Is the media being critical enough of President-elect Biden?
The Hill columnist Joe Concha discusses the relationship between Biden and the press on ‘Fox & Friends.’
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's staff is shaping up to be loaded with members of the mainstream media who are ditching the Fourth Estate to work for the government.
DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall feels “the nation has seen a blending in recent years of influential people working within the news media and in government,” which can confuse viewers as the lines between the two industries are blurred.
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“Several of Biden's new appointments are people who served in government, then went to media gigs, and now are returning to government. This sort of constant migration back and forth between media and government gives the public the distinct impression that government and media are basically part of the same establishment,” McCall told Fox News.
“Given that the free press was supposed to be the watchdog of the government and act as surrogates for the citizenry, this sort of government-press relationship should be concerning. Clearly, Biden should choose people he thinks are best suited for the roles chosen for them, but there should be concern for the broader optics as well,” McCall said.
“Government officials from the right or left who cross the barrier into working for the media should just stay on the media side.”
Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor feels “this flood of leftist TV pundits” joining Biden’s staff “isn't surprising” considering the mainstream media didn’t seem to mind when President Obama hired a ton of liberal journalists.
“More than 30 in the media joined the Obama administration and no one in the press saw anything wrong with it. Journalists only complain when people do that and join a conservative administration,” Gainor told Fox News.
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“Imagine the left's reaction if the new candidate for secretary of state had come out of right-leaning media,” Gainor added, referring to ex-CNN analyst Antony Blinken. “They would have freaked, as they did even about communications jobs being filled by traditional conservatives.”
Here are members of the media who are returning to politics.
Psaki left CNN to take a gig as a senior adviser for the Biden-Harris transition team.
“The election means we have lost another CNN contributor, but by the same token the Biden team has gained a senior adviser,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper recently told viewers before welcoming her back to the network to discuss Biden in her new role.
Psaki also served as communications director for President Obama’s administration.
Biden is expected to nominate former CNN global affairs analyst Antony Blinken to serve as his secretary of state, a source told Fox News early Monday
It’s unclear when Blinken’s analyst position at CNN ended. He was not identified as an employee during a recent appearance on the network’s Sunday morning program “GPS” with Fareed Zakaria, but Blinken frequently appeared on CNN from 2017-2018 prior to joining Biden’s campaign. A CNN insider confirmed that Blinken does not currently work for the network.
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McQuade was an MSNBC columnist and NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst before she was tapped for Biden’s legal review team earlier this month. Back in October, she argued in an MSNBC column that Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s faith should be probed by Democrats as a potential means to prove that she was unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.
An NBC News spokesperson confirmed McQuade is no longer employed by the network.
Stengel, an MSNBC political analyst, is the Biden-Harris Transition Team’s lead official for the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which oversees efforts to support “freedom and democracy” in countries around the world, especially where they don’t have their own free press.
Stengel, a former State Department official under President Obama and a past editor of Time magazine, argued in a Washington Post op-ed last October that “America needs a hate speech law.” But he also raised questions about why the First Amendment protects things like book burnings and fake news.
“As a government official traveling around the world championing the virtues of free speech, I came to see how our First Amendment standard is an outlier,” he wrote. “Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran.”
MSNBC did not immediately respond when asked if Stengel is still employed by the network.
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Meacham, a once widely-respected journalist and presidential historian, failed to disclose to his employers at MSNBC that he was serving as a speechwriter for the president-elect. He was even invited on-air to praise a victory speech Biden gave, a speech Meacham himself wrote without disclosing that information to MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.
As a result, Meacham is no longer on MSNBC's payroll but he is still be welcomed to the network as a guest and has already appeared since losing his contributor gig over the lack of transparency.
BIDEN CORONAVIRUS ADVISER DR. ZEKE EMANUEL ONCE ARGUED IT'S NOT WORTH LIVING PAST 75
Dr. Zeke Emanuel
Oncologist Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who served as NBC News and MSNBC as a medical contributor, is one of 10 advisory board members named to Biden’s coronavirus task force.
Emanuel was a special adviser for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2009 to 2011. He is the brother of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an ally of President Obama.
Emanuel once 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."
Biden is 77.
An NBC News spokesperson confirmed Emanuel is no longer employed by the network.
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CNN digital producer-turned Fourth Watch editor Steve Krakauer doesn’t think the trend will stop anytime soon and even floated some familiar names that he feels could land a job in the Biden administration.
“One key position which will have an interest for the media specifically is that of press secretary. Previously, we've seen media members jump ship to comms positions, like Jay Carney leaving Time magazine to work for the Obama administration,” Krakauer wrote in his most recent newsletter. “If that were to be the case again – which, let's be honest, is more likely than not – who could fill that role?”
Krakauer then listed MSNBC’s Katy Tur, CNN’s Jim Acosta, CNN’s David Gregory, CNN’s Brianna Keilar and CNN’s Jim Scuitto as his top five candidates to be the next press secretary.
Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich, Evie Fordham, Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Michael Ruiz and Brittany De Lea contributed to this report
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