MSNBC contributor Jon Meacham was asked to comment on President-elect Joe Biden's acceptance speech on air over the weekend, which he did — without properly disclosing his role in helping to write it, The New York Times reported Monday.
Meacham is a presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize recipient, the former editor-in-chief of Newsweek, and was reportedly tapped to help write Biden's speeches, including his Democratic National Convention acceptance speech and his presidential acceptance speech, which was delivered Saturday night. While a spokesman for Biden de-emphasized Meacham's involvement in the speechwriting process, Biden's speech did seem to bear some echoes of Meacham's work. For example, Biden has reportedly reached out in the past to discuss Meacham's 2018 book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels; Biden also spoke of the "soul of America" in his Saturday speech.
Meacham has appeared three times on MSNBC since Saturday, and in none of his appearances did he disclose his involvement in the Biden campaign, Mediaite writes. Before Biden's address on Saturday, Meacham even praised the message he'd reportedly helped craft by saying: "Vice President Biden, I think, represents a kind of tonic for a toxic politics." Afterwards, asked by anchor Brian Williams if the speech was more traditionally presidential, Meacham replied: "Absolutely."
The Times reports that Meacham will no longer be a paid contributor on MSNBC going forward, but may continue to appear as a guest.
Meacham has not made any secret of his preference for Biden, however, having endorsed the candidate in an op-ed over the summer. "To record history doesn't mean you are removed from it," he's previously said.