MSNBC host Joy Reid is reported on the Daily Beast (where she appears as a columnist) to have reaffirmed her earlier claim that hackers “fabricated” old blog posts to make her appear homophobic. The claim is alarming whether true or false. It true, archiving website The Wayback Machine was either compromised or a party to the deception. If false, Reid has lied to the media in a major story involving her own conduct. The company has issued a denial that it was in any way compromised or responsible for the comments.
The denial is reminiscent of the controversy involving Donna Brazile. We discussed earlier how Brazile, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and CNN commentator, denied the legitimacy of emails that showed her leaking a question to Hillary Clinton that would be asked verbatim at the CNN downhill event. Brazile was ultimately let go by CNN.
In Reid’s case, she apologized last year for old blog posts in which she mocked then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist by repeatedly referring to him as “Miss Charlie.” She acknowledged the posts were “insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.”
In the new posts, Reid allegedly wrote gay celebrities like Anderson Cooper and Clay Aiken; defended homophobia by saying “most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing… Does that make me homophobic? Probably.” She also said that she did not want to watch Brokeback Mountain because of the gay sex scenes and other similar comments. I have not read the original posts. It is not the alleged homophobic content but the fact of the posts that is most intriguing. As shown by Brazile, lying to the media about such material is lethal (even if the media seemed a tad reluctant to pursue the denials or to confront the other party to the email — Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri on her failure to come forward to contradict Brazile in her denial).
Reid’s is quoted as saying initially that “In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog… to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology.” She also described her former blog as “compromised” by unspecified hackers. She also said that she had retained a cyber-security expert.
Reid is now “all in” on the denial and fabrication claim — as is The WayBackMachine. The rest should be easy to confirm or refute.
Or course, there is one individual, Mr. Peabody, who not only has the education but original machine for this particular task: