Nothing to see here, folks, just presidential historian and MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham “helping write” Joe Biden’s Saturday night “acceptance” speech, failing to disclose he did so, then showing up on MSNBC after the speech and waxing poetically with anchor Brian Williams — a piece of work in his own right — about the magnificence of “Biden’s” speech.
As reported by Fox News on Monday, MSNBC has let Meacham go as a contributor for not disclosing he was a speechwriter for Biden. Think about that. Even MSNBC thought it was wrong. That right there was a flying pigs alert if I’ve ever seen one.
Speaking of Fox News, former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly weighed in Meacham’s mess, calling the whole thing “crazy,” and tossing in a perfectly-snarky observation: “Let me guess— he liked it?”
“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. Let me guess- he liked it?”
Shocked, Megyn? Me neither.
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. Let me guess- he liked it? https://t.co/XnZqprPUef
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) November 10, 2020
Here’s background, as reported by the New York Times.
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.
So after the speech, Meacham shows up on Williams’s MSNBC show to talk about it. The irony here couldn’t be more perfect. Thoroughly disgraced former NBC “Nightly News” anchor, “Lyin’ Brian” Williams, interviewing a guy who wrote a speech for Biden, didn’t disclose doing so, and then lauding Biden and the speech. With Brian Williams lauding it right along. How awesome is that?
Williams floated a slow pitch right down the heart of the plate for Meacham.
“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?”
Nicely teed up, Bri — and nice dig at Trump. Meacham was effusive in response.
“Absolutely. Tonight marks the entire election results. A renewal of an American conversation, where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality that’s 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.
“The president-elect quoted Martin Luther King tonight who quoted Theodore Parker, a 19th-century abolitionist, talking about the arc of the universe being long but bends toward justice.”
Can you imagine Meacham having this discussion with Biden?
Meacham: “Joe, I think you should talk about the Jeffersonian promise of equality.”
Biden: “The Jeffer-who-ian promise of what?”
Meacham: “Never mind. I also think it would be effective if you’d talk about Martin Luther King’s reference to Theordore Parker’s observations about the arc of the universe being long but bending toward justice.”
Biden: Come on, man. What the hell are you talking about? Can’t I just talk about what kind of ice cream I like and stuff like that? You know, everyday-Joe America stuff!”
Meacham: “Well talk tomorrow, Joe. Try to get some rest.”
Meacham continued to pontificate, as Williams continued to eat it up with a soup ladle.
“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.”
“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
Biden’s national press secretary TJ Ducklo downplayed Meacham’s involvement in writing speeches for Biden, going so far as to l
ie his claim that Joe himself wrote the speech.
“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. 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.”
Joe’s “writing process”? Really, TJ?
The guy who thinks everyone in America has a right to “badakathcare,” and has pledged to lead an effective strategy to mobilize “trunalimunumapzure,” wrote “Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time”? Uh-huh, sure he did.
The bottom line.
To be fair, all presidents have speechwriters, which I suspect they utilize in different ways and to different degrees. But for Jon Meacham to fail to disclose that he’s been writing speeches for Biden — then show up as a paid contributor to heap praise on the biggest speech of Joe Biden’s 47-year political career — a speech that, regardless of TJ Ducklo’s protestations to the contrary, I’d bet Meacham wrote in its entirety?
That’s got “Democrat shenanigans” written all over it.