For four years, CNN and NBC/MSNBC decried the “revolving door” between the Trump administration and Fox News. Now, analysts and contributors from those networks are joining Joe Biden’s transition team and administration.
For starters, Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, worked as a global affairs analyst for CNN after serving as deputy national security adviser for former President Barack Obama between 2013 and 2015. Blinken also worked for President Bill Clinton’s administration in the State Department.
Jen Psaki just left the CNN payroll as a commentator to join the Biden transition team as a senior adviser. Before that she worked as the spokesperson for the State Department under Obama and then as his White House Communications Director.
NBC News and MSNBC have even more analysts heading to Team Biden, including Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of the network’s medical contributors and brother to Rahm Emanuel, former Chicago mayor and the chief of staff to Obama. Dr. Emanuel will be guiding Biden’s COVID-19 response, which has yet to differ significantly from President Donald Trump’s with the exception of a potentially unconstitutional federal mask mandate and the threat of a nationwide lockdown that would cripple the economy.
Barbara McQuade, a legal analyst for NBC and MSNBC, will join the Biden transition as part of the Justice Department review team. She previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan under Obama.
Richard Stengel, a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, has been tapped as the Biden transition’s “Team Lead” for the U.S. Agency for Global Media. Stengel wrote an op-ed in 2019 for The Washington Post that argued for restrictions to free speech.
“All speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate,” Stengel wrote, before suggesting things like burning the Koran or “false narratives” and “lies” on social media should not be protected by the First Amendment. Stengel did not specifically note what he considers a false narrative or lie.
Stengel previously worked as Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs between 2014 and 2016.
Karine Jean-Pierre, also a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, left the network in May to work on Biden’s campaign before joining Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as her chief of staff once she was named the vice-presidential nominee. She previously worked on several Democratic presidential campaigns, including Obama’s. She also served as the regional political director for Obama’s White House Office of Political Affairs during his first term. She went on to work as Obama’s National Deputy Battleground States Director for his re-election campaign.
Finally, there’s Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and MSNBC contributor, who failed to disclose to the network that he was writing speeches for Biden during his campaign, including his victory speech at the Democratic National Convention. Meacham also helped write Biden’s acceptance speech following the media declaring him the winner of the presidential election. Meacham, however, is unlikely to join the Biden administration.
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