Joy Reid Claims Old Homophobic Posts From Her Now-Defunct Blog Were Manipulated

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC host Joy Reid is claiming posts from her now-defunct personal blog expressing anti-gay sentiments were manipulated.

Reid apologized in December for writing homophobic content about former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist on her personal blog, The Reid Report, roughly a decade ago.

In the posts, Reid referred to the former governor as “Miss Charlie,” and wrote that if he ever got to the White House as John McCain’s vp, he would be working on “designing pretty napkin patterns at state funerals,” and spend his honeymoon “oogling male waiters.”

In her December apology, Reid insisted that she has gay friends (“The LGBT community includes people whom I deeply love”) and that her writings were “insensitive, tone deaf and dumb.”

But the controversy is back front and center, and she’s claiming newly-found homophobic posts from her blog were not written by her.

Reid recently told Mediate that some some newly revealed posts from the 2007-2009 time period where she criticizes men who kiss one another were fabricated.

The MSNBC host has brought the matter to the attention of law enforcement, and issued the following statement on Monday:

 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. I hope that whoever corrupted the site recognizes the pain they have caused, not just to me, but to my family and communities that I care deeply about: LGBTQ, immigrants, people of color and other marginalized groups.

But the Internet Archive, which runs the Wayback Machine site which took screen shots of the most recent posts, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday it could find no evidence to back up this claim of hacking and manipulation. Reid’s lawyers had contacted the site last December asking to have the “fradulent” posts taken down.

This past December, Reid’s lawyers contacted us, asking to have archives of the blog (blog.reidreport.com) taken down, stating that “fraudulent” posts were “inserted into legitimate content” in our archives of the blog. Her attorneys stated that they didn’t know if the alleged insertion happened on the original site or with our archives (the point at which the manipulation is to have occurred, according to Reid, is still unclear to us).

When we reviewed the archives, we found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions. At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.

We let Reid’s lawyers know that the information provided was not sufficient for us to verify claims of manipulation. Consequently, and due to Reid’s being a journalist (a very high-profile one, at that) and the journalistic nature of the blog archives, we declined to take down the archives. We were clear that we would welcome and consider any further information that they could provide us to support their claims.

“We let Reid’s lawyers know that the information provided was not sufficient for us to verify claims of manipulation,” it added.

Jonathan Nichols, the cyber-security expert Reid mentions in her Monday statement, provided the following statement on Tuesday:

Five months ago, we found evidence Joy Reid’s now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, was breached after a review of suspicious activity.

We discovered that login information used to access the blog was available on the Dark Web and that fraudulent entries – featuring offensive statements – were entered with suspicious formatting and time stamps. The posts included hate speech targeting marginalized communities and Ms. Reid has been explicit in condemning them.

Some of the posts in question were made while Ms. Reid was on the radio hosting her show. Text and visual styling was inconsistent with her original entries.

In December, shortly after the review, Ms. Reid’s attorney wroteto a rch ive.org and Blogger.com to advise them that the blog had been compromised, and that the pages appearing in the Wayback Machine archive
included fraudulent posts.

The letters detail the evidence that many of the blog posts were mad e up, including the times posted (times when Ms. Reid hosted her radio show), unusualstructure and anomalies within the posts and ghosting around images.

We also asked Blogger.com for forensic data such as time stamps, IP addresses ,and User-Agent data which would help us to learn more about the posts andwhere the fraudulent poster might be located. Blogger.com told us the data was not available.

At no time has Ms. Reid claimed that the Wayback Machine was hacked, though early in our investigation, we were made aware of a breachat archive.org which may have correlated with the fraudulent blog posts we
observed on their website. We simply wanted to ascertain whether that breach was related to the compromising of Ms. Reid’s blog.

Once our team  determined that the two intrusions were unrelated, we merelyatt empted to have the fraudulent posts removed from archive.org. They refused this request.

However, we have significant evidence indicating that not only was Ms. Reid’s old blog compromised, some of the recently circulated posts were not even onthe site at any time, suggesting that these instances may be the result of screenshot manipulation with the intent to tarnish Ms. Reid’s character. Oddly, there were no responses in the comments section of the entries, despite the inflammatory nature of the posts. If those posts were real, they would have undoubtedly elicited responses from Ms. Reid’s base. There was also no contemporaneous verification or memory from Ms. Reid’s peers or individuals she regularly debated online.

As a result we are continuing our own investigation and cooperating with federal law enforcement in their attempt to identify the source of this activity.
Respectfully,
Jonathan Nichols
Independent Security Consultant

Someone is lying here.

MSNBC is letting the process play itself out, but Reid is already feeling averse effects to this news. Prominent LGBT advocacy group PFLAG National has decided not to give Reid its Straight for Equality in Media award.

We have rescinded our Straight for Equality in Media award honors to @JoyAnnReid. Our statement here: https://t.co/jBLXiZqCyJ

— PFLAG National (@PFLAG) April 24, 2018

 

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