This is a very strange story which gives me flashbacks to Anthony Weiner claiming he’d been hacked. Back in December, MSNBC’s Joy Reid apologized and took responsibility for some material found on her old blog deemed insensitive to gays. Now a new batch of similar material has been revealed from the same defunct blog, but this time Reid is claiming the blog was hacked and that the anti-gay comments were added by someone else as part of an effort to make her look bad. Mediaite published her full response to the latest report:
In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology.
I began working with a cyber-security expert who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach. The manipulated material seems to be part of an effort to taint my character with false information by distorting a blog that ended a decade ago.
Now that the site has been compromised I can state unequivocally that it does not represent the original entries.
So what do the “manipulated” entries say? One blog post was a defense of NBA star Tim Hardaway who made some comments deemed homophobic. There’s a screenshot of the blog post at Mediaite:
Keeping it real … most straight men feel exactly the same way, and would have the exact same reaction to the idea of stripping naked in a sweaty locker room in close quarters with a gay teammate. Most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing… Most straight people had a hard time being convinced to watch ‘Broke Back Mountain.’ (I admit that I couldn’t go see the movie either, despite my sister’s ringing endorsement, because I didn’t want to watch the two male characters having sex.) Does that make me homophobic? Probably.
That’s just one example. The blog posts also say several times that the author is not a supporter of gay marriage and include jokes about various celebrities and speculation about people who might be gay (including CNN’s Anderson Cooper). If someone hacked the site to make Reid look bad, they did a very thorough job of it.
All of this would be strange enough if this were the first time we were hearing about this. What’s really strange is that this story first came to light last December when someone discovered an old blog post on the same Reid Report site mocking Charlie Crist and suggested he was in the closet. When the story broke, Reid apologized to Crist:
This note is my apology to all who are disappointed by the content of blogs I wrote a decade ago, for which my choice of words and tone have legitimately been criticized…
Let me be clear: at no time have I intentionally sought to demean or harm the LGBT community, which includes people whom I deeply love. My goal, in my ham-handed way, was to call out potential hypocrisy.
Nonetheless, as someone who is not a member of the LGBT community, I regret the way I addressed the complex issue of the closet and speculation on a person’s sexual orientation with a mocking tone and sarcasm. It was insensitive, tone deaf and dumb. There is no excusing it – not based on the taste-skewing mores of talk radio or the then-blogosphere, and not based on my intentions…
Re-reading those old blog posts, I am disappointed in myself. I apologize to those who also are disappointed in me.
So four months ago, Reid took ownership of the mocking remarks found on her old blog, even adding “there’s no excusing it.” Now she’s saying it wasn’t her at all and the FBI has been notified. Why didn’t she realize the problem before she apologized last year? Why didn’t she mention that she believed the site had been hacked until this new, unflattering material was revealed?
Mediaite notes that the person who sent them the fresh examples also sent them links to the internet archive showing where the screengrabs came from. However, the entire site is now gone from the archive so it’s no longer possible to see the archives of The Reid Report.
One way an archive can be removed is by the owner of the site adding a robots.txt file which tells the Internet Archive to exclude the site. Another way is to email the site and ask them to remove it. So it seems that, sometime after the story broke last December, Joy Reid had the archive taken down. Did she do that because she knew it had been hacked or because it was embarrassing? It seems she was embarrassed by it last year but now it’s someone else’s fault entirely.