Mark Finkelstein

Mark Finkelstein's picture
Contributing Editor

Lives in Granbury, Texas. 

Twitter: @markfinkelstein

Pilot, parrots, dogs, tennis.

Latest from Mark Finkelstein

Message to Scott McClellan: when your guy's gaffe merits a screaming headline at Drudge [see after the jump] about how he's had to apologize for what he said, he's messed up. Big time.  But that didn't stop Pres. Bush's former press secretary—turned Soros-paid scrivener—from going on TV and proclaiming that Obama turned in a flawless performance in his debut presser today as president-elect.

McClellan appeared on MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," David Gregory's post-election vehicle taking the place of "Race for the White House."  In an odd bit of balance, McClellan, who endorsed Obama, was on with former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart.  Mika Brzezinski guest-hosted for Gregory.  Lockhart went first, and predictably proclaimed that Obama "made no mistakes" in his press conference today.  No prize for candor, but what do you expect?  Then it was McClellan's turn, and he went into parrot paradigm [with no offense to the baby red-front macaw I'm bringing home tomorrow].

Say what you will about President George W. Bush, but I don't recall him ever mocking an elderly widow in his pronouncements.  But Barack Obama couldn't get through his first press conference as president-elect without doing just that.

Answering a question from Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times as to the presidents he has consulted during the transition, Obama took a gratuitous jab at Nancy Reagan, who was recently released from the hospital after breaking her pelvis in a fall.

BARACK OBAMA: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I've spoken to all of them that are living, obviously President Clinton--I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.

View video here.

You might not be thrilled by the election of Barack Obama, but look on the bright side: it's made life a lot easier for Maya Angelou when she hangs out with her European friends.  Asked by Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC's 1 PM hour what was going through her mind as the results rolled in, the poet mentioned, among other things:

I realized, almost within the minute, I don't have to apologize for my country when I'm abroad.  I can say: "I belong to a great country." And the Europeans who say: aren't you glad to be here in France where we don't have the racism you live under?  Aren't you glad you're here in Britain, where we don't have -- I mean, I've been on the defensive so long.  This time I can say: "I am an American: look at us, look at what we've just achieved."

Just in time for the new James Bond movie, Chris Matthews has earned himself a new moniker: Odd Job. Matthews says he sees his job as a journalist as doing everything he can to make the Obama presidency a success.

Appearing on "Morning Joe" today, Matthews was reluctant to criticize Rahm Emanuel's kabuki dance over accepting Obama's offer to be chief of staff.

The "Hardball" host (and presumptive candidate for U.S. Senate from PA) was equally unwilling to see the Emanuel episode as evidence of a lack of planning and discipline in the nascent Obama administration. Matthews eventually explained why.[H/t multiple NB readers.]

The MSM have already begun circling the wagons around their guy. Like a secular priest, Chris Cuomo this morning absolved Barack Obama of any responsibility for yesterday's stock market nosedive, the largest post-election drop in history.

Cuomo offered his absolution while chatting about the economy with Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer today.

DIANE SAWYER: First we've got to start with the market.  Market went way down.  Why?

CHRIS CUOMO:  Well, not because it was Obama that got elected. That had already been figured into the markets. It went down because the news about the economy is not good.

View video here.

Via Drudge. According to a study performed by a Fordham University scholar, the least accurate of the 20 presidential polls were those performed by CBS/New York Times and, in dead last, Newsweek.

In its final poll, CBS/Times forecast an 11-point Obama margin, 52-41.  Newsweek was even more "optimistic", foreseeing a 12-point Obama win, 53-41.  

If Keith Olbermann is going to engage in violent fantasies about Sarah Palin, can't he at least come up with some original material?  On tonight's Countdown, Olbermann drooled at the prospect of Palin remaining in national politics, saying:

She might stick around to be the slowest-moving target imaginable for comedians and commentators. It would be like shooting moose from a chopper.

Despicable, yes.  But also a "borrowing" of Bidenesque proportions.  As we noted here, Bill Maher plumbed those noisesome depths weeks ago, imagining Palin being "shot from a plane" like a wolf.

Olbermann got off his loathsome line in a conversation with Chris Kofinis, a former John Edwards aide.

Today's Unintentional Honesty Award goes to Jonathan Capehart.  The Washington Post editorialist, discussing Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night, spoke of the president-elect thanking "his reporters," before catching himself and substituting "supporters."

Joe Scarborough, with an assist from executive producer Chris Licht, called Capehart out on his Freudian slip.  The WaPo man proceeded to pat himself on the back as one of those rare MSM members who had not been in the tank for Obama.  Right.

[Listen to audio here.]

My NewsBusters colleagues, and conservatives across the blogosphere, are sure to be vying to document the most outrageous examples of the MSM's fawning reaction to the Obama victory.

Hopefully I'll have the honor of at least a brief clubhouse lead with my entry, the words of CBS Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen during this morning's opening segment.

JULIE CHEN: Yeah, it was so moving, um, last night.  You couldn't help but feel so emotional, and I agree with you [Maggie Rodriguez], I think John McCain did a really classy job in his speech [he did, but MSM loves Republicans best as losers] in acknowledging Barack's [Julie on first-name basis] big win.  And what was most inspiring to me was when Barack Obama was addressing that huge crowd, was watching such a diverse group of faces, all with so much hope in their eyes.  That made me feel really good.

View video here.

Sure, there was the little matter of a presidential race to be settled.  But tuning into MSNBC this evening, there was also the suspense of seeing whether another spat would break out between Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.  And the pair didn't disappoint.  Renewing the on-air feud that began out during the DNC, tonight's tussle left no doubt there's still plenty of bad blood between the two.

Matthews sparked the spat by suggesting that Obama had gone back on his word to take public financing for his campaign.  When Olbermann sprang to Obama's defense, Matthews suggested that his, um, colleague was being naive.

It's taken them awhile, but good to see that MSNBC has now seamlessly integrated its own promotional advertising with that of the Obama campaign.

An MSNBC promo that just aired, touting the network's election coverage, concludes: "Watch MSNBC, and experience the power of change."  And as you'll see from the screencap, who is at the center of MSNBC's coverage but Keith Olbermann.  Oh, and prior to its parting shot, the promo's soundtrack is the voice of JFK, in his famous "ask not" line from the 1961 inaugural address.

View video here.

Pat Buchanan just snatched the security blanket from conservatives and stomped on it. Contemplating the prospect of an electoral loss, some conservatives are consoling themselves by imagining that the political pendulum will soon start swinging back their way.

Buchanan doesn't think so, and his very first words on the matter this morning explain why: "demography is destiny."  Buchanan offered his analysis during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe.

View video here.

If the Republicans had a few more spokesmen like Haley Barbour, the political landscape might look a lot different.  The Mississippi governor's down-home good humor and razor-sharp wit are a formidable combination. Barbour's killer combo of skills was on display on this evening's Hardball.  When Chris Matthews challenged his criticism of Obama's tax credit plan, Barbour good-naturedly backed him down with an impressive disquisition on New Deal history.  When he was through, Matthews had to admit that Haley was right.

I'd encourage people to view the video, not only for the entertainment value, but as a case study of how to defeat a member of the liberal media.

The Nobel hasn't conferred any classiness on Paul Krugman.  Dancing on the GOP's grave this morning in his NYT column, the newly-minted laureate impugns the party of Lincoln as "a haven for racists and reactionaries."

When Katie Couric was trying to pin Sarah Palin down on examples of John McCain having promoted increased government regulation of business, the CBS anchor, after her initial inquiry, posed no fewer than three follow-up questions, even breaking out the old "not to belabor the point" line as she did just that.

But when the man perhaps poised to become the most powerful person on the planet, with the world's most sophisticated communication resources at his fingertips, claims "I haven't been able to get in touch" with his aunt who has been living illegally in this country for over four years—and who resides at a known address in a public housing project in Boston—Couric doesn't bat an eye.  To the contrary, she can be seen nodding in agreement.  And far from asking a follow-up question, such as "have you tried?", Couric tossed Obama a super-slo softball, asking him to describe the thing the McCain campaign has done that's made him angriest.

View video here.

Mark Whitaker, head of the NBC News DC bureau, got off today's unintentional laugh line when he described Barack Obama as having "lifted himself up from the streets of Hawaii."

Oh those mean streets of Hawaii. You know, the sort pictured here at the Punahou school that Obama attended from 5-12th grade.  While attending Punahou, Obama lived with his grandparents.  Readers will recall that grandma Dunham was . . . a vice-president of the Bank of Hawaii.

View video here.

There really are no words, though I suppose we'll manage to find some.  Wonkette, which bills itself as "the DC Gossip," and is the creation of Ana Marie Cox, now gone on to bigger things at Time, has this photograph up of Trig Palin, dressed for Halloween as an elephant and being held in the loving embrace of one of his sisters. [H/t Damian at Conservathink.]

Wonkette appends its comment, suggesting—and there really is no way to sugar coat it—that given the choice Trig would rather have been aborted:

If Team McCain needed some "bulletin-board material"—the kind of outrageous taunt from the opposition a coach will pin up in the locker-room to inspire his troops—they got if from Charlie Cook tonight.  So confident is the pollster of an Obama victory, he's proclaimed that if McCain wins, he'll go to work bagging groceries or behind a fast-food counter.

Cook was a guest on this evening's Race for the White House.  It was in looking at the Electoral College map with host David Gregory that he made his super-sized pledge.

View video here.

Breaking down the front door of a suspected al-Qaeda stronghold in Fallujah took great courage. But even that fearless feat pales in comparison to the dangerous mission that Willie Geist undertook. The intrepid member of the Morning Joe crew ventured out onto the sidewalks of Manhattan's Upper West Side wearing . . . a McCain-Palin T-shirt, trying to drum up support for the Republican ticket. (h/t readers BondPlainBond and Steve.)

As Willie explained, it was all a good-natured goof. But the West Siders for the most part lived up to their stereotype of, as Willie described it, "a monolithic block of elitists," scorning Geist for his gall.

I'm guessing that Paul Krugman and David Brooks don't hang out that much together.  So when both turn up on the New York Times op-ed page this morning with columns calling for massive government spending, I'm assuming they came to their conclusions independently.  My working hypothesis: if Krugman and Brooks agree on something this important, they must be wrong.

Here's Krugman's prescription, which comes in response to news that consumer spending has dropped sharply [emphasis added throughout]:

[W]hat the economy needs now is something to take the place of retrenching consumers. That means a major fiscal stimulus. And this time the stimulus should take the form of actual government spending rather than rebate checks that consumers probably wouldn’t spend.

Let’s hope, then, that Congress gets to work on a package to rescue the economy as soon as the election is behind us.

From Brooks: