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ZERO Ethics: MSNBC Contributor Jon Meacham Has Been Writing Biden’s Speeches



In a revelation announced Monday by The New York Times, former Newsweek editor, liberal historian, and MSNBC/NBC contributor Jon Meacham has been writing speeches for former Vice President Joe Biden, including his Saturday night “victory speech.” Of course, Meacham and the Comcast-owned networks never disclosed this fact.

The lack of ethics wasn’t entirely surprising, given how Meacham both endorsed Biden during the campaign and spoke August 20 at the Democratic National Convention, and neither network seemed to care. And that’s in addition to the fact that their ethically-challenged ranks include Mike Barnicle, Joy Reid, and Brian Williams.

As per Annie Karni and John Koblin, Meacham has been helping Biden for some time (click “expand”):

Jon Meacham, the presidential historian and biographer, has been helping to craft President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s speeches, according to multiple sources involved, including helping to write the acceptance speech that Mr. Biden delivered Saturday night from Wilmington, Del.

In that address, Mr. Biden spoke of a 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.” Mr. Meacham’s 2018 book, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” has long served as a touchstone for Mr. Biden, who read it and has reached out to Mr. Meacham in the past to discuss passages he liked.

Mr. Biden’s speech-writing process is run by Mike Donilon, the president-elect’s longtime adviser. But behind the scenes, Mr. Meacham has been playing a larger role than was previously known, 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 in August.

(….)

A Biden official added that Mr. Meacham was involved in discussions about the themes in the victory speech.

Citing a source, The Times added that Meacham will continue to appear, but “will no longer be a paid contributor going forward.”

It would be nice if Meacham, MSNBC, and NBC would admit to their major failure to uphold basic journalistic ethics, but don’t hold your breath waiting. And as we all know, if this had happened on Fox News, both CNN and MSNBC would be calling for heads to roll.

Instead, we had moments like this on Saturday where Lyin’ Brian invited Meacham to chime in on the evening that, as we now know, he helped craft (click “expand”): 

 

 

Tonight marks — the entire election results — mark a renewal of an American conversation where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality, that has taken us too long, our work has been bloody and tragic and painful and difficult and Lord knows it is unfinished. But at our best, we try and at our best, we are, the Vice President — sorry, the President-elect, got to get used to that, the President-Elect quoted Martin Luther King tonight who quoted Theodore Parker, a 19th century abolitionist talking about the arc of a universe being long, but it bends toward justice. It only bends if there’s people like John Lewis and people like Jim Clyburn and people like the suffrageists and people like abolitionists who insist that it swerve. 

That’s the dialect of history and what’s unfolding now is the resumption of a conversation about who we are and who we want to be and it’s — it’s an interesting — interestingly because of President Trump and the last four years, it’s a reinvigorated and changed conversation because we are more aware of the fragility, of the things that many of us have taken for granted. If you look like me and you, Brian, things tends to work out for us in this country, right? But the story of the country at its best is a story of obstacles overcome and opportunity extended, you know? From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, those are the moments we celebrate and those are battlefields, just as surely as Omaha Beach and Antietam and Iwo Jima and those battles are now rejoined. We always have to be 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. 

Hours earlier, Meacham was also on MSNBC to give his thoughts on the news organizations projecting Biden as President-elect and, like with his primetime appearance, there were no disclosures.

When asked about the results, Meacham gushed that the American “republican is being kept today” seeing as how, because of Donald Trump, America has been lacking “the deficit of decency, the deficit of hope, the ascendance of fear,” and “the ascendance of selfishness.”

On Saturday, this lack of journalistic ethics was made possible by advertisers such as Ensure, Qunol, and Robitussin. Follow the links to the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from November 7, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Decision 2020
November 7, 2020
9:32 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Jon Meacham, I told you Erinn’s a deadline journalist. You either have it or you don’t and she has it. She has a benefit of a entire website, news and opinion called The 19th. On this night when we just heard from kamala Harris and I’ll read the AP lead, Kamala Devi Harris a daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants is set to become the highest ranking woman in the nation’s 244-year existence. That is consequential. And Jon, to my initial point, I’m not the historian that you are and I don’t have the Pulitzer on my self that you do, do you concur that is the way we are used to hearing from our presidents?

JON MEACHAM: Absolutely. Tonight marks — the entire election results — mark a renewal of an American conversation where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality, that has taken us too long, our work has been bloody and tragic and painful and difficult and Lord knows it is unfinished. But at our best, we try and at our best, we are, the Vice President — sorry, the President-elect, got to get used to that, the President-Elect quoted Martin Luther King tonight who quoted Theodore Parker, a 19th century abolitionist talking about the arc of a universe being long, but it bends toward justice. It only bends if there’s people like John Lewis and people like Jim Clyburn and people like the suffrageists and people like abolitionists who insist that it swerve. That’s the dialect of history and what’s unfolding now is the resumption of a conversation about who we are and who we want to be and it’s — it’s an interesting — interestingly because of President Trump and the last four years, it’s a reinvigorated and changed conversation because we are more aware of the fragility, of the things that many of us have taken for granted. If you look like me and you, Brian, things tends to work out for us in this country, right? But the story of the country at its best is a story of obstacles overcome and opportunity extended, you know? From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, those are the moments we celebrate and those are battlefields, just as surely as Omaha Beach and Antietam and Iwo Jima and those battles are now rejoined. We always have to be 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. 

WILLIAMS: And I guess that’s why John Lewis was on everyone’s mind watching this tonight among others.



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