Peter Hasson, DCNF
- MSNBC host Joy Reid blamed hackers for anti-gay statements on her old blog, The Reid Report
- Reid’s claim is undermined by the facts, her own public statements and an independent cyber security expert who spoke with us
- Reid previously admitted to writing anti-gay posts about former Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist
MSNBC host Joy Reid blamed hackers for placing homophobic remarks and jokes on her now-defunct blog between 2005 and 2007, but an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation and a cyber security expert raises serious doubts on the veracity of her claims.
On April 19, left-wing Twitter user @Jamie_Maz resurfaced archived posts of Reid’s old blog, The Reid Report, showing her accusing prominent political figures of being gay, saying she was repulsed by the thought of sex between two gay men, and describing herself as “probably” homophobic.
The posts were similar in substance to homophobic posts that Reid admitted to writing about former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Reid apologized to Crist on Dec. 3 for the “insensitive” posts that referred to Crist as “Miss Charlie” and accused him of being gay.
After Mediaite asked Reid about the most recent posts, the MSNBC host released a statement Monday indicating that unknown, anonymous hackers had fabricated the anti-gay posts.
NBC has not yet taken a position on the controversy.
Tuesday night, the network released to TheDCNF a Dec. 19 letter that Reid’s attorney sent to the Internet Archive — a nonprofit that maintains cached versions webpages — and a Dec. 22 letter to Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Both letters demanded the companies remove archived pages of her blog.
NBC also released an undated statement from Reid’s “security consultant,” Jonathan Nichols, who claimed the two letters contained “evidence” of hacking. Nichols’ statement and the two letters are included in full at the bottom of this article.
The letters pointed to several posts on Jan. 10 and 11, 2006, that they said were “fraudulent.” Online archives maintained by the Library of Congress and reviewed by TheDCNF show that the challenged entries were indeed posted on Reid’s blog on those two dates in January.
Two entries described Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch performing oral sex on current Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito at his confirmation hearing on Jan. 11, 2006.
The posts were included in Reid’s liveblog of the Alito hearings. Reid’s lawyer conceded that Reid authored the rest of the liveblog but claimed hackers inserted the two crude entries about Hatch.
For Reid’s account to have any merit, she would have had to have been hacked at the time that she was blogging, without her — or anyone else — noticing until this past December.
Cybersecurity expert Jason McNew, who spent 12 years working for the White House and Camp David under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was highly skeptical of Reid’s hacking claims in an interview with TheDCNF.
Furthermore, the posts that Reid’s lawyers claimed are “fraudulent” are not the same posts that Mediaite asked about and that she blamed on hackers.
“The actual facts of this might never come to light,” McNew said. “Why would you go through all that effort? It sounds like baloney to me. When data like this is archived, there might be other copies in Google database, or in Bing’s data base, there might be additional copies that would disprove what she’s saying.”
“I don’t think in terms of targeting [Reid] the juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze. Why would you go through such a thing?” said McNew.
Proving Reid’s case, McNew argued, would requiring digging up up over decade-old data and proving tampering took place — something neither Reid or her hired expert have done.
“Her claims are incredulous to say the least. Proving what she’s saying with any certainly would be extremely difficult,” McNew said. “People’s viewpoints have changed a lot [in the last 25 years].”
Further undercutting Reid’s claim is that on social media she repeatedly exhibited the same behavior — such as accusing her political opponents of being closet homosexuals — that she blamed on hackers.
Reid repeatedly claimed right-wing author Ann Coulter is secretly a man and derided her as a “drag queen.” In a July 23, 2010 tweet, Reid corrected a CNN reporter who referred to Coulter as “her.”
According to Reid, the reporter should have called Coulter “shim” — a combination of “she” and “him” — instead of referring to her as a woman.
That tweet came six weeks Reid mocked conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and Republican operative Karl Rove of being secretly gay. Reid referred to the two Republicans as “fat, grimey closet-cases” in the June 5, 2010, tweet.
Reid doubled down in another tweet that same day, describing Rush Limbaugh’s wife as his “beard,” implying Limbaugh married his wife to cover up the fact that he is, according to Reid, secretly gay.
Letter to Google 12.22.17 by Peter Hasson on Scribd
Letter to Internet Archive 12.19.17 by Peter Hasson on Scribd
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