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
November 27, 2007, 9:09 AM EST

Update | 10:25 AM -- Zogby says Penn should know better . . . Clinton campaign #1 user of Zogby results. See entire Zogby response at foot.

Presaging the kind of press control a President Hillary Clinton might try to impose, a member of her inner circle scolded Joe Scarborough today for having the audacity to mention a poll with results unfavorable to Clinton.

Yesterday, Zogby International released a new poll indicating that in a general election head-to-head match-up, Hillary Clinton would lose to all of the leading Republican contenders by a 3-5% margin. Even worse from the perspective of Clinton heading into the Dem primaries, the same poll shows Barack Obama beating each of the Republicans by 5-7%.

Chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn was a guest on "Morning Joe" during today's 7:30 ET half-hour. Nothing could be more natural than for Scarborough to raise these newsworthy results. But Penn wasn't pleased.

View video here.

November 26, 2007, 8:12 PM EST

Widows and orphans, beware: the Republicans are coming!

That was the upshot of Chris Matthews's observation today about two Republican front-runners.

View video here.

Financial Times US Managing Editor Chrystia Freeland has become a "Hardball" regular of late.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND: The other thing that people worry about is if someone forecloses on their home, and that's the issue we haven't really seen raised too much in the Rudy-Romney debate. I think as we move into 2008 and the economy looks a lot grimmer, that's going to be another important battleground.
November 26, 2007, 7:38 AM EST
Was that Mike Huckabee on "Morning Joe" today -- or John Edwards? The former Arkansas governor found an odd way to refute charges he's not a true conservative, indulging in some class-warfare rhetoric that would have been the envy of the former North Carolina senator.

Mika Brzezinski hit Huckabee with an excerpt from Bob Novak's column of today. Here are the opening paragraphs from Novak's False Conservative:
Who would respond to criticism from the Club for Growth by calling the conservative, free-market campaign organization the "Club for Greed"? That sounds like Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich or John Edwards, all Democrats preaching the class struggle.
November 21, 2007, 10:46 PM EST

If Alan Colmes turns up at your Thanksgiving get-together sporting a couple shiners and a re-arranged smile, don't press the poor guy if he claims to have walked into a door. The FNC host just got clobbered by a certified DC heavyweight -- Bob Novak.

Novak was a guest on this evening's Hannity & Colmes. Colmes first questioned the venerable reporter about the item he published this week regarding the Clinton campaign's claim to have a scandalous story about Barack Obama. For the record, Novak stated this evening that since first reporting the story, "I've had substantiation from another source, another very, very good source, who with his own ears heard Clinton people putting out" allegations about Obama.

That's when Colmes decided to press his luck. Mistake.

View video here.

November 21, 2007, 8:56 PM EST
Moral relativism alert: a professor appearing on this evening's Hardball has declared that a US attack to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would be handing Iran "their very own 9-11." Jo-Anne Hart, of Lesley College and Brown University, was a guest on this evening's Hardball. Host Chris Matthews set us up the bomb with a leading question.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What do you think were the lessons, the WMD lessons of Iraq? Going to war over WMD to a large extent. What did we learn?
View video here.
November 21, 2007, 8:22 AM EST

David Shuster and Mika Brzezinski demonstrated on today's "Morning Joe" that there's no good-news Iraqi lemon they can't press into bad-news lemonade.

View video here.

Thanksgiving is a time for reconciliation, so let's show some sympathy for our liberal media friends. It's been a tough 24 hours for them. Yesterday, articles appeared in the New York Times and LA Times reporting the dramatically improved security situation in Iraq.

Today brings another blow, as Thomas Friedman suggests that beyond the military successes, there might be an informal kind of political accommodation going on in Iraq that he refers to as an "ATM peace."

November 20, 2007, 4:34 PM EST
As the first anniversary of its grand declaration fast approaches, does NBC continue to believe that Iraq is in a state of civil war? Readers will recall that as we described here, Matt Lauer opened the Today show on November 27th, 2006 with these words:
Good morning. Civil war. A bloody weekend of sectarian clashes in Iraq and no sign it's letting up.
A bit later, Lauer portentously declared:
For months the White House rejected claims that the situation in Iraq has deteriorated into civil war. For the most part news organizations like NBC hesitated to characterize it as such. After careful consideration, NBC News has decided the change in terminology is warranted and what is going on in Iraq can now be characterized as civil war.
November 20, 2007, 8:57 AM EST

Update | 10:48 AM ET -- Mystery Solved: Morning Joe Executive Producer Chris Licht has emailed me to say: "Mika was reading research emailed from a segment producer to her Blackberry: specifically, the Bloomberg News article re: Townsend says election is potential terrorism target."

Have a look at the screencap. It's Mika Brzezinski scrolling what looks to be her Blackberry as she poses a hostile question to Fran Townsend, President Bush's top White House adviser on terrorism and homeland security.

Townsend, who has announced that she's stepping down after four years in the Bush administration, appeared on today's "Morning Joe." After some conversation with Willie Geist, Mika Brzezinski took over, peppering Townsend with a series of challenging questions on everything from the failure to capture Bin Laden to waterboarding.

Mika appeared to have Blackberry in hand throughout. When it came to her last, and nastiest, question, she was busily scrolling it as she read off its screen.

View video here.

November 20, 2007, 7:22 AM EST
The President's escalation strategy has failed. We need to stop refereeing this civil war, and start getting out now. -- Hillary Clinton, statement of August 23, 2007

As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results. -- letter to Pres. Bush from Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, June 12, 2007

That's not a cement mixer you hear. It's the collective Dem gnashing of teeth. Things have gotten so bad -- meaning good -- in Iraq that now even the New York Times is reporting it. Have a look at Willie Geist -- sitting in for Joe Scarborough -- opening today's "Morning Joe" by holding up the paper's front page to display its headline: "Baghdad Starts to Exhale as Security Improves."

View video here.

November 19, 2007, 2:57 PM EST

Americans would love the President Bush that Rush Limbaugh has had a chance to spend time with. That was one of Rush's concluding comments in a unique simulcast of his show that he conducted with Martha MacCallum on Fox News Channel this afternoon from 1:30-2 PM ET.

View video here.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: The president is a fine man, I like him. He's incredibly upbeat. He's so different in person than the guy you see on television.
November 19, 2007, 9:02 AM EST

David Shuster has hurled a hand grenade in the direction of one of Washington's most venerable political reporters. The MSNBC "correspondent" has alleged that many people don't believe Robert Novak has "any credibility as a journalist."


View video here.

Shuster sat in as a "Morning Joe" panelist today. His comment came in the context of a discussion regarding the Novak column from over the weekend stating that "agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party's presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it."

November 18, 2007, 2:30 PM EST
"CNN's 'Reliable Sources' is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." -- from CNN's "Reliable Sources" website [emphasis added].

When it comes to "how journalists do their job," the story of the week was Wolf Blitzer's spectacular failure to do his. Going into Thursday's debate, the big question was how Hillary was going to deal with the inevitable grilling over her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But when Blitzer finally got around to the issue, well into the debate, he didn't bother to ask a single follow-up question to Hillary's terse "no" answer.

So surely Reliable Sources's host Howard Kurtz would put that question squarely on the table on today's show, right? Wrong.
November 18, 2007, 9:23 AM EST
If you don't buy into a Goresque view of global warming, you're not just wrong -- you're immoral. That was ABC's implication this morning.

The notion came from Good Morning America co-anchor Bill Weir at the end of his interview of Jim Gooch. The Dem state representative from Kentucky recently had the audacity to hold hearings with witnesses who cast doubt on global warming theories.

View video here.
November 18, 2007, 7:15 AM EST
Who'd you bet on in a Mixed Martial Arts match between Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd? You might get the chance. Earlier this week, Krugman called Barack Obama a "sucker" and a "fool," while praising Hillary. Maureen Dowd has now gone after Paul's girl, calling Clinton every name in the headline and a few more.

The theory of Dowd's column today is that while Hillary knows how to shake Barack Obama with her ice-cold demeanor, Rudy will revel in the combat with Clinton. Excerpts from "Shake, Rattle and Roll" [emphasis added]:
November 17, 2007, 8:39 AM EST
A Google alert this morning brought an article about a speech in which NBC's Lester Holt claimed that he and his MSM colleagues "are perfectly capable of putting [their] personal bias aside." Holt went to state that "the level of organized attacks against news organizations from the blogosphere and even from competitors in recent years is unprecedented and disturbing."

Less than an hour later there was Holt on the Today show . . . which proceeded to run a segment typifying the very kind of bias he claims the MSM is "perfectly capable" of putting aside.
November 16, 2007, 10:58 AM EST

Rush Limbaugh has often indicated that he has no beef with Wolf Blizter. And I must say that I've generally found Blitzer to be a straight shooter who has rarely-if-ever provided grist for my NewsBusting mill.

All of which makes that much more perplexing Blitzer's bail-out at arguably the key moment last night's debate. The CNN anchor's failure to follow up on Hillary's monosyllabic answer on driver's licenses for illegals, letting her slide with her terse "no," was in my opinion the greatest single act of journalistic malpractice thus far in this campaign season.

November 16, 2007, 8:35 AM EST
Which prominent pundit has called Barack Obama a "sucker" and a "fool"?

A. Rush Limbaugh
B. Ann Coulter
C. Michelle Malkin
D. Mark Levin
E. Laura Ingraham

Jeopardy theme-music playing . . .

November 15, 2007, 5:06 PM EST
In recent times, Al Gore has been in the winner's circle. From the Oscar to the Nobel to NBC's adoring Green Week, Al has known nothing but triumph.

Imagine his chagrin, then, to learn that in one important category he has lost out to none other than . . . O.J. Simpson.
November 15, 2007, 9:50 AM EST

L. Brent Bozell, founder of Media Research Center, NB's parent, made an appearance on today's "Morning Joe." Brent is the author, with MRC/NB's Tim Graham, of the recently-released "Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell you About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will."

Look for comprehensive coverage of Brent's appearance from my colleagues at MRC and NB during the day. But for present purposes, let's focus on one point Brent made that speaks volumes about the depth of the MSM's partisanship -- that for broadcast networks, promoting liberal ideology trumps even the bottom line.

Video (8:12): Real (6.04 MB) or Windows (5.02 MB), plus MP3 audio (3.75 MB).

November 15, 2007, 6:51 AM EST
"Good evening, this is Katie Couric. I'll be anchoring our Decision 2008 coverage tonight, as the world elects the next President of the United States. The polls closed just minutes ago in Pakistan but we're already able to declare Barack Obama the runaway winner in the Islamabad Capital Territory, and he seems poised to pull off a clean sweep of all Pakistan's provinces."

OK, not even the New York Times is proposing -- yet -- giving the vote to everyone in the world. But for whatever reason, the Times's Roger Cohen apparently thinks the best thing he can say about Barack Obama is that -- given the chance -- he's the candidate that most people around the world, including Pakistanis, would put in the White House.