Journalist and historian Jon Meacham was a big fan of Joe Biden’s acceptance speech last Saturday night. This should probably be no surprise — he helped write it.
The problem was that Meacham praised the speech as a pundit on MSNBC without telling anyone that he was involved in its composition. They’ve since fired the historian as a paid contributor, but say he is welcome to appear on air as an unpaid guest.
There’s no shortage in hubris in Meacham’s deception, but it isn’t surprising. For many on the left there are just no rules so long as one is opposing Donald Trump.
There is a serious and deep danger to demonizing political foes in the way that so many have demonized Trump. It gives journalists license not just to attack in unfair ways, but in Meacham’s case to lie about an obvious conflict of interest.
Just after the Meacham story broke, three MSNBC commentators announced they were jumping ship to take positions in Biden’s transition team.
Considering how many “analysts” (read: Democratic administration operatives in waiting) MSNBC employed to help get Biden over the line, the channel was essentially a propaganda outlet for his campaign.
Yet the Twitterati, too busy attacking Fox News, made hardly a peep.
But the coziness is, unfortunately, not limited to MSNBC. We saw plenty of examples on the campaign trail this year, where many journalists, so eager for Trump to lose, did not seem remotely bothered by the silent candidacy.
This week, Politico’s Ryan Lizza, who is also a CNN analyst, finally complained about the lack of access journalists receive from Biden and his team. Honestly, what did he expect? Did Lizza think suddenly that once elected that was going to change?
Trump has a famously nasty relationship with much of the news media but he also grants them extraordinary access. As RealClearPolitics White House correspondent Philip Wegmann put it in a tweet about Biden, “He doesn’t call us names. In fact he doesn’t even really talk to us.”
MSNBC’s decision to allow Meacham to continue appearing on air raises serious concerns about just how diligent that network and others will be in covering a Biden presidency. It was patently obvious to anyone paying attention that Joe Biden was given a pass by the media during the election.
The media has been patting itself on the back for four years of attacking Trump. “Democracy Dies in Darkness” and all that other blather. The election of Joe Biden shows what a lie that is; the watchdogs are sleeping. Do you expect them to get tough now?
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