Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Granbury, Texas.
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
Latest from Mark Finkelstein
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."
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."
"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."
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.
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."
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."
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.
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."
Proving that there is nothing and no one she won't sacrifice on the altar of her political ambition, Hillary Clinton today sent her daughter Chelsea out to smear Bernie Sanders by claiming his health care plan would "strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance." On today's With All Due Respect, Mark Halperin repeatedly said he was "stunned" by the attack. John Heilemann put in blunter terms, flatly calling the attack a "lie."
Last night I suggested that Hillary's lurch left in suddenly proposing a big tax increase on the rich suggested panic on her part. But what she pulled today makes yesterday's panic pale in comparison. Let's call it a sign of craven hysteria.
Is Hillary Clinton panicking? We've seen the polls showing the Iowa race closing to within the margin of error, and Hillary losing in New Hampshire. But could Clinton's internal polling be even more calamitous?
The question arises because Hillary is suddenly trying to rival Bernie Sanders in bashing the rich. Nine months after announcing her candidacy, Clinton suddenly called into Chris Hayes' MSNBC show tonight to announce her proposal for "a new fair share surcharge." C'mon Hillary. You only talked about "multimillionaires." Really wanna be like Bernie? Gotta kvetch about "billionaires"—with a bona fide Brooklyn accent.
Is the Hillary camp sensing mortal political danger over her role as "bully" [to use Maureen Dowd's term] toward Bill's women? The question arises given the agitation, defensiveness and anger displayed by the normally mild-mannered Harold Ford, Jr., a Hillary fan, on today's Morning Joe.
Ford warning Joe Scarborough not to raise his voice to him? Ford defensively rejecting comparisons between Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby? Ford angrily rejecting Scarborough's suggestion that he's taking James Carville talking points in defending Hillary? Something's going on. Scarborough clearly hit a sore spot. Does Ford's defensiveness reflect shakiness across Hillary world?
As Rush Limbaugh would say, they're not refugees or illegal immigrants: they're undocumented Democrats . . . On this morning's New Day, CNN political analyst Josh Rogin [formerly of the Daily Beast], repeatedly claimed that President Obama's push to admit refugees from Syria and elsewhere is a "principled" position, not a "political" one.
Does Rogin or anyone else seriously believe that the admission of refugees is not of a piece with the opening of our borders to immigrants, illegal and otherwise, in an effort to flood the electoral rolls with Democrats-to-be? Does anyone imagine Obama and his fellow Dems would be pushing hard for the admission of millions of new immigrants if they knew, for example, that 70% of them would be voting Republican? Playa please.
Let's see: a guy in a Muslim tunic, who after being arrested tells police he has pledged allegiance to ISIS, and who has made trips to the Middle East, shoots 11 times at a Philly policeman, wounding him. What could be the shooter's motive? If you're Rachel Maddow, the answer is "murky" and "unclear." So said Maddow on her MSNBC show last night.
Joe Scarborough blew the whistle on the MSM this morning regarding its unwillingess to say publicly what people in major newsrooms have incessantly discussed--Bill Clinton's mistresses and the lurid tales involving Jeffrey Epstein, he of Orgy Island infamy, and Clinton.
But if the MSM won't "go there," on today's Morning Joe Scarborough said that Donald Trump indubitably will: "That's what makes Donald Trump more dangerous than any person out there. He will bring up stuff that nobody else will bring up and anybody thinking in the Clinton campaign that they're going to get a break because it's Donald Trump doing this instead of Jeb Bush, you are in la la land."
Someone remind me: isn't there a term for people with this sort of fixation? Joe Scarborough just can't stop looking at and talking about Marco Rubio's footwear, ever since a photo recently appeared of Rubio sporting a pair of boots.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough repeatedly circled back to the subject, managing to work it into a number of conversations. For example, when Mika Brzezinski cited a report that Rubio has shifted his message from optimism to "doom," Scarborough jumped in: "what? Did he break a heel?"
Looking for some comic relief after President Obama's teary announcement of new executive orders on gun control, and Chris Matthews' fawning interview of Hillary Clinton? You've come to the right place.
On this evening's O'Reilly Factor, Dem strategist Nomiki Konst claimed that forcing law-abiding Americans to register their guns would stop the "majority" of mass shootings. You're killing me, Nomiki—you should excuse the expression.
Not merely does Chris Matthews claim that Hillary Clinton was "shocked" to learn that Bill was having an affair with Monica Lewinsky. Matthews can't imagine anybody thinking she wasn't shocked.
On today's With All Due Respect, Matthews said "I don't think anybody thought that she wasn't shocked when this Monica thing came about. You just look at her face in the old clips. You can see she couldn't believe it had happened." Of course. After all, Monica is on record in the Starr Report saying that Bill confided to her that he had "hundreds" of affairs before the age of 40. That's on top of the hundreds of affairs that Dick Morris says Clinton had while in the White House. So naturally Hillary "couldn't believe" that Bill would fool around with a zoftig intern. Right.
Let's you and him fight! That was John Heilemann on today's With All Due Respect, trying to lure Chris Christie into a fight with Republican voters. Heilemann's first foray was to invite Christie to "name an issue where you are out of step with the conservative base of the Republican party." When Christie wouldn't bite, Heilemann tried again, asking Christie to name "an issue where you feel like the conservative base is wrong."
Christie called out Heilemann's ploy, saying "you're kind of looking for some Sistah Souljah moment" which Christie described as "manufactured and political." Even those who are not Christie fans might applaud him for refusing to fall into Heilemann's trap.
Mika Brzezinski has let the cat out of the MSM bag. On today's Morning Joe, Mika admitted that the press corps covering Donald Trump can't be objective about him: "it's like their skin is crawling."
Brzezinski said reporters "ooze with a lack of objectivity" when covering Trump, adding "you can sort of see it in their kind of like smiling, sort of slyly and uncomfortably and almost snarkily while they're reporting on his rallies." Of course, what is true about MSM coverage of Trump has been true of the way the liberal media covered many Republicans. Does anyone think, for instance, that the MSM gave a fair shake to Mitt Romney or George W. Bush?
On Saturday's Good Morning America, co-host Dan Harris suggested Hillary Clinton "may actually have been right" about Donald Trump turning up in ISIS videos. And during the subsequent segment, reporter Mary Bruce said Hillary "predicted" Trump "would" be used in ISIS videos. There's only one hitch: Hillary hadn't "predicted" what ISIS "would" do. On December 19th, during a Democratic debate, Hillary claimed that ISIS was already using Trump in recruitment videos. But no terror group used Trump in a video before today, when he turned up in a video not by ISIS but from an al Qaeda-affiliated group.