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An MSNBC contributor was fired after he did not disclose that he had written speeches for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Presidential historian Jon Meacham was apparently let go as a paid contributor on the network after he made no mention of his involvement following Biden’s so-called victory speech on Saturday. In fact, as former NBC and Fox News host Megyn Kelly noted, Meacham even gave Biden high marks for his address on the air.
“This is crazy. He helped Biden draft his speech on Sat night, without disclosing that fact to the audience (or anyone?), then reacted to the speech live on the air as a paid MSNBC contributor,” Kelly tweeted Monday, apparently reacting to the Fox News report.
“Let me guess- he liked it?” she added.
Meacham had been “playing a larger role than was previously known,” sources told The New York Times about the former MSNBC contributor who spoke at the Democratic National Convention back in August.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer had been “both writing drafts of speeches and offering edits on many of Mr. Biden’s big addresses, including one he gave at Gettysburg last month and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.”
Although he had publicly endorsed Biden back in March, Meacham did not disclose on the air Saturday that he had a hand in crafting the speech the former vice president delivered after media outlets prematurely declared him the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Biden talked of the mission “to rebuild the soul of America, to rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class and to make America respected around the world again,” during his remarks,
Biden campaign press secretary TJ Ducklo told the Times that the Democrat nominee had written the speech but that “given the significance of the speech, he consulted a number of important, and diverse, voices as part of his writing process, as he often does.”
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams had asked Meacham for his reaction to Biden’s address on the air Saturday.
“I’m not the historian that you are, and I don’t have the Pulitzer that you do, but do you concur that is the way we are used to hearing from our presidents?” asked Williams, who was himself suspended for six months from “NBC Nightly News” in 2015 when he embellished his role in a story on the Iraq War in 2003.
“Absolutely,” Meacham answered as he went on to wax poetic about the moment without revealing any of his connection to Biden and his speeches.
“A renewal of an American conversation, where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality…”
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) November 10, 2020
“I think tonight is a reminder of the possibilities of the country but the last four years are a reminder of the perils that always face us and as the old 18th century, 19th century trope, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and I think that’s a price we all have to be willing to pay,” Meacham, the author of the 2018 book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” told Williams.
NARRATOR: He did.
Here’s what he said to Brian Williams (I know, the irony) pic.twitter.com/6QWB8G1QzM
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 10, 2020
Twitter users called out the blatant lapse in ethics but also seemed not too surprised.
Why did MSNBC fire Meachem? It’s not like we didn’t already know their on-air talent are all DNC operatives.
— Angus T. Kirk (@angusparvo) November 10, 2020
Yeah, by even loose journalistic standards, this is horrible.
— Mark Frost (@FrostieCash) November 10, 2020
Everything they do is a charade.
— Dan 🇺🇸 (@danieltobin) November 10, 2020
Wow. Supposedly unbiased media analysts writing speeches for presidential candidates.
— David Wilson (@davekwilson83) November 10, 2020
What a sham!🙄
— TexasRed🍷 (@alycialeah) November 10, 2020