Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Granbury, Texas.
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
Latest from Mark Finkelstein
"Is that right? Fourteen??" That's Alisyn Camerota, 1:21 into the video clip. The shock and incredulity in the voice of the CNN host is stupendous! Yes, who could possibly imagine that, as CNN commentator Errol Louis stated, there are 14 women who could potentially make allegations of improprieties against Bill Clinton.
If Camerota had consulted CNN's own files, she wouldn't be so shocked. The Starr report includes Monica Lewinsky's testimony that Clinton personally told her that "he had had hundreds of affairs" before the age of 40. And Dick Morris is on record saying Clinton had "hundreds of women" just during his time in the White House. Whatever the precise number, does Camerota assume that Clinton conducted himself like Sir Galahad in all his encounters?
Judging by Nicolle Wallace's performance on today's With All Due Respect, it looks like establishment Republicans are going full bore against Ted Cruz. Here was Wallace talking about her personal experience with Ted Cruz: "I worked with him on the [2000 Bush/Gore] recount in Florida, and the recount was sort of ground zero for the biggest egos in both parties in the whole country, and he rose to the top in terms of hubris and egomania."
Co-host John Heilemann was flabbergasted: "you're saying that among all of your colleagues in the recount effort, that he was the biggest ego? Is that really what I heard you say? Wow! That is an incredible thing to say."
What's more sexist: Donald Trump saying "schlonged" to describe the way Hillary Clinton lost in 2008, or Hillary herself orchestrating a campaign to discredit and destroy women, including Monica Lewinsky, whose "bimbo eruptions" threatened Bill and Hillary's hold on power?
According to Al Sharpton on today's Morning Joe, Trump's offense is the graver. Sharpton suggests that Hillary's attack on Monica Lewinsky should be understood as a woman "dealing with someone who was in an indiscretion with her husband." Sharpton thus paints a picture of poor Hillary, the wronged woman, fighting her rival for the affections of her husband. As Trump said of Hillary playing the woman card: "give me a break."
A very Merry Christmas to NewsBusters readers everywhere! Just out of curiosity, I took a look at the Google doodle for this Christmas Day. See below: it's bland, boring and above all, void of any reference at all to the holiday itself. I decided to have a look at the ways Google observed other days with its doodles. And sure enough, exactly one month to the day before Christmas Eve, Google celebrated "the 41st anniversary of the discovery of Lucy," she being the skeleton of a hominin found in Ethiopia.
Google's animated gif doodle shows a monkey walking on all fours, then a lumbering ape-like figure, and finally the tall, striding Lucy. Evolution, baby! Evolutionists everywhere celebrate Lucy Discovery Day by huddling around their Origin of the Species first editions and adorning their bumpers with fish symbols with feet. So, is Google worried about offending non-Christians with a true Christmas doodle? Then why not similar concern for the sensibilites of creationists with its Lucy doodle?
About the last person you'd expect to have a Vulcan mind meld with Donald Trump is Chris Cuomo. But at a time when the focus is Star Wars, Cuomo went Star Trek today, sounding much like Trump in his description of Hillary Clinton. Trump of course made the phrase "low-energy" famous as he repeatedly battered Jeb Bush with it. Recently, Trump took a similar tack with Hillary, saying she lacked the "stamina" to be president, claiming that after brief, staged appearances, she disappears from the campaign trail to "sleep."
On this morning's New Day, there was Cuomo saying that in her recent Des Moines Register interview, Hillary was "very low energy." Cuomo even echoed Trump's notion of Hillary disappearing from the trail, saying she's been "keeping a low profile as much as she can."
There was surprising consensus on today's Morning Joe concerning the Washington Post cartoon that depicted Ted Cruz as an organ grinder and his youngs girls as monkeys. From Mika Brzezinski to Joe Scarborough to Harold Ford, Jr., there was universal condemnation of Ann Telnaes' foul image.
Willie Geist said it best: "people look for moments of bias in the media. Here's one right here. You can't be selectively offended by cartoons. If that had been a Democrat, or God forbid the President of the United States, they would have lit the house on fire. There would have been wall-to-wall coverage on it."
In the past, Joe Scarborough hasn't exactly hidden his disdain for Marco Rubio, saying he reminds him of an eager student government candidate and questioning his integrity. But things have now escalated to open warfare between the two.
Scarborough, responding to an ad in which Rubio speaks of feeling "out of place in our own country," tweeted an attack accusing Rubio of playing a "crass, offensive, nativist" [read xenophobic/borderline racist] card. Rubio has fired back, putting out a fundraising message in which he slams Scarborough as an "elitist."
Spine of Steele! Where has this feisty Michael Steele been? In this NewsBuster's view, the former RNC chairman has too often been the voice of the mushy Republican middle.
But on MSNBC's All In this evening, Steele forcefully advanced the GOP cause. For starters, Steele shocked guest host Alex Wagner when he said Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in a debate. Steele then took on Howard Dean, mocking the former DNC chairman when he claimed Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz "know nothing" about foreign policy. For good measure, Michael accused Dean of "shilling for Hillary." Say it, Steele!
It's rare when a politician says something surprising, or doesn't succumb to a feel-good suggestion. Which made Rick Santorum's response to Joe Scarborough this morning doubly remarkable.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough had teed Santorum up to agree with his suggestion that we need to "reach out aggressively to let Muslim Americans know that they are every bit a part of the American dream as you or me." But Santorum turned the tables, saying "I would ask that in reverse: what are they going to do to reach out to make sure they are confronting --" Scarborough broke in: "no, no, no. I don't think so." But a composed Santorum went on to calmly make his case, calling out in particular CAIR for "continuing to apologize for the radicals."
The polls might currently be suggesting something else, but Mika Brzezinski's view on which Republican has the best shot at beating Hillary Clinton might surprise you.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika said "If you want someone to beat Hillary Clinton, it would be Donald Trump. Because he will do things that none of those candidates will do . . . The Democratic party has a problem if Trump wins the nomination." Mika's comments came after Chuck Todd suggested that for now, Republican voters are looking for "bold colors" [i.e. Trump], but later might become more pragmatic and turn to someone with a better chance of winning.
A modern-day variation on "better red than dead" . . . Joe Scarborough says that Haley Barbour and many Republican leaders would "much rather" have Hillary be president than to let Trump win and represent the GOP.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough said that if it looks like Trump will win the nomination, something Scarborough sees as very plausible, he envisions Mitt Romney or Michael Bloomberg jumping into the race as a third-party candidate. Not really with the goal of winning, but rather to "take a bullet," splitting the vote and denying Trump the White House.
When tagging items at NewsBusters, one of our Media Bias sub-categories is "Sudden Respect." The notion is that to win the affection of the MSM, all a Republican or conservative needs to do is turn against members or positions of his party. A great illustration of the phenomenon comes from today's Morning Joe. During last night's undercard debate, Lindsey Graham repeatedly ripped fellow Republicans for their rhetoric on Muslims, at one point even apologizing to Muslims for Donald Trump's comments.
And that of course caused what Rush might call a GrahamGasm by the Morning Joe crew. Mike Barnicle called Graham "fantastic," Nicolle Wallace said "I adore Lindsey Graham." Most amazing was Mika Brzezinski, who beyond praising him as "incredible" actually declared, sounding like she was choking up, "I feel a connection with Lindsey Graham," causing Joe Scarborough to claim [we presume facetiously] that Mika said "where has he been all my life?" Not to be outdone, Joe called on President Obama to award Graham the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Barnicle summed up the panel's sentiment by saying "thank God for Lindsey Graham."
UPDATE: Scarborough just discussed blooper on air, mentioning NB and this NewsBusters. Video clip below!
Ted Cruz: MSNBC's modern-day version of Nikolai Yezhov! Yezhov was the head of Stalin's secret police who fell into disfavor and was executed during a purge. A photo of him standing next to Stalin was famously airbrushed to remove his image.
And so we come to today's Morning Joe, which displayed an image of tonight's Vegas debate stage. Photos of all the candidates appear at their assigned slots. With one exception. Ted Cruz is nowhere to be found! Simple mistake . . . or diabolical left-wing media plot to purge the #2 Republican contender? The truth is out there!
Joe Scarborough prefaced his remarks this morning by saying "this is the sort of thing that right-wing bloggers get very angry about." So let's oblige him . . .
On Morning Joe, Scarborough said "I am shocked by how many Republicans, that have always voted Republican, that have said they're going to vote for Hillary if it's Cruz or Trump running against Hillary. I'm talking Deep South, Southern Baptist. I asked people who I expect to say yes, Cruz, go "hell no. No. I will never vote for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. I will vote for Hillary Clinton."
What's been implicit in TV commercials for years—that American husbands are feckless wimps—has now become explicit . . .
Tuning in to watch a simple Sunday Night Football game, we were treated to a Kia ad. Wife at the wheel as the family pulls into a crowded parking lot for their boy's football game. Wimpy husband suggests they go back and park someplace safe. We get to read the wife's mind as, driving it up a hill, she says "or, we could run it right up the gut." She then adds the coup de grace: "someone's got to wear the pants in this family." Take that!
Ain't that reassuring? . . . On today's Meet the Press, John Kerry told Chuck Todd that "for the most part" we know who's entering our country. Kerry's statement came after he boasted about the Obama admin's "huge process" for vetting visa applicants. Not huge enough to catch Tafsheen Malik. Knowing for "the most part" who is entering the US is dangerously insufficient, given the hundreds of thousands of "refugees" and other immigrants from Muslim lands that President Obama wants to admit.
Also troubling was Kerry's response to Todd's question, whether, given that Malik had posted her radical views online before being admitted, we will begin searching the social media of would-be immigrants,. Kerry said we are looking into "whether there are means and whether we should," examine social media. If Kerry can't give an emphatic "yes" to both questions, how can we continue to admit people who might be out to kill us?
It's one thing to dump on Trump, as author Rick Perlstein did on today's With All Due Respect, calling The Donald a modern-day George Wallace, and floating "fascism" about him. But Perlstein took things a nasty step further, denigrating Trump supporters in the ugliest terms.
Per Perlstein, Trump has unleashed forces in his supporters "that are more animalistic than human." Perlstein added that spectacle of the US losing to ISIS has filled Trump fans with "childlike, impotent rage."
Jon Meacham is no conservative. The Pulitzer-winning historian is, after all, a former editor of Time and Newsweek. Which makes his declaration about President Obama that much more damning.
Asked on today's Morning Joe for a historical analogy to Barack Obama, Meacham harkened back to Jimmy Carter: "three years into his administration, [Carter] giving a speech about this very subject, saying that there was a crisis of the American spirit . . . And a lot of people thought that there wasn't a crisis in the American spirit, there was a crisis in the American presidency. And I think that's the analogy that comes to my mind."
The last person you'd imagine backing Donald Trump's Muslim ban might be Mika Brzezinski. Yet on today's Morning Joe, a reluctant Mika came close to doing just that. Brzezinski springboarded off the news that the visa screening program failed to stop Tafsheen Malik from entering the country although she was already radicalized at the time.
While professing her opposition to the plan, she called the news "incredibly disturbing." When former Obama car czar Steve Rattner admitted that the process in place "had failed," Mika suggested: "are you saying something that might be in line with Donald Trump's policy?" Mika went on: "I'm not sure Donald Trump's concept is good for our country," but "we just had a slaughter." Concluded Brzezinski: "someone tell me something better than what Donald Trump is saying," adding sarcastically "and there's got to be something better because everybody has been sitting here for days, just lambasting him."
What does it take to get a member of the MSM to praise a Fox News host? Simple: trash Donald Trump. On yesterday's With All Due Respect, co-host John Heilemann declared "I have always like Shep Smith, and I like him more today than I've ever liked him before."
So what had Shep done to enhance Heilemann's fondness for him? On his show on Tuesday, during a dialogue with Wall Street Journal editor John Bussey, Smith tore Donald Trump, and his plan for Muslims, to shreds. Smith called the plan unlawful, unconstitutional, fear-mongering, racist and "crazy." He claimed Trump "lied" about Muslims cheering 9/11, and described the Donald as a "carnival huckster" who "represents the worst, darkest part of all that is America." Reading between the lines, you might suspect Shep doesn't like Trump very much.