The Joy Reid saga continues. As I noted earlier today, Reid and her attorney are claiming her old blog was hacked and the hacked material was then archived (many times) by the Internet Archive web crawler. In addition, Reid’s cybersecurity expert is claiming some of the screenshots showing homophobic comments from her old blog were Photoshopped, i.e. they didn’t exist at all on the old blog. That’s significant because all of the screenshots have basically come from one person, a Twitter user named @Jamie_Maz. Here’s how the Washington Post reported that claim today:
On another level, says Nichols, someone deployed a basic computer program like MSPaint to essentially retro-fabricate old blog posts and sell them as the insensitive, homophobic work of Reid. This is a technique known as “screenshot manipulation.”
“She’s telling the truth,” says Nichols, who says he came into this project in November with the mind-set that she was lying. “Joy Reid is telling the truth. She was hacked.”
The @jamie_maz account has posted a thread of nearly 50 tweets displaying screenshots of posts attributed to Reid. Can Nichols claim that all of those are, somehow, fraudulent? “I am not prepared to say all of them are fraudulent,” says Nichols. “I am prepared to say that some of them are.”
But a computer scientist named Michael Nelson at Old Dominion University in Virginia has examined some of the screenshots published by @Jamie_Maz and was able to find the source material on alternative archives of Reid’s blog. For example:
30/x Joy seemed very interested in Brokeback Mountain, but wouldn't watch it bc it featured two men hooking up.
She can't understand who is going to see it since she imagines everyone would be turned off by it. pic.twitter.com/ogBnPyDSUF
— Not a bot (@Jamie_Maz) April 18, 2018
Here’s the content in that first screenshot on the left:
Who are all these people going to see Brokeback Mountain? I’m sorry I just don’t get it — it’s not a family film… I’d think teenagers would rather see cowboys dealing with a whole different kind of six-shooter … no straight guy is gonna be seen buying that ticket unless he’s a paid film critic … it’s not exactly a couple film (cue the squirming straight guy…) and it’s not a “chick film” either — why would a girl want to see two good looking straight actors shagging each other? I guess I just don’t understand the modern culture. Either that or gay people have a crap load of money to spend on movies …
You can find that still exists in a 2006 archive of Reid’s blog at this link (scroll about halfway down). And on that same page (if you scroll to the bottom) you’ll also find this:
Here’s another example found by @Jamie_Maz and confirmed by Michael Nelson:
19/x Joy – I am not a gay marriage supporter pic.twitter.com/wbf2QSkx7n
— Not a bot (@Jamie_Maz) April 18, 2018
The second screenshot on the right reads:
Now I’m not a gay marriage proponent, but to say this issue is important to the country given what else is going on in the world? Priceless…
And here’s the link (scroll about 2/3 of the way down) to the archive of the same material.
I’m not going to include all of the examples but here’s one more from 2005 titled “Harriet Miers and the lesbian hair check.” A sample:
Okay, so nobody knows anything about Bush’s Supreme Court nominee other than that she’s a total Bush loyalist. That we know. But what really matters at the end of the day, is not whether she was, in fact, hired for a paltry $19,000 to help clean up Bush’s National Guard records when he ran for Texas governor, or whether she’s even qualified to sit on the Supreme Court (as opposed to being yet another Brownie-style crony hack) — no, the really important questions is whether this check is a lesbian…
Item: Let’s face it, that’s one hellified lesbian hair-do she’s sporting. Listen, I used to work for a woman with that hair-cut — in fact, she and her girlfriend both had that hair-cut…
Reid’s people have been intentionally vague but the current claim is that the old posts she apologized for last year and some of the recently uncovered ones are real. But some of the posts she’s accused of writing were Photoshopped images and some of those that weren’t Photoshopped (because they exist in the archives) were the result of hacking. And that means that starting in 2006 someone cared enough about Reid to hack her site and make it appear she was dissing gay marriage at a time when that was a majority viewpoint in the country but, incredibly, Reid never noticed until 2017. Does that cover all the bases? I think we’re going to need some more detail about which of these comments are fabricated and which ones are real. To be honest, I’m not seeing much difference.