Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.
Lives in Granbury, Texas.
Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.
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Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace went on an animated tag-team attack against Ben Carson on today's Morning Joe, accusing him of "one lie after another" and "bald-faced lies," respectively. And Scarborough emphatically denied that there is any bias behind the media's inquiries into Carson's biography.
Scarborough, Wallace and Mika Brzezinski also criticized panelist Mark Halperin for not buying into the Carson-is-lying line, with Mika sarcastically implying that Halperin had backed off Carson in anticipation of an interview with him. Denying that the current Carson kerfuffle reflects media bias. Joe cast himself as an equal-opportunity truth teller, pointing out that he had recently criticized people [hello, John Harwood] for the biased CNBC debate.
Can anyone honestly claim that Larry David seemed serious when he yelled "you're a racist" at Donald Trump on last night's SNL? Trick question: I said "honestly." Enter Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever who in his review of Trump's SNL appearance last night [subtly headlined "Trump’s sorry night on ‘SNL’: An overhyped bummer for us all'], actually claimed that that David's "racist" cry seemed "genuine enough." But if ever an actor went out of his way to signal that he was simply spoofing, it was David.
Have a look at the clip, and you'll see that--far from expressing genuine outrage--David at one point struggled to keep a straight face. And when Trump asked him what he was doing, David sheepishly shrugged his shoulders and threw out his arms in apologetic explanation, saying he "had to do it" because they promised him $5,000. "Genuine enough?" How about "obviously acting?"
Joe Scarborough's critique of Ben Carson goes way beyond policy differences. Scarborough questions whether Carson has the "character" to be president.
On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough twice suggested Carson was "quirky" and said his theory on the pyramids is "crazy." Scarborough suggestively asked whether Carson "has the temperament, whether he has the character to be President of the United States?"
It was like a mother trying to lead her naughty son through an apology . . .
Last week, Joe Scarborough predicted he would "get in trouble" for calling John Harwood's biased performance as debate moderator "embarrassing." On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski tried, in what seemed perhaps to be a pre-arranged mea culpa, to force Joe to say "I really respect everyone I work with." Joe didn't play along with the script but did ultimately mutter "of course I do" before quickly moving on.
Would somebody please explain the First Amendment to Quentin Tarantino? The film director apparently thinks that freedom of speech is a one-way street: he gets to call cops "murderers," but they don't get to defend themselves.
Appearing on MSNBC show this evening, asked by Chris Hayes if he was surprised by the "vitriol" of police reaction to his speech at a recent rally in New York at which he called police "murderers," Quentin whined: "I was under the impression I was an American and that I had First amendment rights." Poor baby. Yeah, you do. So do the cops.
Can you imagine the liberal outrage if a Republican called a prominent African-American Dem candidate "Chauncey Gardiner," the simple soul from the Peter Sellers film Being There? The cries of racism might well cost such a hapless Republican his job.
But don't expect James Carville to pay any price. On today's With All Due Respect, Carville said that a frustrated Bush "can't believe that Chauncey Gardiner [laughs] and Trump and all these people are running ahead of him." Given that Carson and Trump are the two front-runners, and that Carson, while brilliant, is soft-spoken, there would seem little doubt that Carville meant his Chauncey crack for Carson.
Who said it? "Get rid of all this corporatism, this corporate welfare . . . I would love to have the government stop this corporate welfare--that's what I want . . . This is a huge racket that's wrecking the country."
Did you guess Bernie Sanders? Probably not because you read the headline. Yet no one could be blamed for thinking it was Sanders. But indeed, it was Charles Koch, who said it in an interview with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that aired on today's Morning Joe. Charles Koch--one of the infamous Koch brothers that the MSM and Dems love to demonize as the epitome of greedy capitalists, the pair that Harry Reid accused of "dishonesty" and being "un-American."
In the wake of the CNBC debate debacle, Joe Scarborough went on an epic rant on liberal media bias on today's Morning Joe. He summed things up this way, in challenging the panel: "you can't do it and nobody here can do it: name the single Republican that has hosted a Sunday show, that has been an anchor of a news network for the big three networks over the past 50 years: you can not do it."
Mark Halperin largely agreed, saying "there's huge liberal media bias." But Mike Barnicle actually claimed that having fair moderators would be a bad thing for Republicans because they would lose their ability to run against the media.
I took it for granted that a leftist like Bernie Sanders would be opposed to the death penalty. Still, I was truly shocked to see Sanders—not in some throwaway comment on the campaign trail but in prepared remarks on the Senate floor—flatly call the death penalty "murder." On his MSNBC show this morning, Al Sharpton played the clip to illustrate how Sanders is working to differentiate his policy positions from those of Hillary Clinton, who says she supports the death penalty in "rare" cases.
Question: how can we begin to explain the moral compass of liberals like Sanders who call imposing the death penalty on adults duly convicted of heinous crimes "murder," but refer to the killing of innocent, unborn babies as "choice" or other grotesque euphemisms like "women's health?"
Politico Magazine runs a long article by Alex Thompson today with the provocative headline: "Could America Elect a Mentally Ill President? Yes. In fact, we probably already did." The story discusses the possible mental issues, and documented consumption of drugs used to treat mental illness, of numerous politicians, including several presidents, among them JFK, LBJ and Nixon.
But here's the—excuse the expression—crazy thing. To illustrate the story, Politico features a large photo of Barry Goldwater. He is shown holding a finger to his lips, as if perhaps to suggest he wants to keep a secret. But of all the many politicians discussed in the story, Goldwater is one about whom no serious suggestion of mental illness or the use of drugs used to treat mental illness is made.
When this NewsBuster began preparing today's item, the focus was going to be on Joe Scarborough's statement on today's Morning Joe that "90% of the people in our business vote for Democrats and Democratic primaries." Not that it was something we didn't already know [though query whether even 10% of MSMers are Republicans], but refreshing to hear it so starkly stated.
But preparing the video clip, something more stunning emerged. Scarborough actually suggested that the problem of biased debate moderators is something new: "this is not something we've had a problem with in the past." Say what? Do the names George Stephanopoulos and Candy Crowley ring a bell, just to cite two examples of outrageous moderator bias from the last presidential cycle?
Tuning into Morning Joe today, the question on this NewsBusters' mind was whether—given that MNSBC and CNBC are corporate cousins—Joe Scarborough would have the guts to go after John Harwood. He did.
In at least three segments this morning, Scarborough criticized Harwood for what he called his "embarrassing" performance as moderator of the GOP debate last night. Scarborough's repeated criticism on Harwood's blatant anti-GOP bias led Joe at one point to ruefully observe "I'm sure I'll get in trouble for saying this."
Whatever Nicolle Wallace had for breakfast this morning, Jeb should down a double order . . . On today's Morning Joe, former Bush communications chief Wallace slammed a Politico story in which former McCain staffers rejected parallels between Jeb's campaign and that of McCain, who came back from the political wilderness to win the nomination in 2008.
Calling the story a "cheap shot," "low blow" and "irrelevant clackery of the clacking class," Wallace repeatedly pointed out that the sources for the story were McCain staffers now working for other candidates in the current GOP race. Such folks would obviously have a vested interest in scotching the notion of a Jeb comeback.
David Corn claims that there are "serious issues" about Ben Carson's Seventh Day Adventism faith. Great point, David. After all, for twenty years, Carson sat in the pews of a preacher who spewed "God damn America" hatred, a pastor that Carson chose to officiate his marriage and baptize his children.
Oh, wait: that wasn't Carson. It was Barack Obama, who chose Jeremiah "Chickens Coming Home to Roost" Wright as his personal pastor and faith guide. Never mind. On this evening's Hardball, Corn--an MSNBC analyst and head of the DC office of Mother Jones--claimed that Carson's religion needs to be investigated because it professes an end time. Guess what, David? All the Abrahamic religions do: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It's not a question of if, only when. So take your religious bigotry elsewhere, Corn.
Joe Scarborough had to prod her into it, but once she got going, Mika Brzezinski unleashed a blistering tirade against Hillary on today's Morning Joe for accusing Bernie Sanders of sexism.
Hillary has ginned up great feminist umbrage at Sanders' statement at the debate that people need to stop "shouting" about gun violence and do something about it. A clip was played of Hillary at two stump events saying that when women talk some people think they're shouting. In an extended riff, Mika repeatedly called Hillary's shtick "pathetic," adding that she was "cringing" at the "stupidity" of it. Mika said "I'm going to get killed" for her criticism of Hillary. Wonder who's going to bring the hammer down on Mika?
Can you imagine if in 2007 some conservative had dared call Barack Obama the "Little Mister" of anything? The cries of racism would be ringing to this day.
But on his MSNBC show this evening, Chris Matthews didn't hesitate to denigrate Marco Rubio as "the little Mister Firecracker of the bombs-away set." For good measure, Matthews claimed that "Cruz hates as well as any Republican in modern history."
God forbid it should be said that Bernie Sanders throws a "Christmas" party!
Sanders wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, was interviewed on today's With All Due Respect. When Mark Halperin asked the affable Mrs. Sanders to share a side of her husband that people might not know, she twice mentioned that Bernie organizes an annual "Christmas" party. And twice she promptly corrected herself, calling it a "holiday" party.
Talk about an inconvenient truth . . . Don't know if we've ever witnessed such a blatant suppression of facts--even on MSNBC.
Republican strategist Jessica Proud was a guest this morning on Al Sharpton's MSNBC show, which has been turfed out of its weekday slot and relegated to the early Sunday-morning wilderness. When discussion turned to the Benghazi hearing, Proud pointed out that Hillary, Susan Rice and President Obama lied about the cause of the attack. But before Proud could make her case—based on emails Hillary sent acknowledging that the internet video was not the cause—Sharpton shut her down, saying "let's go to other news of the week" and opening a discussion of Joe Biden's decision not to run.
Say, Tom, maybe you could lead a movement to retroactively impeach George W. Bush . . . On today's Morning Joe, Tom Brokaw, downplayed the significance of Benghazi, suggesting instead that what we really needed was "a big congressional investigation about the decision to go to war in the first place in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that didn't exist."
Brokaw also underlined that more lives were lost in terrorist attacks on the US Marine barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole and Khobar Towers than in Benghazi. Brokaw made a point to mention that the attack on the Marine barracks happened during Ronald Reagan's presidency, but failed to disclose that the USS Cole and Khobar Towers attacks happened during the presidency of Hillary Clinton's husband. Simple slip by Brokaw, no doubt.
Talk about politics making strange bedfellows . . . Joe Scarborough has said that when he goes back to Washington, DC, his "best friends" are "liberal Democrats." The one person Scarborough singled out to illustrate this was Maxine Waters, mentioning that he hugs her on the House floor.
Scarborough's statement came during a pre-recorded New Hampshire town hall with John Kasich that aired on today's Morning Joe. I wish Scarborough had explained why his best friends are liberal Democrats rather than any of the 247 Republicans in the House. Maxine Waters, really? The woman who called George W. a "liar" and Dick Cheney a "liar" and "thief?" Who refused to call the Rodney King riots by that name, labelling them a "rebellion" instead?