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

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."



On the face of it, Michael Gerhardt is qualified to serve as a CNN legal analyst on constitutional questions. He is, after all, a Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law at the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill, and a Scholar in Residence at the National Constitution Center. But there was one part of Gerhardt's resume that CNN hid when New Day's John Berman brought him in to comment on President Trump's decision not to cooperate with the House impeachment inquiry. Gerhardt is also a long-time Democrat activist.



Joe Scarborough: he's not just another liberal talking head anymore. Now he's a bona fide Democrat electoral strategist, offering advice on how Dems can rack up a big win in 2020 and defeat President Trump. On today's Morning Joe, Professor Eddie Glaude was beside himself. He told Joe "I don't know what to do," faced with people who listen to Fox News and buy into the "lies" of Republican politicians. Scarborough consoled/explained to Glaude: "What you do is you register, you get your friends to register to vote, you drive them to the polling booth, you have an election, and you win so convincingly like the Democrats did in 2018."



This might sound like a sick joke—if not a Kafkaesque nightmare—but E.J. Dionne is actually complaining the MSM's impeachment coverage has been . . . too fair to President Trump. Appearing on Joy Reid's MSNBC show today [guest-hosted by Jonathan Capehart], Dionne began by approvingly citing WashPost media critic Margaret Sullivan's column, in which she claims that the MSM have not done "nearly enough" in pushing back against Trump surrogates. She demands: "the mainstream media must end its addiction to both-sides journalism." Dionne echoed that, saying: "there are moments in politics when one party has an interest in the truth, and the other party has an interest in falsehood. President Trump lies! It's not partisan for the media to be partisan toward the truth."



The screencap in the chyron—Could Impeachment Inquiry Land Trump Associates in Jail?—made Joy Reid's strategy this morning very clear. To get Trump associates to flip against the President, try to panic them with the possibility of prison.



CNN's chyron [see below, echoed by host John Berman at the end of the clip] makes the liberal network's conclusion clear: the latest revelations about Ukraine are "damning" for President Trump. And when Alisyn Camerota interviewed CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin this morning, she was toeing the CNN party line, suggesting that President Trump's actions constituted "bribery." But for whatever reason, Toobin declined to go with CNN's damning flow, repeatedly saying that he saw no "criminality" in Trump's actions. That said, Toobin did suggest that Trump had committed an impeachable abuse of power.



On the Morning Joe of September 17th, Adam Schiff told Sam Stein that his committee: "have not spoken directly with the whistleblower." If fact, the whistleblower had contacted the committee and they spoke. On today's Morning Joe, Stein said of Schiff's misrepresentation,  "I will say, this puts him in some trouble. He clearly wasn't being forthright in that interview with us a couple weeks ago. And he should have been." Stein went on to downplay the importance of Schiff's untruth, saying the substance of the whistleblower's complaint is more important than the process by which it came to light. 



http://info.mrc.org/stop-the-media-impeachment-crusadeDire talk of fascism, threats to democracy, constitutional crises, etc. are Morning Joe's everyday fare in the Age of Trump. But to the fevered proceedings, Willie Geist normally brings a welcome dose of equanimity. It was thus a shock to hear Willie of all people floating a dark scenario on today's show. He claimed that there's no one around the table or watching at home who thinks that President Trump will "go quietly" if he's impeached or defeated at the polls.



On Sunday, President Trump tweeted a quote from Pastor Robert Jeffress, who on Fox News had said that the removal of Trump from office would "cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation." Jeffress seemed to be envisioning a political "fracture," not an actual civil war. Joe Scarborough added fuel to the fire on Tuesday, interpreting Jeffress' statement and Trump's tweet of it in the most inflammatory possible manner. On Morning Joe, Scarborough alleged that [presumably by citing Jeffress' statement], President Trump was making "calls for civil war."



On Nicolle Wallace's MSNBC show, guest Rick Wilson, a supposed "GOP strategist" says "Trump isn’t magic, he isn’t invulnerable. If you cut him, he’ll still bleed." MSNBC contributor Tim O'Brien fantasizes about President Trump being dumped on a highway and being hit by a car going 80 MPH. 



Can Mika Brzezinski possibly be this oblivious? On today's Morning Joe, Brzezinski claimed that, in contrast with Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren is well-positioned to benefit from the possible impeachment of President Trump because "Elizabeth Warren’s life reflects her message and that definitely works at a time like this because people are looking for truth."



On Joy Reid's MSNBC show, Gabe Sherman, an MSNBC contributor and author of a book about Fox News creator Roger Ailes, says that the case supporting the impeachment of President Trump is "a very simple story that even a Fox audience can understand."



Joy Reid plays the clip of President Nixon, facing impeachment, announcing his resignation. Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks praises Nixon and condemns President Trump, saying, "[Nixon] actually understood what government is and he actually acted in the benefit of the country by resigning. I don’t think that Donald Trump has even the slightest shred of humility or understanding. I don’t think there's any chance that he would ever admit and resign in the interests of the American people."



On her MSNBC show, Nicolle Wallace claims that independent/swing voters will be "a whole lot more likely" to believe what Nancy Pelosi says about impeachment when they hear Mitt Romney saying the same thing. 



Chris Matthews has been afflicted by a bad case of political blood lust. Appearing on today's Morning Joe, Matthews twice exulted, "they've got him." Meaning, of course, that the Democrats have what they need to impeach President Trump. Matthews urged his fellow Democrats to join in his rush to judgment: "no more hearings, no more subpoenas, no more contempt citations, no more process." Instead, he counseled the Dems to vote articles of impeachment this fall.



On CNN, foreign policy expert Ian Bremmer says Joe Biden does have a Ukraine problem because the $50,000/month that Hunter Biden was paid by a Ukrainian company was "clearly to be selling influence." A dubious Alisyn Camerota responds, "and is that Joe Biden's fault or problem?"



On Morning Joe, a mawkish Mika Brzezinski denounces criticism of Joe Biden's son Hunter. After mentioning Joe Biden's loss of his first wife and daughter in a car accident, and the death of son Beau due to brain cancer, Brzezinski describes Hunter as the "surviving son" and says criticism of him by the Trump campaign is "losing ugly."



Lord knows, the New York Times serves as a reliable media arm of the DNC. But let the newspaper stray from that mission for a millisecond, and the liberal establishment will come down on it like a ton of bricks. On Joy Reid's MSNBC show today, Maria Teresa Kumar of "Voto Latino" was furious at the Times in general, and its Ken Vogel in particular, for reporting the story of how Joe Biden intervened to have fired the prosecutor who was investigating a company that was paying Biden's son Hunter. At one point, Kumar made a telling slip of the tongue, saying, "the Democrats -- excuse me, the American people -- expect [the Times] to be talking to them, and giving them the analysis, and not equivocating [sic, meant "equating"] things because they would like to have access."



On Morning Joe, MSNBC "Republican" Elise Jordan, commenting on Rudy Giuliani's conversation with Chris Cuomo on CNN regarding possible contacts between the Trump administration and Ukraine, literally called for Giuliani to be sent off to die:  "drunk grandpa just needs to be pulled off to hospice."



Self-described "conservative" Joe Scarborough frets that if President Trump and Mitch McConnell are successful, they will "shape the judiciary for the next 50 years." Scarborough expressed his concern in the context of criticizing Joe Kennedy for launching a Democrat primary campaign against incumbent Sen. Ed Markey in Massachusetts.  Scarborough worries that money spent on that campaign will divert funds that could be used to defeat President Trump.