Mark Finkelstein

Mark Finkelstein's picture
Contributing Editor

Lives in Oak Island, North Carolina 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein

Sean Hannity has made border security and illegal immigration a major cause, spending time at and broadcasting shows from our border with Mexico. Give GMA credit for having Sean on this morning's show to discuss the issue. That said, Charlie Gibson put on a display of bleeding-heart liberalism at its most predictable, confusing compassion with tolerance of criminality.

A 'tension convention' - that's how Don Imus would have described the ill-concealed ill will on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend between Juliet Huddy and Julian Phillips.

Is Neal Gabler jealous of Helen Thomas' status as a leading Bush media antagonist? You might think so, judging by the barbs Gabler aimed Thomas' way on this evening's Fox News Watch.

Where is the liberal moral outrage? Oh, to be sure, the left is making its political points in the wake of the case in which a man is facing the death penalty in Aghanistan for having converted from Islam to Christianity. Story here. Administration critics have been quick to question the value of Pres.

Seemingly on every evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews enjoys chanting a mantra of allegedly failed Bush administration promises on Iraq. Chief among them is his taunt that the White House claimed that our troops would be greeted as liberators.

Have a look at the legend that 'Today' ran beneath the image of Pat Buchanan this morning. 'Republican' strategist? Really? Buchanan quit the Republican party in 1999 to run for president against George W. Bush as the candidate of the Reform Party. Go to Buchanan's official web site, The American Cause.

Call it the Ingraham Effect. Two days after Laura Ingraham sent shockwaves through the MSM with a Today show appearance in which she charged that the media accentuate the negative in their Iraqi coverage, and just the day after a palpably stung Today responded with a segment defending its coverage, Today led its show this morning . . . with good news from Iraq.

Is Chris Matthews making a profound point about self-determination and democracy, or has he gone off an end deeper than even Cindy Sheehan has so far ventured into?

Discussing the Iraqi insurgency with Pat Buchanan on this evening's Hardball, Matthews had this to say:

Stung by allegations levelled by Laura Ingraham yesterday, NBC has admitted that its Iraqi coverage is inaccurate because it's . . . not negative enough.

Ingraham clearly hit an MSM sore spot with the charges she made during her appearance on yesterday's Today show, in which she locked horns with David Gregory and James Carville. Read Laura in the Lions Den.

I will always have a soft spot for NBC reporter Michelle Kosinski. After all, it was Michelle's Canoe-Gate stunt that got my NewsBusters career off to a nice start. Michelle was back on the weather beat on this morning's Today show. And once again she made a weather-related allegation that strained credulity.

Was it David Gregory, or an SNL parody of a biased liberal MSMer? The topic on this morning's Today show was whether media coverage of Iraq has presented a distorted picture. Under the circumstances, you might have thought Gregory would have feigned some facsimile of fairness. But his very first question to James Carville advanced the theory that . . . President Bush is a liar.

Asked Gregory: "Is the problem for this president and top administration officials that the public doesn't believe what they say anymore?"

Like a top point guard, Laura Ingraham tenaciously fought through the Gregory-Carville double-team to make her case. She pointed out that NBC and the Today show expended huge resources to cover the Olympics and even to answer the question "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" She suggested that they devote some of the same resources to broadcast the Today show directly from Iraq, that they accompany troops, speak with US and Iraqi military personnel and with villagers and see the reality on the ground.

Video excerpt (1:28): Real (2.6 MB) or Windows Media (3 MB). Plus MP3 audio (440 KB).

On the third anniversary of the Iraq war, the Today show ran a generally predictable segment assessing successes and failures and looking to the future. To be sure, former Clinton administration official Wendy Sherman insisted that the President needs to start "telling the truth." And Gen. Barry McCaffrey thought that not deploying what he considered to be an adequate number of troops was a huge mistake.

Have a look at the chart at the bottom and answer one simple question: what's the biggest gasoline-price story over the last six months? Sure looks as if it was the way gasoline prices nose-dived about 80 cents from September to November. Remember all those MSM stories highlighting the plunge? Neither do I.

When does healthy reportorial reserve cross the line into cynicism? Today's coverage this morning of Operation Swarmer, the counter-insurgency offensive in the Samarra region of Iraq, illustrates the issue.

You'd think that of all days, they'd be believers over at Today this morning. After all, they were blessed with presidential poll numbers for which they were surely praying.  Numbers so low that Matt Lauer, Tim Russert et. al could spend an extended first segment reveling in them. 

I thought the MSM is ardently opposed to the death penalty. Aren't these the same folks who wrung their collective hands at the prospect of poor Tookie Williams getting the needle? Sure, he murdered four people in cold blood and joked about it, but hey! - he wrote a children's book.

Was this a news report, or a coming attraction for a new series about inter-generational love? Perhaps there's a third explanation: a not-too-subtle kiss blown in the direction of a soon-to-be new employer.

Give Dem strategist Hillary Rosen high marks for candor.

It's been obvious for ages that from Medicare to Social Security to foreign policy, the Dems don't have anything that comes close to a hint of a suggestion of an outline of a constructive proposal.

Bush and Murtha: same struggle! At least, that's apparently how Joe Biden sees it. The senator from Delaware, interviewed by Katie Couric on this morning's Today show, criticized the administration's withdrawal of 30,000 troops from Iraq, and claimed the president "is determined to get it down under 100,000 troops this year. He will be down to 30,000 next year."

It's not exactly news to the GOP base that John McCain is not one of them. But it was perhaps noteworthy to hear Chris Matthews, ostensibly a McCain man [at least when it comes to his preference among Republican presidential hopefuls], acknowledge that fact on this evening's Hardball. He might also have raised eyebrows on the other side of the aisle by ripping Democrats for their weakness on illegal immigration.