HuffPost is a progressive site so you might think they’d be tempted to pull punches in their piece on Joy Reid’s old blog posts. Instead, they make a pretty convincing case that her claims make no sense. Especially worth noting is that HuffPost spoke directly with Reid’s cybersecurity expert, Jonathan Nichols. In a statement circulated Tuesday, Nichols claimed some of the screenshots of comments from Reid’s old blog were actually Photoshop fabrications which had never appeared on her blog at all. However, when HuffPost confronted Nichols with evidence those comments had in fact been archived 10-12 years ago, he changed his story:
Nichols’ position about the authenticity of the screenshotted posts ― whether they were forged or genuine screenshots from Reid’s hacked site ― isn’t clear…
Nichols told HuffPost on Wednesday that most of the recent screenshots @Jamie_Maz shared have been manipulated to appear as though they were captured from Reid’s blog, but had never existed on the blog before or after it was hacked.
However, HuffPost was able to find many of the posts in the Wayback Machine archives.
When asked for clarification, Nichols appeared to walk back his statement that most of the recent screenshots had never existed on the site.
“I would suspect that that is one of the fake posts,” Nichols told HuffPost. “I would defer to Joy on any specific instance.”
HuffPost doesn’t specify how many old posts it was able to find in the archives, but it does offer this one example:
38/x Joy writes that the “gayest thing on TV” is Anderson Cooper. pic.twitter.com/yyBVcpr58U
— Not a bot (@Jamie_Maz) April 18, 2018
You can click over to HuffPost and see a screenshot of the same post from the archive of Reid’s blog in 2005. And it’s worth noting they weren’t the only people who were able to find the source of some of those screenshots. As I pointed out yesterday, a computer science professor in Virginia found several as well.
So the post above about “the gayest thing on TV” wasn’t a Photoshop and it wasn’t hacked into multiple iterations of the Internet Archive. That leaves only two options: Either someone hacked Reid back in 2005 when she was one of a zillion bloggers no one cared about. Or Reid wrote this herself.
Arguing strongly against the claim this was a hack: Reid apparently never noticed that entire blog posts, including some with pictures, were appearing on her site. I was a blogger at this same time so I can tell you from experience, if anyone put anything on my blog, I’d have noticed immediately. In fact, my own site was hacked once and I noticed within a few hours. It’s very hard to believe someone could have hacked (or logged into) her to add entire posts but Reid never noticed.
Also, as I pointed out yesterday, this material sounds just like a bunch of other stuff on Reid’s Twitter account. Here’s one I hadn’t seen before:
"@mediaite: Report: Elton John, Who Is Gay, To Perform At Rush Limbaugh’s Wedding http://bit.ly/cV0VoS FM" /Elton to serenade the beard
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) June 5, 2010
Reid’s lawyer told the Daily Beast yesterday that the FBI is investigating her claims. That didn’t seem to help her though. Today the Daily Beast announced it was suspending her column. From the Wrap:
The Daily Beast will suspend future columns from Joy Reid due to the fallout over comments she made on an old blog a decade ago, the website’s executive editor Noah Shachtman told staff in an internal memo on Wednesday.
“We’re going to hit pause on Reid’s columns,” said Shachtman in an email reviewed by TheWrap. “As you’re well aware, support for LGBTQ rights and respect for human dignity are core to Daily Beast. So we’re taking seriously the new allegations that one of our columnists, Joy Reid, previously wrote homophobic blog posts during her stint as a radio host.”
Personally, I don’t think Reid should lose her job for having changed her mind over the past decade. Lots of people have changed their minds over the same period of time on the same issue. The problem is that instead of just apologizing for her comments, Reid put forward this whole defense that doesn’t make much sense to anyone looking at it. (She seems to be employing the Chewbacca defense, i.e. none of this makes any sense, therefore she must be innocent.) I’m hopeful the FBI is going to put an end to this soon. Again, Reid shouldn’t lose her job for changing her mind, but if she’s lying to everyone about what she wrote in a lame attempt to cover her backside, that should be grounds for termination.
Update: More points for honesty, this time from The Root:
Wayback Machine officials dispute that they were hacked, and there is no way to check the veracity of [Reid’s cybersecurity expert] Nichols’ claims because her old blogs, which were archived in 2006, are no longer available on the site. But here’s the interesting thing:
I don’t care.
And the reason I don’t care is for the most hypocritical reason of them all: I don’t care because I like Joy Reid.
Because I like her, I have watched her show, as well as seen her hopscotch around the MSNBC lineup filling in for other hosts. Because I’ve watched her, I don’t think she’s homophobic.
I have nothing to back up that claim except my own prejudice. And given the fact that I’ve roasted white people for far less racism, and hip-hop artists for far less homophobia than what Reid is purported to have written, I know it sounds hypocritical…
Deep down inside, I think Joy Reid probably wrote those things. I hope she didn’t, but even if she did, I can assure you that I’ve said and written some things in my past that I’m not too proud of.
Hard to argue with someone who knows he’s being a hypocrite but doesn’t care.