in San Bernardino is still going on." And yet, because Republicans respect the Second Amendment, DFA accuses "Paul Ryan and the entire Republican party" of "aiding and abetting terrorists," "standing with terrorists," and being people who "enable terrorists." Of course it's all about that button at the bottom of the email: DONATE.

December 2, 2015, 7:17 AM EST

UPDATE:  Later in the show, Scarborough quoted from this item on the air. Wallace sarcastically commented "Finkelstein likes me a lot." Video clip at foot.

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If Nicolle Wallace wants to attack Donald Trump, there's nothing wrong with that.  And the way she "pre-tweeted" Trump's counter-attack on her, saying she was too stupid to keep her job at The View, was actually rather witty.

But on today's Morning Joe, Wallace made a bad mistake. Rather than focusing her fire on Trump, she attacked the millions of decent Americans who support him.  According to Wallace, Trump is "tapping into the most sinister sentiments in the country."  Joe Scarborough pushed back, pointing out that Wallace's own father is an avid Trump fan. "My father is listening to his dark angels," replied Wallace.

December 1, 2015, 9:54 AM EST

Here at NewsBusters, we usually reserve popcorn-popping for times when Democrats are scrapping among themselves. But in this strange political season, it looks like we could be in for some Orville Redenbacher moments among Republicans, too.

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough mentioned having watched some of Megyn Kelly's Fox News show last night, and claimed that Kelly was "vicious" in going after Donald Trump. In the unkindest cut of all, Scarborough said Kelly "sounded like Rachel Maddow." View the video of Scarborough's statement, followed by clips from last night's Kelly File. You'll see that Megyn doesn't crack the slightest smile when Steve Hayes describes Trump as akin to "a dog with diarrhea." And a skeptical Kelly is all over Roger Stone when he attempts to defend Trump.

November 30, 2015, 12:16 PM EST

Ruth Marcus has come close to blaming Republicans for the Colorado Springs shootings. Appearing on Jose Diaz-Balart's MSNBC show today, Washington Post columnist Marcus said that "the Republican candidates . . . have been part of the inflamed and inflammatory rhetoric about Planned Parenthood, about the sale of baby parts, about dismembering live babies . . . I think it's a fair conclusion, especially based on his . . . alleged mentioning of 'no more baby parts,' that this kind of rhetoric helped create this environment."

Really? Is there no room for people--without being accused of inflaming people to commit murder--to express their opposition to abortion and to the largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood? To state what the videos indisputably demonstrate: that among other things that PP was in the business of selling baby body parts? 

November 30, 2015, 9:37 AM EST

Growing up in a quiet Jewish neighborhood of the Bronx, I was about as far removed as could be from the gun culture. But as a five or six year old, I would beg my parents to take me to visit the toy store a few blocks away so that I could gaze longingly in the window . . . at a toy six-shooter.

I share my story because I think it's typical. Of course there are exceptions, but from time immemorial the great majority of little boys have been drawn to toy weapons while little girls have largely been attracted to objects familial and domestic. At least until now. According to Yahoo Finance reporter Jen Rogers, who in an article entitled "Toys and gender: How things are changing this holiday season" recently wrote "if you think Barbies are for girls and Nerf weapons are for boys, you must be living in 2014."

November 29, 2015, 7:46 AM EST

It was one of those stunning live-TV moments revealing the seamier side of TV news.  Pat Brown is a criminal profiler who has taken a principled stand on media appearances about mass murderers. She will not discuss individual criminals, their motives, etc., believing that to do so only increases the number of mass murders. 

But when Brown appeared on CNN's New Day this morning, co-host Christi Paul immediately tried to engage her in a discussion of Colorado Springs shooter Robert Dear's possible "anti-government" views. Retorted Brown: "I'm a little disturbed because I made an agreement with CNN to appear this morning only under the condition that we do not talk about the particular shooter, use his name, or show his face." Undeterred, Paul tried to lure Brown into a discussion of the shooting investigation, but again Brown rebuffed it There the interview ended, but co-host Victor Blackwell came on to claim that the agreement had been honored because neither Dear's photo nor name had been used.  Didn't use Dear's name? Really? Have a look at the screencap, Mr. Blackwell. 

November 28, 2015, 8:17 AM EST

When last month Ben Carson suggested that people confronted by a shooter should rush him en masse, ABC ran a story criticizing him, claiming that Carson "appears to be second-guessing" the victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

But on ABC's Good Morning America today, in the wake of the mass shooting in Colorado Springs, guess what an expert suggested? "If you can get other people to go with you, that is extremely important, in fact, that's one of the teaching tools today in schools is everyone at mass start throwing stuff at the shooter and go at him." So, did GMA host Dan Harris criticize the expert for second-guessing the victims?  Of course not. He's not a Republican running for office. Harris called the expert's suggestion "great advice."

November 25, 2015, 8:19 AM EST

You name the problem, Tom Friedman's got the answer: raise taxes on gasoline. Looks like Tom Brokaw's caught Friedman's gas-tax raising fever.

On today's Morning Joe, Brokaw proposed, as part of fighting the war on terror, raising gas taxes by five cents per gallon. Brokaw argued that it is wrong that the burden of fighting falls on just 1% of Americans, and that the result of his tax increase would be that "every time you go to the pump you have to think about what's going on elsewhere."  For liberals, any event is a good excuse to do the thing they love best: raising taxes.

November 24, 2015, 8:41 AM EST

In a bid to pump up his anemic African-American support, Bernie Sanders very publicly chowed down yesterday with rapper Killer Mike, who at a subsequent rally endorsed Sanders. Reporting on the meeting of the unlikely duo, the Washington Post wrote that among other things they discussed "their mutual appreciation for the work of the philosopher Noam Chomsky."

So Bernie digs Noam Chomsky. You remember Noam: condemned the killing of Bin Laden and said that George W.'s crimes "vastly exceed bin Laden's;" self-described anarchist-socialist; member of Marxist Industrial Workers of the World; agnostic on the Holocaust, doesn't think Holocaust denial is anti-Semitic; banned from visiting Israel because of anti-Israel positions; defender of the genocidal Khmer Rouge. So what has been the MSM's reaction to Sanders fondness for Chomsky? Crickets, of course. Try to imagine the MSM reaction if a leading GOP presidential candidate expressed appreciation for a similarly-controversial figure on the far right.

November 23, 2015, 9:27 AM EST

Death of a Salesman's Willy Loman was a guy "out there in the blue riding on a smile and a shoeshine." President Obama sees ISIS as Willy's bad mirror image, dismissing the terror group as guys with "conventional weapons and good social media."

On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough blasted Obama's dangerous insouciance, calling it "staggering to our allies. It is staggering to people like Frank Bruni, a liberal columnist. It is staggering to Diane Feinstein, liberal Democrats. It is staggering to the world. The president's in a bubble by himself, saying that these are just bad guys with guns and good social media.

November 21, 2015, 12:17 PM EST

I turned on MSNBC this morning in the admittedly masochistic hope of seeing Melissa Harris-Perry, only to find Harry Smith--of all people--hosting continuing coverage of the Paris attacks and related issues.

After running clips of Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee questioning the admittance into the US of Syrian refugees, Smith immediately displayed on screen and read the passage of Matthew 25 that begins "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat . . . I was a stranger and you invited me in," etc.  Smith then turned to the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, pastor of the hyper-liberal Middle Collegiate Church in NYC's East Village, and asked this hyper-leading question: "is this as important a piece of the New Testament as exists?" Surprise! Lewis agreed that it "absolutely" is.

November 20, 2015, 7:22 AM EST

Joe Scarborough opened today's Morning Joe with coverage of the unfolding terror attack in Mali, and promptly turned to Ayman Mohyeldin for a report.

The very first words out of Mohyeldin's mouth were "it's important to emphasize we still don't know the identity of these gunmen who have taken the hotel hostage." Great point, Ayman. I mean, sure, they were yelling Allah Akhbar, and released hostages who could recite passages from the Koran. But can anyone prove they're not a bunch of Yale frat boys on early Spring Break wearing hideously inappropriate Halloween costumes? Or perhaps some insufficiently sensitive Mizzou administrators invading the safe space of the hotel guests? 

November 18, 2015, 9:35 PM EST

I took some flak awhile back for saying that--his liberalism notwithstanding--Chris Matthews had a patriotic streak.

More evidence for that notion on this evening's Hardball, as Matthews twice derided President Obama's response to ISIS as "dainty," and kvetched that "I don't see us doing anything."

 

November 18, 2015, 9:29 AM EST

There's been a lot of arrant nonsense spoken since the Paris attacks, but Margaret Carlson's might just take the cake . . . 

On today's Morning JoeBloomberg columnist Carlson suggested that because the US is better than Europe at assimilation, potential terrorists sneaking into our country might not carry out their plots. Said Carlson: "maybe they become Americanized, maybe the anger goes away. Maybe what they snuck in to do they're not going to do because we do have an acceptance of these people." Great point, Margaret.  If only we'd had a little longer to hug it out with the 9/11 terrorists.

November 18, 2015, 7:09 AM EST

Suggestion for John Kerry: if traveling makes you so tired that you say things undermining the war against radical Islamic terrorism, do us all a favor—stay home on Nantucket and conduct your diplomacy by Skype . . . 

On today's Morning Joe, here's how Mark Halperin explained Kerry's despicable statement about the "legitimacy" and "rationale" of the Charlie Hebdo attacks: "Secretary Kerry has a history when he's tired in particular after he hurtles around the world of speaking imprecisely." Was Kerry speaking "imprecisely"—or did he let the truth slip of precisely how he and President Obama really feel?

November 17, 2015, 7:26 PM EST

Mike Huckabee might be down in the polls, but he's still up to throwing a good political punch. 

On this evening's MTP Daily, Chuck Todd suggested, by way of advocating the admission of Syrian refugees, that the US is better than Europe at "assimilation." Retorted Huckabee, speaking of one of the Boston bombers, "he really assimilated, until he blew up the Boston Marathon with a pressure cooker." Boom!

November 17, 2015, 7:58 AM EST

If Mike Barnicle were around at the beginning of WWII, perhaps he would have written "we better not fight back. It might make Hitler mad."     

On today's Morning Joe, the cringing former Boston Globe columnist, second-guessing a united front against terrorism, worried "wouldn't . . . creating a NATO force just add fuel to the recruiting fever that ISIS employs within Europe?" Maybe Mike should start referring to ISIS as Borg. After all, he apparently believes that resistance is futile.