Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Granbury, Texas.
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
Latest from Mark Finkelstein
Can you imagine if a conservative TV host interrupted a black woman journalist, instructing her to change the way she said something that was not to his linguistic liking? The cries of racial condescension and sexism would echo through the land.
So will Chris Matthews pay a price in the liberal media for the way he treated April Ryan on this evening's Hardball? When Ryan, of American Urban Radio Networks, described Rudy Giuliani as "pro-abortion," Matthews interrupted her: "abortion rights. Pro-abortion rights . . . I don't like [Ryan's] way." The gracious Ryan actually apologized: "I'm sorry."
And we thought Joe Scarborough was the one who had it in for Marco Rubio . . . Turns out, Mika Brzezinski really doesn't dig Rubio. At all.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika painted Rubio as an unprincipled pol "sucking up" to Donald Trump in order to be his VP pick. Mika: "he's the only one who will go against everything he believes in and say whatever Trump wants him to. He'll do whatever Trump tells him to do." Ouch.
Have you seen the GE commercial? Millenial son informs mom and dad that he has gotten a job at GE. Old-fashioned dad is enthusiastic: "proud of you, son. GE! Manufacturing!" He hands son "granpappy's" heavy old hammer. Son gently explains that rather than building "powerful machines," he'll be writing computer code. Disappointed dad: "he can't lift the hammer." Mom, with more compassion than conviction in her voice, consoles son: "it's okay though: you're gonna change the world."
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski used that "change the world" line to mock Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz in the face of their underwhelming performance in the Nevada caucuses, in which Donald Trump exceeded their combined vote total. Rubbing it in, Mika also echoed dad's dagger: "they can't lift the hammer." Dr. Freud, care to explain the symbolism?
Let he who is without sin . . . throw the first punch? Today's With All Due Respect rapped the MSM for its extensive coverage of Donald Trump having said of an unruly protester "[I'd] like to punch him in the face." Lamented John Heilemann: "cable news is so often so crazily dumb."
Just one problem. Before Heilemann and Halperin bemoaned the MSM's excessive coverage of the line . . . they opened the show by playing in its entirety the clip of Trump's pugilistic proclivity! Hypocrisy, anyone? Their point was that the media's fascination with Trump's antics makes it hard for the other candidates to get their messages out. Fair enough. But they could have done so by briefly describing the "punch" remark. By playing it in full, WADR fell prey to the same temptation they were condemning in others.
Mark it down, said Joe Scarborough. Okay, done. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough repeatedly, emphatically, declared that Ted Cruz's campaign is "over." The campaign ended, said Scarborough, when Cruz lost evangelicals in South Carolina to Trump, despite the Donald's praise of Planned Parenthood.
Scarborough let it be known that he would have voted for Jeb Bush, and also admires John Kasich. But with Jeb gone, Joe wants to clear the field of both Kasich and Cruz to set up a one-on-one between Rubio and Trump. Given the criticism of Scarborough for what some of us saw as bias against Rubio, interesting that Joe now would like to give Rubio, among all others, the chance to take Trump down.
If there was one theme on today's Morning Joe, it was Joe Scarborough's relentless, merciless mocking of the notion that Marco Rubio has an electoral "firewall" in Nevada. It began with Mika Brzezinski's citing of a National Review article from December that spoke of such a firewall. Joe, butter not melting in his mouth, turned to Mark Halperin, coyly wondering why he was laughing at the notion. Halperin opined that, in fact, Donald Trump was likely to carry Nevada with his biggest margin yet.
Scarborough returned repeatedly to his routine, even working it into a Richard Haass report on the upcoming elections in Iran, with Scarborough declaring that Rubio had a "firewall" there, too. It was a pitiless Scarborough pile-on, persisting right through the show-closing "What Have We Learned?" segment, in which Joe claimed that "Nevada is Spanish for Rubio" and that, yes, one more time, Rubio has a firewall there.
On today's Meet the Press, Chuck Todd helped perpetuate the myth that Planned Parenthood provides mammograms. Interviewing Donald Trump, Todd said "Democrats will say the money they give to Planned Parenthood does not go to abortions. That the money they give to Planned Parenthood only goes to other women's health issues including mammograms and things like that."
Let's make this absolutely clear: Planned Parenthood does not perform mammograms. Its own FAQ on the matter makes that clear. Even the Washington Post says "the myth that Planned Parenthood actually offers mammogram X-rays to patients has been long debunked, and needs to stop being repeated . . . When Democratic lawmakers or other supporters assert that Planned Parenthood 'provides' mammograms, this is highly misleading." If Todd was going to echo the Dem's "highly-misleading" line, he had a duty to inform viewers that it was untrue. He didn't, and thus misled MTP's audience. A shame.
If you're going to flaunt your superior knowledge, it's a good idea to get it right . . . On this evening's O'Reilly Factor, Geraldo Rivera scolded guest host Eric Bolling for pronouncing the state of Nevada as Ne-VA-da. Condescendingly instructed Rivera: "It's a Spanish word, Ne-VAH-da. Gringo."
There's just one problem. When it comes to pronouncing the name of the state, and not the Spanish word, Bolling was right and Rivera was wrong: "The only acceptable pronunciation of the state is 'Nev-AD-a,' not 'Nev-AH-da.' Pronouncing the state’s name incorrectly can draw ire among residents."--Time magazine.
Talk about setting someone up to fail . . . Heading into a contest, politicians traditionally like to lower expectations. But Joe Scarborough has raised expectations for Marco Rubio almost to the roof. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough repeatedly cited talk that if Marco Rubio doesn't finish second in the South Carolina primary, "he has to get out of the race."
Chuckling through Joe's comments, Mark Halperin batted away talk of a less-than-second-place finish forcing Rubio out of the race: "with all due respect, that's one of the silliest things I've heard this cycle. Rubio needs to beat Bush here and that's it." Halperin added that should Rubio finish second [behind Trump], "it's a big problem for Ted Cruz."
Aid and Abet: "to assist another in the commission of a crime by words or conduct." Yup, in the mind of Dems, it's nothing short of a crime for the MSM to do anything but get behind whichever presidential candidate has a 'D' after her name.
Witness former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe--now a Hillary endorser--on today's With All Due Respect. He told John Heilemann that if Marco Rubio were the Republican candidate "you in the press, that worries me, because that's going to be a really interesting narrative: young, diverse, versus old." Plouffe went on to complain that the press will "aid and abet" Rubio, rather than letting Hillary define him. "And that's a big problem," concluded Plouffe. Hear that, MSM? Unwavering support for Hillary's plan to rip Rubio is required!
On today's on Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough flatly stated that people that know him, as in his family, know whom he's voting for, and "it's not Donald Trump!" That's newsworthy because Scarborough has been accused by many, as here, here and here, of being in the tank for Trump. Clashing with Time's Joe Klein, Scarborough said that, while not supporting Trump, he and Mika Brzezinski have simply been making the case that for months, the media have been "dead wrong" about Trump in constantly predicting his imminent demise.
Klein, meanwhile, paid a very backhanded compliment to Trump. According to Klein, Trump has a "highly developed lizard brain" and a "feral intelligence," while knowing nothing about policy. Klein added that Trump reminds him of "the Emperor Caligula who got his greatest pleasure from destroying his opponents and humiliating them."
How can we put this politely? "Choked up," our hind quarters . . . In the most blatant case of the MSM covering for a liberal candidate with a potentially serious health issue that this NewsBuster can remember, CNN's Brianna Keilar has described a Hillary Clinton coughing fit as a case of Clinton getting "choked up."
Readers are urged to watch this clip from Hillary's speech in Harlem today. This is someone experiencing a serious, extended, coughing fit. Yet on Don Lemon's CNN show this evening, Keilar described this as Hillary being "choked up so badly that she struggled to speak for a few minutes and they actually cheered to fill the time." Rightttt.
Could the end be near for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign? Would a back-in-the-pack finish in South Carolina be the final blow? Kasie Hunt seems to suggest so.
MSNBC's Hunt, appearing on today's With All Due Respect, sounded an ominous note for Bush fans. Reporting that the Bush campaign has been disappointed by the lack of a bump coming off a strong debate performance, Hunt said "to a certain extent there's a little bit of throwing up of the hands . . . The sense I'm getting from the people I talk to in the Bush circle is getting more and more pessimistic."
Welcome to the official Evangelical Christian Church of America, brought to you by President Ted Cruz . . .
That's the scare-mongering scenario that Joy Reid painted on MSNBC today. Reid alleged that as president, Cruz would "ignore" the part of the Constitution prohibiting the establishment of a national religion. She in essence falsely accused Cruz of planning to establish evangelical Christianity as the law of the land.
"If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you." That was Groucho's famous line in A Day at the Races. It's also Hillary's strategy in South Carolina, as she hugs President Obama as close as she can in an effort to appeal to African-Americans, who make up a majority of Dem primary voters there.
Joe Scarborough threw a serious spanner into Hillary's strategy on today's Morning Joe. Scarborough displayed a tweet from Hillary spox Brian Fallon saying how "strange" it is that leaks about investigations into Hillary "seem to emerge on the eve of debates and primaries." Repeatedly calling Fallon a "hack spokesman," Scarborough pointed out that Hillary, via Fallon, was attacking the "integrity" of President Obama and the inspectors general in his administration. That might loosen up Hillary's clinch of Obama a bit in the eyes of Dem voters!
Any would-be Republican presidential candidate who had--hanging around his neck--all the scandals and investigations that surround Hillary Clinton, would likely not have the chutzpah to throw his hat into the ring. He'd know that the MSM would create such a toxic environment that his candidacy would never have a chance of getting off the ground.
And so it is somewhere between amusing and outrageous to hear Mark Halperin claim, as he did on today's With All Due Respect, that the press is "biased against" Hillary Clinton. Granted, Halperin did so in the context of discussing this evening's Dem debate between Hillary and Bernie Sanders. As between those two, might the MSM lean towards Sanders, as the further-left candidate? Could be. But if Hillary wins the nomination, does Halperin doubt that the press will be pulling for Clinton against the Republican? Some bias!
On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough forcefully sought to refute the notion that Chris Christie's takedown of Marco Rubio in the last GOP debate was an unprovoked attack. Scarborough painted a very different picture, one in which by dint of his town hall work, Christie had been steadily climbing in the New Hampshire polls--until Rubio unleashed a wave of negative advertising on Christie that drove his numbers back down. It was only then that Christie counter-attacked, suggested Joe.
Scarborough said pundits were either "ignorant" or "lying" to their readers if they portrayed Christie as "mean" for having exposed Rubio as he did, or that Christie's poor performance in New Hampshire was the result of a backlash against his attack. Noteworthy was Scarborough's statement that the funding for Rubio's attack ads against Christie was "dark" money. At one point, Scarborough called it "dirty" money, before correcting himself and repeating "dark" money.
Yesterday, Politico reported that in a Wall Street speech, Hillary sounded more like "a Goldman Sachs managing director." Today, Bloomberg's Josh Green quoted a financial CEO who attended another Clinton speech as saying Hillary "lavished praise on Wall Street, said you guys are the pillar of our economy." Ruh-roh: how will the increasingly left-wing Dem electorate react to that? GOP strategist Steve Schmidt subsequently said that release of the speech transcripts could be "fatal" for Clinton's campaign.
Happy day after New Hampshire, Hillary! The MSM is not eager to sink Clinton. But the drip, drip, drip of these stories about what Hillary told people who paid her millions for her remarks threatens to swell into an irresistible torrent that will force Clinton to disclose. And when she does . . .
About to begin her word-asociation game about the other candidates with Donald Trump, Mika Brzezinski said "I'm scared to do this." Prescient on Mika's part. Because although Trump had been in a relatively light-hearted mood during his Morning Joe appearance today, things suddenly got deadly serious.
When it came time to give his word on Hillary, and despite having been reminded that she had attended his wedding, Trump said: "in a certain way evil." Making clear it was no slip of the tongue, Trump repeated himself: "in a certain way, evil." Mika's "whoah!" in response probably spoke for a lot of people in attendance.
Bill Clinton has lost his fastball. That's an emerging theme from this campaign season, and it was on glaring display on today's Morning Joe.
Introducing a clip of Clinton [dressed like a lumberjack] attacking Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire, Mika Brzezinski said the ex-prez had picked up the "hatchet"—not a good image for a would-be statesman. After the clip aired, Joe Scarborough called it "painful." Mike Barnicle said it was a "cringe" moment, with Chuck Todd seconding the assessment.