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Two more MSNBC contributors jump ship to join Biden transition team

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MSNBC is parting ways with two more of their on-air contributors who will move over to Joe Biden’s White House transition team according to a report on Tuesday. Barbara McQuade, a legal analyst for the cable network, and political analyst Richard Stengel (a former TIME Magazine managing editor) will no longer be paid contributors at the network after they were announced as part of Biden’s forthcoming administration.

Barbara McQuade was with the DOJ for 7 years as a United States Attorney. She was also an Assistant United States Attorney with the United States Attorneys’ Offices for twelve years.

Richard Stengel served under President Obama as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2013-16. He has been with MSNBC for almost 4 years.

McQuade, a legal analyst for MSNBC/NBC News and a University of Michigan Law School professor, will join the Department of Justice Review team and Stengel will serve on the review team for the US Agency for Global Media.

MSNBC does not permit its contributors to endorse candidates or run for office while being paid by the media outlet.

These two departures come just a day after MSNBC contributor and presidential historian Jon Meacham was let go after helping craft a number of Joe Biden’s speeches. Meacham, a longtime friend of Biden, has previously written drafts of speeches for him and edited others, including Biden’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention earlier this year.

Meacham didn’t disclose he had a hand in writing the speech as he discussed it on MSNBC. He even gave Biden high marks for his address on the air. The network has since ended his paid contributor status, but will still allow him on the air with disclosures about his Biden ties.

“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,” Megyn Kelly tweeted Monday. “Let me guess- he liked it?” she added.

Meacham went on to characterize Biden’s rhetoric as “poetic.”

Meacham spoke at the Democratic National Convention back in August. The Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer evidently has been “both writing drafts of speeches and offering edits on many of Mr. Biden’s big addresses, including one he gave at Gettysburg last month and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.”

According to Mediaite, Meacham appeared on MSNBC an additional three times since Saturday without disclosing he was a speechwriter for Biden. During these appearances, he was asked to analyze Biden’s speech, remarking favorably on Biden.

“You know, Vice President Biden, I think, represents a kind of tonic for a toxic politics,” Meacham told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “He’s not perfect. There are vices, but there are a lot of virtues, too.”

The network also ended its paid-contributor deal with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an MSNBC medical expert who was appointed to Biden’s coronavirus task force this week. Oncologist Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of 10 advisory board members named to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, argued in a 2014 essay that he doesn’t want to live past 75.

Emanuel, 63, wrote that “by 75, creativity, originality and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us” in his 2014 essay “Why I Hope to Die at 75.”

“Since 1960, however, increases in longevity have been achieved mainly by extending the lives of people over 60. Rather than saving more young people, we are stretching out old age,” Emanuel wrote in the essay.

“It is true that compared with their counterparts 50 years ago, seniors today are less disabled and more mobile,” he continued. “But over recent decades, increases in longevity seem to have been accompanied by increases in disability—not decreases.”

Ezekial is the author of the Complete Lives System.

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