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:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
February 25, 2008, 8:34 PM EST

The airwaves have been filled today with the clip of an angry Hillary saying "shame on you, Barack Obama," and another of Clinton mocking the notion that, to believe Barack, "celestial choirs will be singing."

But on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews unearthed yet another clip of Hillary at her harshest. And after playing it, a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth Matthews ripped the Clinton campaign strategy. Words won't do justice to Clinton's fingernails-on-blackboard tone, but here's what a raspy-voiced Hillary said in the video Matthews played.

HILLARY CLINTON: Quit misleading people about what I do. [Ed.: shades of Bob Dole's unsuccessful line to George H.W in 1988: "stop lying about my record.'] Quit telling people what is not true about my plan. You know, come on: enough is enough! Let's get real here, and compare exactly what both of us stand for!
View video here.
February 25, 2008, 9:02 AM EST
Here in Ithaca and no doubt in other liberal bastions across the land, you can still see cars festooned with those bitter bumper stickers: "Re-Defeat Bush!" and "Bush: Selected, Not Elected!" Those sentiments remain reflected in an MSM still smarting from Florida 2000. All of which made Ann Curry's words on this morning's Today, announcing the ascendancy of Raul Castro in Cuba, so ironic.
ANN CURRY: In the news this morning, we begin with Cuba and its [first] new president in nearly half a century. Raul Castro was officially chosen on Sunday to take over from his brother Fidel who announced his retirement last week.

View video here.

February 24, 2008, 3:34 PM EST

Might the MSM be miffed at the prospect of Ralph Nader making problems for the Dem candidate?

Ralph Nader will always have a place in Republicans' hearts for his yeoman work in Florida in 2000. But Democrats and the MSM apparently aren't looking so kindly on the hard-left crusader. Consider this comment from CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider [file photo] on this morning's Late Edition, commenting on Nader's announcement on today's Meet the Press that he was again running for president.

JOHN KING: Is there a niche for Ralph Nader that could actually have an impact on the race?

BILL SCHNEIDER: It's a disappearing niche. In 2000 when he ran, he got about 2.8 million votes. In 2004, he got fewer than half a million votes. I imagine anyone left who's going to vote for Ralph Nader are probably people who wouldn't vote if Ralph Nader weren't running. They're the real die-hard. He really has gone over the past eight years, back in 1996 as a green candidate. He's gone from being a revered, national icon to something of a public nuisance.


February 24, 2008, 9:02 AM EST
If that sound isn't the fat lady clearing her throat, it might be the MSM humming Hillary's dirge. Consider, for example, ABC national political correspondent Jake Tapper's Good Morning America segment today on the differences in tone between the Obama and Clinton campaigns. After playing footage of an angry Hillary waving allegedly misleading Obama campaign literature and then of a relaxed Obama laughing it off, Tapper had this to say.
JAKE TAPPER: There's a difference between a winner's confident stride and the strained scurrying of the also-ran.
View video here.
February 22, 2008, 8:16 AM EST

It's not a very long run. It'll be over by February 5th. -- Hillary Clinton, 'This Week,' Dec. 30, 2007.

That was Hillary less than two months ago. Here she was on this morning's Today.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: So no matter what happens in Texas and Ohio, you will go on.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well Meredith, I don't make predictions. I never have, I never will. I just get up every day and, you know, do the best I can to, you know, let people know what I have done and what I am doing and what I will do.

If it's true, as Hillary Clinton claimed during last night's debate, that Barack Obama needs Xerox to copy other's rhetoric, maybe Clinton could use another piece of 20th-century technology: Memorex.

February 21, 2008, 11:31 PM EST
From Elisabeth Bumiller's New York Times follow-up article of today [emphasis added]:
Later in the day, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers directed strong criticism at The Times in what appeared to be a deliberate campaign strategy to wage a war with the newspaper. Mr. McCain is deeply distrusted by conservatives on several issues, not least because of his rapport with the news media, but he could find common ground with them in attacking a newspaper that many conservatives revile as a left-wing publication.

Let me get this straight. The Times has run an article relying on anonymous, disgruntled former associates as sources, dredging up old stories and making base accusations with no hard evidence in support. But it's McCain who's waging war?

February 21, 2008, 10:25 AM EST

MSNBC has cited and discussed the press release issued today by Brent Bozell, President of NB's parent Media Research Center, excoriating the New York Times for its article on John McCain. The discussion came during the network's post-press conference analysis of McCain's appearance this morning.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let me interrupt. This is interesting. Mika just handed me a Blackberry quote here. Chris Matthews, earlier this morning Tim Russert asked the question how would conservatives respond to this? Would they rally behind John McCain, against the New York Times, or would they go ahead and finish off John McCain? I've got this press release. Brent Bozell on the New York Times, quote, politically motivated hit job:
It is beyond appalling that the New York Times continues its steady slide into the journalistic toilet with such a spurious, and so patently motivated, hit job.
February 21, 2008, 8:15 AM EST

File under Law of Unintended Consequences . . .

There has been significant speculation in the MSM that an upshot of the NYT's McCain piece could be to rally support for McCain from conservatives like Rush Limbaugh who heretofore have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about the Arizona senator.

Typical was this exchange from today's Good Morning America, which followed an appearance by McCain campaign advisor Charlie Black.

View video here.

February 21, 2008, 7:03 AM EST
Don't want to take NB's word about the NYT's liberal bias affecting its news coverage? Here's James Kirchick, Assistant Editor of the liberal New Republic, writing in TNR's "Plank" blog last night about the New York Times McCain article [emphasis added]:
What Story?

So here's the essence of the Times' 3,000-word "bombshell" on John McCain.

John Weaver, whom McCain fired last summer (indentified in the Times piece as "now an informal campaign adviser" to McCain, which sounds like a puffed-up euphemism for "unemployed") says that 8 years ago, he and two other former employees who have since "become disillusioned" (read: disgruntled), suspected that McCain was having an affair with a lobbyist.

The rest of the article, rehashing old news about the Keating Five, is, as Rich Lowry says, complete "window dressing." If you had been wondering whether the Times was in the tank for Obama, well, here's your answer.
February 20, 2008, 8:42 AM EST
Tim Russert: "Will you run in 2008?"

Hillary Clinton: "I have no plans to run for president."--NBC's "Meet the Press," 9/15/02

Really? According to a prominent supporter and Arkansan who's known her a long time, Hillary's apparently always had her sights set on the Oval Office.

Retired General Wesley Clark, a member of Team Hillary, appeared on today's Morning Joe and had this exchange with host Joe Scarborough.

View video here.

February 20, 2008, 7:11 AM EST
Someone should tell Chris Matthews to go pick on someone his own size . . .

Matthews enjoyed himself at the expense of a local legislator during last night's MSNBC coverage of the primaries. Kirk Watson [shown in a clip from today's Morning Joe] is a state senator from Texas and an Obama supporter. Matthews cornered Watson at length over his inability to name specific accomplishments by Barack. Credit Kirk for keeping a smile on his face, but there's no denying he was put badly on the spot [HuffPo speaks of Matthews having humiliated the guy].

View the exchange here, via HuffPo.
February 19, 2008, 6:15 PM EST

Chris Matthews on this afternoon's Hardball, speaking with Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Congressman Burton, why do you think Cubans on the island still support the Castro brothers? What is it that allows that lock on those people to continue?
DAN BURTON: I don't think they do support Castro, I don't think they supported Fidel or Raul. That is a Communist regime where they have block captains who watch everybody in each invidual block, and anybody that even speaks out against the government ends up in a gulag.
February 19, 2008, 9:12 AM EST

In MSM circles, "swiftboating" is shorthand for false attacks on Democrats, even though John O'Neill and other members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth stand adamantly behind their allegations about John Kerry's war record.

In an interview of Barack Obama conducted yesterday and aired on this morning's Today, Matt Lauer employed the "swiftboating" code to ask whether the candidate is prepared for the Republican onslaught. For good measure the NBC anchor wondered if Obama is ready for Republican racism.

Lauer, introducing the issue, stated that "Senator Clinton has questioned whether he can withstand negative attacks from Republicans in the fall."


February 19, 2008, 7:50 AM EST

Update | 3:50 PM: Obama Campaign Clarification: As predicted, the Obama campaign has clarified Michelle's remark. See text at foot.

I sense there's often more than a bit of theater in the arguments between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Not to say Morning Joe's the WWF of political talk, but a little conflict never hurt the ratings.

But there was evidence that this morning's dust-up between the duo was for real. At one point, Scarborough disclosed that a producer had told him through his earpiece to put on a smile, but Joe wasn't buying.

The subject was Michelle Obama's statement that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."

Scarborough opined that whereas the flap over Barack borrowing a line from friend Deval Patrick wouldn't hurt him, the attitude Michelle expressed could. Mika rose to Michelle's defense, and the fight was on.

View video here.

February 18, 2008, 7:23 PM EST

Slip of the tongue, or was the man who gets a thrill up his leg from Barack Obama's rhetoric voicing his innermost apprehension at the prospect of Hillary Clinton regaining the upper hand?

On this afternoon's Hardball, host Chris Matthews was discussing the March 4th Texas primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News, John Heilemann of New York magazine, and Norah O'Donnell. The MSNBCer made the point that under the arcane Texas rules in which the race is a hybrid of caucus and primary, it's possible for one candidate to win the popular vote and the other to walk off with more delegates.

That seemed to trigger Chris's anxiety reflex at the prospect of Hillary getting good publicity . . .

February 18, 2008, 9:17 AM EST

Update: Rush Reads From Item

Rush Limbaugh read the first two paras of this item during his first half-hour today, citing "our buddies at NewsBusters." Thanks, Rush! Audio here.

If a supremely prominent Republican who was John McCain's chief surrogate had gotten into an angry confrontation at a campaign event, do you think the broadcast networks would have promptly let us know his interlocutor was African-American?

I do. But none of the broadcast network's morning news shows, at least during this morning's crucial first half-hour, disclosed the African-American identity of the man with whom Bill Clinton got into just such an argument yesterday in Ohio.

Not a word of any incident whatsoever at GMA or the Early Show, at least during the first half-hour. Today did mention that Clinton "showed his temper . . . after an Obama supporter tried to disrupt his speech in Canton," but nothing about the man's identity.

View video here.

February 17, 2008, 10:54 AM EST

For a guy who's supposedly a savvy pol, Chuck Schumer has sure made a damning admission about the Dem presidential candidates. The senior senator from New York has suggested that their word is worthless.

On today's Meet the Press, Tim Russert quizzed Schumer about the change in heart of the Clinton campaign regarding seating delegates from Michigan. The DNC ruled last year that none of Michigan's delegates would be seated at the convention, in punishment for the state having moved up the date of its primary in violation of party rules. Hillary would now like those delegates to be seated since she "won" the primary -- in which Obama's name wasn't on the ballot.

TIM RUSSERT: Senator Schumer, Senator Clinton said in October "you know it's clear this election they're having in Michigan is not going to count for anything." Is that your position?

CHARLES SCHUMER: Well, no. Here's the bottom line once again, Tim. Each candidate of course takes the position that benefits them at the moment.
February 17, 2008, 8:11 AM EST

Let's have some fun deconstructing Frank Rich's NY Times column of today. The gist of The Grand Old White Party Confronts Obama is that it will be nearly impossible for McCain to defeat Obama because the Arizona senator reflects the politics of an almost all-white GOP in the age of a changing America.

February 16, 2008, 12:24 PM EST

Interviewing a student advocate of concealed carry on campus, Good Morning America's Bill Weir fretted today that it could lead to an "OK Corral" situation.

Weir spoke with Mike Guzman, a student at Texas State University and a leader of a national group called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Weir's opening gambit: "Are you carrying a gun now?"

Guzman said that he was, and does so everywhere but on campus. Sort of made me wish Guzman had asked Weir if he was unarmed.

You can view the video of the entire interview here, but I'd focus on this bit of editorializing by Weir:

February 16, 2008, 10:29 AM EST

This is too perfect! Barely an hour after Pat Buchanan proclaimed on NBC that the MSM is full of "out-of-the-closet Obamacans," ABC's David Wright provided a perfect illustration of the genre.

In fact, I'm nominating the GMA segment Wright narrated this morning as the single most slanted episode of the MSM primary season. The screen graphic "On the Attack," set the theme: Hillary is unfairly attacking Obama, and to the extent Barack's gone negative, it's only to rebut Clinton's unfair criticism. Oh, and Hillary's demographic is crumbling. And by the way, Bill's dissing Obama supporters.

View video here.