Historian Jon Meacham trumpeted President Joe Biden’s election message on CBS days before the midterms without disclosing his work advising the president.
Biden last week framed the 2022 election as a choice between autocratic rule by "extreme MAGA Republicans" and "democracy itself." Meacham, who allegedly co-wrote the speech, repeated many of the same points on CBS’s Sunday Morning, warning voters that the fate of democracy was at stake in the midterms. Neither CBS nor Meacham mentioned his work as an adviser to Biden.
It’s the latest instance of Meacham cloaking Biden’s talking points as unbiased commentary. During an appearance on MSNBC in November 2020, Meacham praised Biden’s acceptance speech as "poetic" without disclosing that he helped draft the speech. The network released Meacham as a paid contributor after the New York Times reported on his "hand in crafting" many of Biden’s campaign speeches. He has since been allowed back on MSNBC as a guest.
CBS News did not respond to a request for comment.
Meacham declined to comment to the Times when asked about his involvement in crafting Biden’s speeches. But national media outlets have dubbed Meacham Biden’s "historical muse," and the president has touted their relationship.
During a presidential town hall in February 2021, Biden said Meacham helped him decorate the Oval Office with paintings of former presidents including Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Times reported this week that Biden brought a copy of Meacham’s new biography of Abraham Lincoln on the campaign trail. Meacham on Sunday said Americans who vote to uphold "democracy" are taking up Lincoln’s quest to preserve the nation.
In January, Meacham fed Biden lines for a speech in Atlanta that accused Republicans of being in league with racist segregationists if they opposed Democrats’ federal voting legislation.
"Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?" Biden said of his opponents. "Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis?"
Meacham appeared again on MSNBC Monday morning to celebrate Biden’s ambitious agenda as president, which he insisted was "not a partisan point."
"I don’t have a partisan brain," Meacham told MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. He was not introduced as an adviser to Biden.
MSNBC did not respond to a request for comment about the appearance.