Mark Finkelstein

Mark Finkelstein's picture
Contributing Editor


Lives in Oak Island, North Carolina

mark.finkelstein@gmail.com 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein

Steve Schmidt is a brother-in-arms with Joe Scarborough. Both quit the Republican party, and have made their life's work the taking down of President Trump by any means necessary. And so it was that Schmidt appeared on today's Morning Joe, and unleashed a veritable hailstorm of hyperbole about impeachment, including the allegation that the facts surrounding this impeachment effort "exceed by orders of magnitude anything that occurred in Watergate."



On Joy Reid's MSNBC show, regular guest Tiffany Cross blames white media executives and the voters for Kamala Harris's poor performance in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. On Joy Reid's MSNBC show, Sunday, regular guest Tiffany Cross announced that she was going to ignore the taboo against blaming the voters. She proceeded to blame them, citing the reaction of listeners to Harris's interview on The Breakfast Club podcast with Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy.



Liberals love to condescend to conservatives, imagining us to be a bunch of benighted rubes. We poor, misguided souls will see the light once the veil is lifted from our eyes by kindly liberals carefully explaining things at a level within the ken of our limited intellectual capacity. Combine that with the trope of relatives arguing politics over Thanksgiving, and you have Joy Reid this morning on her MSNBC show. She imagined a "cranky Uncle Roscoe" yelling "read the transcript!" She promised to provide viewers with all they needed to know about impeachment, so they could "easily explain [it] to Uncle Roscoe and Auntie Carol."



When it comes to insulting and disrespecting President Trump in crude terms, Joe Scarborough is the veritable Don Rickles of political pundits. And so, Scarborough's faux-outrage rant this morning about a line Republican Senator John Kennedy used about Nancy Pelosi could go down as one of the most egregious examples of hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness in recorded television history.



Joe Scarborough goes on a sneering rant, claiming President Trump's rally in Kentucky caused the incumbent Republican governor, Matt Bevin, to lose. Scarborough repeatedly refers to the president as "Donald," at one point calling him, "son."



On Morning Joe, "MSNBC Republican" Elise Jordan calls "criminal" President Trump's comment that the former US ambassador to Ukraine was "going to go through some things." She seems to suggest that Trump's comment was worse than Hillary Clinton's failure to protect US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who was murdered, violated, and dragged through the streets by a mob in Benghazi. 



Michael Steele's got a good gig going as an MSNBC political analyst. And if that means that the former RNC Chairman must throw fellow Republicans under the bus, well, a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do. And thus there was Steele on Joy Reid's MSNBC show on Saturday morning. Steele said American Conservative Union leader Matt Schlapp and other supporters of President Trump are "embarrassing, pathetic, desperate, sycophants."



Don't get Chuck Todd wrong: his heart is definitely in the right [i.e., left], liberal place about President Trump. On his MTP Daily show today, Todd made clear that he believes there is "damning" evidence against the president that supports his impeachment. But on a pragmatic political level, Todd expressed surprising skepticism about the wisdom of proceeding with impeachment, instead of letting voters decide at the ballot box in little more than a year.



Joe Scarborough turns his lonely eyes . . . to Fox News? Looks that way. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough dreamed of a scenario in which Fox News would turn against President Trump, thus bringing down his presidency. Scarborough analogized it to a "Cronkite moment." That was the moment in 1968 when CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite essentially declared the Vietnam War unwinnable, thereby turning a chunk of American public opinion against it. LBJ was reported as having said at the time, “if I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”



Joe Scarborough has a verbal tic—or is it a tick?—about bedbugs. When Doral was under consideration as the G-7 site, Scarborough, on multiple Morning Joe episodes, went on riffs about bedbugs at the hotel, playing off a lawsuit someone had brought about being bitten. On today's Morning Joe, Al Sharpton managed to work Doral bedbugs into the conversation. That triggered Joe's bedbug fascination yet again. In the course of 90 seconds, the b-word was mentioned no fewer than 18 times.



You know that the news of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a raid by US forces came as a terrible blow . . . to the liberal media. Their first reaction was surely to worry that this success would strengthen President Trump. And so the MSM predictably is going about its business of downplaying the significance of the event—and even seeking to turn it into a negative. Take, for example, Yasmin Vossoughian, guest-hosting on Joy Reid's MSNBC show this morning, and doing her best to find the cloud on the silver lining. She managed a magnificent bit of concern trolling with this line: "I wonder here if this type of killing only reinforces the ideology of Baghdadi’s followers? And in fact, strengthens it?"



In a 60 Minutes interview, Joe Biden attacks Jared Kushner's lack of "credentials" to negotiate Middle East peace, saying he knows "nothing about it." CNN's reaction was essentially to say: you go, Joe! On this morning's New Day, Chris Cillizza twice called Biden's criticism "valid." Even that wasn't enough for Alisyn Camerota, who said: "it’s not only valid. When you hear it coming out of Joe Biden’s mouth, somehow it sounds even more shocking."



On today's Morning Joe, Deutsch managed to flout virtually every "ism" taboo imaginable in criticizing the Republican congressmen who yesterday stormed Adam Schiff's closed-door impeachment inquiry. Here was Deutsch: "Those white guys, those middle-aged, boring, nerdy-looking white guys walk down that [sic] steps was pathetic . . . these pathetic wienies walking down that step . . . How pathetic. And Willie and I were talking, just as men, how do you go home and look at your wives and look at your children? Just pathetic, pathetic people."



On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough floated the fanciful notion that whereas in 2016 Trump supporters were unwilling to publicly admit that they were voting for him, now, despite polling data showing overwhelming Republican opposition to impeachment, the Trump base in fact secretly supports impeachment.



Looks like Hillary Clinton has an asset deep within the bowels of MSNBC. On Morning Joe, former Hillary campaign aide Adrienne Elrod, now an MSNBC contributor, vigorously defended Hillary's attack on Tulsi Gabbard, in which the failed 2016 presidential candidate alleged that the Russians were "grooming" Gabbard to be a third-party candidate. Elrod claimed that Hillary is "giving a very valid, very important warning," and went on to assert:



Joe Scarborough has provided a stunning example of the contempt that he, and the liberal media at large, have for the millions of Americans who support President Trump. On Morning Joe, Scarborough says people attending Trump rallies have a responsibility "to not be so stupid that they should be kept away from blenders." Scarborough goes on to warn Trump supporters not to be "dumb" and "ignorant," saying they must educate themselves in order to see that Trump is lying to them.



New Day co-hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota first take turns reading out loud a letter that President Trump recently sent to Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The letter contained blunt language, by which, for example, Trump urged Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool."  Berman then turns to Jim Acosta, CNN's White House correspondent and Trump antagonist extraordinaire, and sneeringly said: "We have this letter with this language that isn't exactly at Ph.D. level."



On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough scalded Beto O'Rourke's gun confiscation proposal as a "stupendously bad ide." Joe fretted that the proposal, along with O'Rourke's support for stripping tax-exempt status from religious groups that don't support same-sex marriage, would be "be repeated around the clock between now and next November by whoever is the Republican nominee." When Joe interviewed O'Rourke a bit later, he pressed him on the confiscation proposal, eventually forcing Beto to admit that people declining to comply with such a law would receive a "visit" from "law enforcement," which would "recover" the firearms.



Today's Morning Joe offered up another example of what we call "Sudden Respect," the phenomenon in which a person formerly despised by the liberal media suddenly earns its respect by doing something to liberal liking. Joe Scarborough has been a fierce critic of John Bolton. But suddenly this morning, Scarborough overflowed with praise for Bolton, repeatedly referring to Bolton as a "patriot." So what did Bolton do to turn Scarborough's scorn into such fawning admiration? Reports that Bolton branded the Trump administration's Ukraine policy a "drug deal."



For some time now, Morning Joe has been consumed by a visceral hatred of all things Trump. Today's show offered up yet two more examples. First, Donny Deutsch claimed "if you know Donald Trump, you know there isn't anyone he wouldn't throw -- he would throw his family under the bus. And I don't say that glibly." Joe Scarborough heartily agreed: "well of course!" A bit later, when Deutsch accused Scarborough of mocking melanoma, Scarborough replied: "I didn't mock cancer. I thought you were talking about your girlfriend, Melanomia."