Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Oak Island, North Carolina
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
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We won't go awarding Wolf Blitzer a journalistic Profile in Courage just yet, but let's give him some credit for posing this question to Bernie Sanders in last night's CNN town hall with the socialist senator: "Senator, why have you stopped short of calling Maduro, of Venezuela, a dictator?"
After Mika Brzezinski teased the upcoming segment with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel by saying the show would ask him about the Jussie Smollett incident, which took place in Chicago, the panel failed to ask Emanuel a single question about the matter.
On Joy Reid's MSNBC show this morning, the topic was Kamala Harris's presidential prospects. Guest Tiffany Cross, after claiming that Harris's record as a prosecutor made her suspect among African-American men, said: "Black men: blue-collar black men. They're going to have a problem with her record . . . She needs to find a strong, black man advocate who can be in her corner . . . that's my key advice: find a prominent blue-collar, self-made, black man to be in your corner." MSNBC analyst Jason Johnson took it a step further, disqualifying Harris's white husband as a potential advocate. "Let's just be candid. When you're saying she needs to have an advocate out there, it's not going to be her [white] husband. She needs to surround herself with African-American men."
Pardon the interruption, Tony Kornheiser, but isn't your show of the same name supposed to be about sports, and not a platform for you to promote Democrat candidates? Yet in the closing segment of yesterday's PTI, Kornheiser managed to work in a plug for Mark Kelly, a Dem candidate for senator from Arizona. Kelly is the husband of former Dem Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Kelly and Giffords became prominent gun-control advocates after she survived an assassination attempt in 2011. Kornheiser wished Happy 55th Birthday to Kelly and his twin brother Scott, then added: "Mark Kelly is running for the Senate in Arizona."
Court documents show that Bill Clinton took at least 26 trips on convicted sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein's notorious "Lolita Express" party plane. There's no indication that Donald Trump ever did. But in a segment on Epstein on her MSNBC show today, Joy Reid managed to refer to President Trump six times, accompanied by extended photo displays of Trump in Epstein's company. Number of times Reid mentioned Lolita Express frequent flyer Clinton? A New York bagel, of course.
After Morning Joe led today's show with the report of the arrest of a Coast Guard officer accused of planning terror attacks against numerous liberal politicians and media figures, including Joe Scarborough, Scarborough said: "I know he [President Trump] is not disturbed by the news reports. He sees that as a sign of strength, and a sign of passionate support."
On New Day, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig lights into Andrew McCabe. Highlights: "Whenever we hear something from Mccabe, we have to keep in mind he has a serious credibility problem . . . He lied three times in three separate interviews about whether he was a leak or authorized leak on the Hillary Clinton case . . . Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos, were all prosecuted for making false statements to federal investigators. I don't see why McCabe's case is really any different than those."
If ever there were a famous Virginian, it is George Washington. Born and raised in Virginia, Mount Vernon was of course his historic home. Yet somehow, a confused Tur has claimed that Washington was a "native son of New York." The unbelievable gaffe occurred today on MSNBC, as Tur handed off her MTP Daily hour to Ari Melber and his The Beat.
Socialists like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aren't big on math. It just gets in the way of setting utopian, unachievable goals. Take Sanders today. At the very beginning of his formal announcement video, he set this goal: "an unprecedented, grassroots campaign of one million active volunteers in every state in our country." Um, just a little problem there, Bernie. The population of your own state of Vermont is only 627,000. How can you possibly not know that? And there are five other states with populations under one million. So, yeah, it would be "unprecedented" indeed if in several states Bernie could round up more volunteers than the total of every man, woman, and child living there!
To prove that there's a border emergency, President Trump must stop eating omelets! Ridiculous, you might say. And yet, on this morning's New Day, CNN's John Avlon, Alisyn Camerota and Jeff Toobin mocked President Trump for eating an omelet, somehow suggesting it debunks the existence of an emergency. In bonus coverage, Jeffrey Toobin predicts Trump will win a legal challenge to his emergency declaration.
On Joy Reid's MSNBC show today, guest Elie Mystal called supporters of President Trump "idiots" and "zombies," saying "we have to stop them from infecting everybody else." He elaborated on his ugly message at the end of his rant, saying: "we have to cauterize the wound that is Donald Trump and his supporters, and worry about the people who aren't infected yet."
On Morning Joe, discussing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's opposition to Amazon building an HQ in NYC, which ultimately contributed to Amazon's decision not to proceed, Donny Deutsch describes Ocasio-Cortez as "extremely dangerous," saying she will "hand the presidency back to Donald Trump."
Seeking to deflect criticism of Dem Rep. Ilhan Omar for her history of anti-Semitic remarks, Morning Joe swung into whataboutism mode today. Joe Scarborough flagrantly mischaracterized a tweet by GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy prior to the midterms. Scarborough twice claimed that McCarthy had said: "don't let Jews buy the election."
With the Academy Awards in the offing, Morning Joe had Spike Lee on today to promote his "BlacKkKlansman" movie, which has been nominated for a number of Oscars. Lee predictably seized the opportunity to bash America. He first referred to Christopher Columbus as a "terrorist," and a bit later claimed that the USA was built on the "genocide of Native Americans and slavery."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough praises as "strong" the conclusion of President Trump's speech in El Paso, and warns: "any Democrat that thinks they're going to cakewalk to beating Donald Trump in 2020, like they thought in 2016, and like everybody in the press thought in 2016, you need to watch the last four or five minutes of his speech and understand: Democrats have an uphill battle here. It's not going to be easy."
Oh, the irony! Liberal activist Sally Kohn is the author of "The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity." Amazon describes her as someone "learning how to talk respectfully with people whose views she disagrees with passionately . . . It was time, she decided, to look into the epidemic of hate all around us and learn how we can stop it." But when she appeared on Ari Melber's MSNBC show this evening, Kohn proceeded to . . . hate on President Trump. True, she did it with a smile and a jovial air. But the substance was as hateful as that of your standard, enraged, social justice warrior.
You got 37 days for it to go away, Joe . . . On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough said of Elizabeth Warren's candidacy, "am I the only person in America who thinks the Native American controversy is something that probably will not last into the spring?"
"Sudden Respect" is our NewsBusters topic category for situations in which the liberal media suddenly lavishes praise on a conservative because he is now criticizing fellow Republicans or conservatives. Maybe we need a new category: "Sudden Disrespect," to cover cases in which the MSM turns on a Democrat who dares to not march in liberal lockstep. Joy Reid provided a perfect example of the phenomenon on her MSNBC show today. Her guest was Bill Burton, who was a bosom buddy of the liberal media back when he was one of the earliest members of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, later becoming Obama's deputy press secretary. But now that Burton has had the audacity to become an adviser to Howard Schultz's potential presidential campaign, he came in for far from kid-glove treatment. Burton more than held his own. It made for some chippily entertaining TV.
What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday on AM Joy, MSNBC contributor Jason Johnson accused Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam of "arrogance" for refusing to resign. Railed Johnson: "he caused this problem on his own, and the best way to save his party would be for him to leave." But now that scandals have engulfed Virginia's Dem lieutenant governor and attorney general, Johnson has changed his tune. He is counseling the Dems not to resign, and to "back off" any resignation talk, because the result could be to elevate a Republican to the governorship.
Not to gratuitously insult Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but she has to be one of the, um, most lightly-informed pols in a long time to wander onto the national stage. But that didn't stop Chuck Todd from lavishing praise on her. Discussing his just-concluded interview with Ocasio-Cortez with fellow MSNBC host Ari Melber, Todd found reason to variously describe her as thoughtful, refreshing, impressive and smart.