Presidential historian and MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham is out of a job with the network after it was discovered he was a speechwriter for Joe Biden’s campaign.
He apparently didn’t disclose the full extent of his assistance to the Biden campaign. Meacham had a hand in writing several significant addresses by Biden, including his “victory” speech in Delaware on Saturday night, the speech at Gettysburg, and his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention.
One can imagine MSNBC’s Biden campaign reporters walking around Biden headquarters and bumping into Meacham. Didn’t they ever ask what he was doing there?
Sources told The New York Times that Meacham had been “playing a larger role than was previously known” behind the scenes, “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.”
Biden campaign press secretary TJ Ducklo told the Times, “President-elect Joe Biden wrote the speech he delivered to the American people on Saturday night” 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.”
Meacham’s 2018 bestseller, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, is said to be a template for the Biden presidency. So how did the network miss the fact that he was in the tank for one of the candidates?
More to the point, why did MSNBC pay someone who worked in any capacity on either campaign?
Meacham, who publicly endorsed Biden back in March, has long been a go-to analyst for MSNBC. However, the Times also reported that, according to a network source, Meacham would no longer be a paid contributor going forward but that he would still be welcomed as a guest.
But as the Times noted, Meacham did appear on MSNBC following Biden’s speech on Saturday without any disclosure that he was heavily involved in the crafting of the president-elect’s address.
Meacham is not an academic historian. He is a “public historian” — a generalist with a nice turn of the phrase who cashed in on the success of an anti-Trump book in an anti-Trump market. He’s not a political expert in any sense of the word. He has a decent knowledge of past campaigns and is able to put our present politics in some perspective.
“Expert commentary” by Meacham is a misnomer. He is an expert at promoting himself. But he fits right in with the other partisan hacks at MSNBC.