Lives in Granbury, Texas.

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Parrots, dogs, small planes, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
January 28, 2016, 7:16 AM EST

On today's Morning Joe, a seething Mika Brzezinski ripped Bill O'Reilly for his failure, during his interview of Donald Trump on last night's Factor, to defend Megyn Kelly against Trump's attacks on her. Trump has called Kelly a "third-rate reporter," a "lightweight" and "not good at what she does." Rather than challenging Trump over his criticism of Kelly, O'Reilly spent the segment importuning him to change his mind and appear at tonight's debate.  At one point, as we noted here, O'Reilly even resorted to citing the biblical tenet of forgiveness, to which an unyielding Trump shot back that the Bible also speaks of "an eye for an eye."

Brzezinski suggested O'Reilly should have retorted: "excuse me? You're talking about her intellect? She's a lawyer . . . she's a mother of three. You do not undermine the credibility and the intellect of my colleague." Concluded Mika: "where was that, Bill? That was lame!" 

January 27, 2016, 9:02 PM EST

Despite his ongoing feud with Fox News, Donald Trump honored a previous promise and appeared on The Factor tonight. Bill O'Reilly tried a variety of tactics to convince Trump to participate in Fox's GOP debate tomorrow night.

Nothing was working, so O'Reilly played his trump card, citing Christianity: "the tenet of forgiveness . . . don't you think that's the right thing to do?" Shot back Trump: "it probably is. But it's called an eye for an eye I guess also."

January 26, 2016, 7:58 PM EST

Imagine that in some future presidential election, two Mexican-American candidates are vying for the Dem nomination. The Dem frontrunner announces he won't participate in the next debate. And a conservative pundit sneeringly says "who's going to watch a debate between the two Mexican guys?" Now imagine all hell descending on that hapless conservative for his breach of political correctness.

Will anything similar befall Chris Matthews? Of course not. But on Hardball this evening, as news was breaking that Donald Trump won't participate in Thursday's debate in protest over Megyn Kelly's presence on the panel, Matthews said "who's going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys?"

January 26, 2016, 7:54 AM EST

Disabled, divorced, with a degree, working several jobs yet making less than $10,000 a year. Struggling to pay bills. Unable to buy presents for her children. Waiting for her disability to come through. Dependent on her parents. That was the sad story that a woman told Bernie Sanders at an event in Iowa yesterday.

On today's Morning Joe, after airing that clip, a visibly moved Mika Brzezinski challenged the panel as to who between Sanders and Hillary Clinton would "be there" for the woman. Mika didn't answer the question herself, though she has been a Bernie booster.

January 25, 2016, 9:26 PM EST

If he wants, Chris Hayes can crow about the refusal of a Houston grand jury to indict Planned Parenthood. But for him to claim, as he did on his MSNBC show tonight, that PP did not sell baby parts is absurd. As the videos revealed, not only was PP selling body parts, one of its officials joked [we have to hope] that she wanted to get as much money as possible so she could buy a Lamborghini.

To support his claim, Hayes relied on the Orwellian decision of a Houston grand jury today to indict not PP, but the makers of the videos exposing their sales of baby parts. Chris conveniently failed to mention that one of the prosecutors in the Houston DA's office is a Planned Parenthood board member and fundraiser. 

January 25, 2016, 7:36 AM EST

Somebody slap an 'L' on Bill Clinton's forehead . . . Slick Willie has been called many things: a grifter, a snake-oil salesman, even an alleged rapist. But one label that hasn't been affixed to him is the L-word: loser. Until this morning.

On today's Morning Joeafter airing Bill Clinton's recent attack on Bernie Sanders, Scarborough said "I know I'm listening to a loser." Continued Scarborough: "I'm listening to somebody that's losing, that's saying 'oh, they've got better slogans, oh, they've got better this, their polls may be a little higher now, or oh, they may be more angry, but --' I've heard that form of speech a thousand times. And it's never good for the one giving it."

January 24, 2016, 11:37 AM EST

It's not easy to get to the left of Bernie Sanders.  He is a self-described socialist, after all. But hats off to Chuck Todd: he's managed to do it! On today's Meet the Press, Todd, citing Ta-nehisi Coates, challenged Sanders: why aren't you for reparations . . .  because of slavery for African-Americans when you're calling for economic justice on so many other levels? Why do you stop short on that issue?"

Sanders gave a long-winded answer offering his solutions for African-Americans and pointing out that President Obama and Hillary Clinton also oppose reparations. But Todd wasn't ready to let go: "you still haven't answered the question why you weren't in favor of reparations." Sanders' is well-known to have relatively weak support among African-Americans. Todd was clearly picking on a sore spot. Somewhere Hillary Clinton is smiling.

January 22, 2016, 6:41 PM EST

Question: what would happen if a Republican pundit called Michelle Obama "mean" and suggested President Obama "unleash" her on an opponent? On With All Due Respect today, co-host Heilemann said that whereas her public image was that of a "lovely and matronly figure," First Lady Barbara Bush was in fact as "mean" and tough as anyone, and said he'd like to see the Bush campaign "unleash" her on Donald Trump.

Heilemann's comment, which we'll stipulate he presumably meant as a compliment in his own way, came in the context of a Jeb campaign video in which Mrs. Bush praises her son as a problem solver--but also takes an unsubtle shot at people who talk "about how popular they are, how great they are." Take that, Donald! Heilemann said he would like to see the Bush campaign "unleash" Barbara on Trump, saying she "might be the one best able to stand up to him." Question: what would happen if a Republican pundit praised Michelle Obama by calling her "mean" and suggesting President Obama "unleash" her on an opponent?

January 22, 2016, 8:28 AM EST

National Review was created by the great William F. Buckley, Jr., the brilliant pioneer of the modern conservative movement. Throughout the current presidential campaign season, NR has been a consistent critic of Donald Trump, whose conservatism it views with, to say the least, skepticism. And so it was entirely consistent for NR to publish "Against Trump," a special edition appearing today that assembles essays by an array of leading conservatives, including our own L. Brent Bozell.

That said, "Against Trump" came in for a barrage of criticism on today's Morning Joe. John Heilemann called it an "in-kind contribution" to Trump, by depicting him in precisely the way he prefers: as pitted against the Establishment. And Nicolle Wallace said it was a "stupid move and a stupid piece" that risks splitting the conservative media from the conservative base.

January 21, 2016, 8:14 AM EST

Hillary Clinton's defense lawyers made a stunning appearance on today's Morning Joe, asserting that David Petraeus' mishandling of his emails was "worse" than what Hillary did, and arguing that she should not be charged. Oh, wait: those weren't Hillary's lawyers: they were NBC's Chuck Todd, and politician-turned-professor Harold Ford, Jr.

Can anyone recall this level of naked partisan advocacy by an MTP host? And when Ford would not stop telling Joe Scarborough that he "had" to agree with Todd, Scarborough eventually snapped at Ford "you're a gd lawyer."

January 20, 2016, 8:35 PM EST

Hey Chris Matthews: is GloZell qualified to be President of the United States? How about John Travolta or Joy Behar?  

On his MSNBC show this evening, Matthews attacked Sarah Palin's legitimacy as a Trump endorser by questioning her presidential qualifications. GloZell, Travolta and Behar are all Hillary endorsers. So how about it Chris: which of them could you imagine in the Oval Office? Trump advocate and former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault demolished Matthews' absurd attack, saying she was supporting The Donald for president, not Palin or anyone else.

January 20, 2016, 8:15 AM EST

Hillary's in hot water. Needs Fauxcohantas. That, in a nutshell, was Mika Brzezinski's argument on today's Morning Joe. At the end of a segment highlighting the way Bernie Sanders has gone after Clinton for the massive "speaking fees" she's received from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms, Mika concluded: "the only person that can help her now is Elizabeth Warren, and she's going to have to make her her running mate. There's no other way around it."

As we noted here and here, Mika has long been a Lieawatha fan, urging her to run way back in 2013. If Warren can't top the ticket, Mika wants her to at least get the consolation prize of the VP slot. Question for readers: how would a Hillary/Warren ticket play in the general election?

January 19, 2016, 9:56 AM EST

Wow! That was Mika Brzezinski's repeated reaction to Robert Gates' amazingly frank take on the presidential field. Appearing on today's Morning Joe, the former Defense Secretary shot down all contenders mentioned, dumped on two who have not yet entered the race, and retroactively knocked President Obama for always thinking he was the smartest guy in the room. 

Here was Gates' rap on various candidates: Ted Cruz: people proposing carpet bombing "don't know what they're talking about." Joe Biden: "I don't think so." Donald Trump: "if you have never beeen in government, your ability to make the government work is going to be significantly reduced." John Kerry: "I don't think so." Anyone in the field possessing the qualities he'd like to see in a president? "I don't see any."

January 18, 2016, 7:45 PM EST

Mark Levin is American media's most knowledgeable, passionate proponent of constitutional conservatism. No wonder Chris Matthews hates him. On his MSNBC show Monday evening, Matthews slurred Levin as "one of the most distasteful human beings out there." Matthews' attack came in the context of commenting on the defense that Levin and Rush Limbaugh have mounted against Donald Trump's claim that Ted Cruz is "nasty."

January 18, 2016, 8:55 AM EST

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." That's how Harry Truman downplayed the importance of friendships in politics. But at a certain point, do poor personal relations impede a president's ability to get things done? 

On today's Morning Joe, after rolling a clip in which Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a disliked and "very nasty guy" who can't make deals, a discussion ensued as to whether Cruz's personality would be an impediment to his effectiveness as president. Joe Scarborough was particularly harsh in his assessement, saying "it's one thing being an outsider; it's another thing being a pariah."

January 16, 2016, 12:42 PM EST

On today's Melissa Harris-Perry show, the perpetually outraged Nina Turner of Ohio ripped Ted Cruz and Chris Christie for their language during this past week's debate: "to call the president a boy, those of us who understand African-American history—cause that's exactly what they called him was a boy—and you don't do that to anybody, and especially to an African-American man."

Republican candidates calling President Obama a "boy?" Offensive! Just one paltry problem for Ms. Turner. They didn't. As can be seen in the debate clip that rolled, Ted Cruz said that "China is running over President Obama like he is a child."  And Chris Christie called the president a "petulant child." Either Turner wasn't listening, or was making the unsubstantiated claim that referring to Obama as a child is "exactly" calling him a "boy." Crying racism everywhere is like crying wolf. It diminishes the impact when it really does occur.

January 16, 2016, 8:17 AM EST

Do your Allen Iverson imitation, but instead of "practice," try saying "alleged" in your most disbelieving voice. . .  On today's Good Morning America, co-host Dan Harris struck a blow against political correctness, taking issue with Ron Claiborne's insistence on calling a caught-on-tape convenience store shooter an "alleged" robber. The show rolled the security video several times, showing the "alleged" robber repeatedly shooting right at the woman at the register. 

Said an incredulous Harris "I like how you call him an 'alleged' robber. I think we can say, given the video, he did it." Responded Claiborne: "I'm not going there, Dan. Innocent till proven guilty." Shot back Harris sarcastically "it was Photoshopped, ladies and gentlemen."

January 15, 2016, 8:24 AM EST

Ted Cruz: undocumented Canadian candidate?  Andrew Cuomo didn't quite go quite that far, but the New York governor surely took a birther shot at Cruz during his appearance on today's Morning Joe.

Invited on to comment on Cruz's claim that Donald Trump represents "New York values," New York Governor Cuomo said: "You think the sign says only people from Canada that happen to come from Spanish-Irish descent? We said everyone is welcome." 

January 13, 2016, 7:29 PM EST

Yesterday, we noted With All Due Respect's report on Chelsea Clinton's absurd attack on Bernie Sanders, in which Chelsea claimed Sanders would "strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance." John Heilemann rightly called Chelsea's line a "lie." Today, Heilemann reported that he and co-host Mark Halperin have received "a lot of blowback," i.e. criticism, from fellow MSM members for their report. 

Heilemann chalked up the MSM's criticism up to its "muscle memory" in not reporting on a president's child. I'd say the real reason for the MSM's reticence is its tendency to rally around liberals of all sorts, and certainly not to accuse them of a "lie"—even when the evidence of it is, as in this case, indisputable.

January 13, 2016, 7:58 AM EST

Here at NewsBusters, one of our classification categories under Media Bias is "Sudden Respect." The notion is that all a Republican has to do to win praise from the MSM is to bash fellow Republicans or conservatives.

There was a perfect illustration of the phenomenon on today's Morning Joe.  In her Republican response to the SOTU, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley counseled Republicans to reject "the siren call of the angriest voices" and urged "welcoming immigrants regardless of race or religion." The shots at Donald Trump and to some extent at Ted Cruz were unmistakeable. Morning Joe loved it. "Welcome to the big stage," enthused Mika Brzezinski.  Willie Geist declared Haley a "star." Gushed former CNN CEO Walter Isaacson: "great."