Presidential historian loses MSNBC gig after failing to disclose he wrote Biden's acceptance speech

Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential historian Jon Meacham is a Biden supporter. He endorsed Biden in March. He had a job as a contributor, for which he was paid, on MSNBC. According to reports, Meacham no longer has a contributor job because he failed to disclose that he writes and also edits speeches for Joe Biden.

While most network coverage of Biden’s victory speech on Saturday night swooned over the speech, Meacham appeared on MSNBC. He was asked by show host Brian Williams for comments, leading it off by asking if Biden’s speech was a return to how presidents in the past have sounded. Meacham delivered his hot takes about the speech but he never disclosed that he played a role in the speechwriting. Meacham isn’t just a presidential historian and author of best-selling books, he is a speechwriter, too.

During the Trump years, Mr. Meacham had also been a regular presence on MSNBC and NBC News broadcasts. But as of Monday, he was not a paid contributor at the network, according to two people familiar with the decision. Mr. Meacham was expected to return to NBC as an unpaid guest and could resume his paid role next year, possibly after the inauguration, the people said. NBC declined to comment.

Indeed, Mr. Meacham appeared on MSNBC before and after Mr. Biden’s acceptance speech on Saturday. About half an hour after Mr. Biden had concluded, the anchor Brian Williams introduced Mr. Meacham by saying, “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?”

“Absolutely,” Mr. Meacham responded, without disclosing that he had been involved in the writing of the speech.

Shortly before Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Mr. Biden took the stage, Mr. Meacham commented on the symbolism of a new administration featuring a 77-year-old institutionalist and a vice president-elect “who represents in many ways the changing demography of the country.”

“It’s poetic,” Mr. Meacham said. “There’s a lot of poetry tonight.”

The guy was delivering a critique on his own speech as though he was a passive observer. It sounds like that was a bridge too far even for MSNBC. The cable network will be happy to have Meacham on as an unpaid guest, though. Any bets on his re-hiring once Biden is inaugurated if the race is called for him by those tasked with making the call? You know they will. Meacham has been a good little foot soldier for the left and Never-Trumpers during the Trump administration. He even was given a speaking slot during the Democrat National Convention. He took that opportunity to promote the wacky idea that there were silent Biden voters, like the silent Trump voters we often heard about.

Team Biden, with the help of the New York Times, is pushing back. The staffers aren’t willing to admit that others wrote the speech for Sleepy Joe. Meacham, as it turns out, was hiding his involvement in plain sight.

“President-elect Joe Biden wrote the speech he delivered to the American people on Saturday night, which laid out his vision for uniting and healing the nation,” said TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Mr. Biden.

“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,” Mr. Ducklo added. A Biden official said that Mr. Meacham was involved in discussions about the themes in the victory speech.

Does Mr. Ducklo really expect us to believe that Joe Biden is writing his own speeches? Good heavens. Sleepy Joe can barely read his speeches from a teleprompter or from papers right in front of him. Sometimes it sounds as though he is reading the words for the first time.

Meacham likes to claim politicians from both sides of the aisle as friends. He’s big in Bush World, for example. Meacham spoke at the funeral of Barbara Bush and has been a guest of the George W. Bush presidential library. He wrote a favorable biography of former President George H.W. Bush. He is a member of the club, a member in good standing in The Swamp. He surely is overjoyed to welcome Biden back into the Oval Office and the prospects of another best-selling book.

Jon Meacham sounds like any other woke liberal speaking on MSNBC. He isn’t stingy in his use of flowery language to make his points (he’s well-educated, you know) and he sounds besotted with Biden’s victory.

I’ll note a little irony that it is a panel with Brian Williams that put Meacham in this embarrassing position. Brian Williams has some professional baggage himself. He was moved to MSNBC from his position of ten years as anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News. In February 2015, Williams was suspended for six months from NBC Nightly News for lies he told about his time covering the Iraq War in 2003. He was demoted to a breaking news anchor for MSNBC after that. He was publicly humiliated and received a slap on the wrist. He’s still on the air, though.