Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Oak Island, North Carolina
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
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On CNN, NYT columnist and CNN contributor Frank Bruni suggests that a legal donation to Harvard made by Jared Kushner's father is not "morally different" from the crimes committed in the college admissions scandal. And so it was that this morning, CNN, with a big assist from New York Times columnist and CNN contributor Frank Bruni, found a way to tie the Trump family to the admissions scandal.
On Morning Joe, Donny Deutsch says that the judge who sentenced Paul Manafort seemed to have a "hard-on" against the Mueller probe. Deutsch also wonders out loud whether Trump got a message to the sentencing judge to go easy on Manafort.
Joe Scarborough loves to claim that he is still the conservative he was back in his days as part of the '94 Republican revolution. But Joe's moved left on a number of issues. And Scarborough hit a new low last night, recycling a classic pro-abortion line, tweeting: "Trump Republicans believe protecting life begins at conception and ends at birth." As I asked when retweeting it: "what's next, Joe: 'If you're against abortion, don't have one?'"
On this morning's New Day, co-host John Berman fretted that President Trump's signing of a check on days he was also fulfilling his presidential duties constituted a "jarring juxtaposition." Alisyn Camerota echoed Berman's concern over the "juxtaposition." That this was a ginned-up nothingburger is reflected in Berman's supposed concern that Trump signed a check on February 14th, 2017, "just after Michael Flynn was pushed out of the White House." But Flynn resigned on February 13th, so that awful juxtaposition that has Berman so verklempt didn't even happen on the same day. The faux outrage reached its absurd apotheosis when Camerota cited Trump for signing a check on the same day . . . that he pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey.
Morning Joe had an F-word for President Trump today. No, not that F-word. Another one: "felony." Nine times in the show's opening segment, Joe Scarborough, Nick Confessore and Michael Steele accused President Trump of committing a "felony" in connection with alleged hush money payments.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough twice referred to Donald Trump Jr., the eldest of President Trump's children, as "Fredo." That is, of course, a reference to the fictional character Fredo Corleone, the weak, least-intelligent of the children of the Godfather, Vito Corleone. After Scarborough's second use of "Fredo," Mika Brzezinski quietly corrected her husband: "you mean Don Jr." An unrepentant Scarborough responded: "okay, Don Jr., same thing." Panelist Steve Rattner, President Obama's former car czar, can be heard laughing in the background.
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough and David Ignatius praised President Trump's decision to walk away from the Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. Scarborough calls it the "best of all circumstances." Ignatius agreed, quoting Trump that "sometimes you just have to walk." Also, Joyce Vance a former US Attorney appointed by President Obama says that in Michael Cohen's congressional testimony, there was "certainly nothing that was new to prosecutors." And finally, some unintentional humor, as Donny Deutsch describes himself as a "stench" defender of Cohen.
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."