NBC Quietly Circulates Statement From Joy Reid’s Cyber Security Expert Claiming Blog Was Hacked

After Mediaite‘s report yesterday on the supposedly “fabricated” homophobic posts published on Joy Ann Reid’s old blog, NBC failed to respond to multiple requests from Mediaite for evidence or even an explanation to back-up the MSNBC host’s hacking claim.

Mediaite first reported that a number of newly resurfaced posts from Reid’s former blog, The Reid Report, contained anti-gay content ranging from gay jokes to criticizing same-sex marriage, to justifying cringing “at the sight of two men kissing.” In response to the revelation, NBC provided a statement from the liberal pundit claiming an “external party” had “manipulated material from my now-defunct blog” in “an effort to taint my character with false information.”

In the statement to Mediaite, Reid also said she contacted a “cyber-security expert” and “notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach.”

However, a number of journalists raised questions regarding the legitimacy of Reid’s explanation, so for clarity, I asked NBC the following questions:

  • Would you consider providing us the specific posts that were reported to federal law enforcement as faked?
  • What was the date of the report to the feds?
  • What agency was contacted?
  • What follow up has the agency conducted?
  • I saw several widespread tweets from Reid’s fans alleging the posts were conducted by Russian tied entities. Do you think this is a possibility?

While the network was very responsive prior to the publishing of Mediaite ‘s report yesterday, NBC did not respond to any of these questions, nor did it respond to repeated requests to identify which of Reid’s posts were fabricated.

Then, late Tuesday night, Intercept editor Glenn Greenwald obtained a letter – apparently circulated by NBC – written by a security consultant named Jonathan Nichols that claimed to have found “evidence Joy Reid’s now-defunct blog, the Reid Report, was breached after a review of suspicious activity.”

NBC is now sending around an undated, extremely vague “report” from what it says is Joy Reid’s “security expert” – someone named Jonathan Nichols. Looks like it was written today in response to the controversy. Just for yourself if any evidence is here & if it’s convincing: pic.twitter.com/yq1XGcGE5B

– Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 25, 2018

That statement comes hours after The Wayback Machine, which is the Internet archiving service where the posts dated from 2003-2007 were discovered, released a statement this afternoon saying they “found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions.”

Buzzfeed’s Joe Bernstein called into question the account from the statement, as it somehow assumes that Reid’s blog posts were altered before the Wayback Machine took its contemporaneous screenshots:

Also, the Wayback Machine captured these posts at or near the time they were posted – over ten years ago. For this account to make sense, someone would have had to access Reid’s blog with Dark Web credentials, then travel back in time https://t.co/1QxuL94fvG

– Joe Bernstein (@Bernstein) April 25, 2018

Internet Archive officer manager Chris Butler also noted that Reid’s lawyers contacted the Wayback Machine in December to have her website’s archives taken down. This request, which was justified using the same hacking claim, came just after the AM Joy host apologized for writing numerous homophobic posts about Congressman Charlie Crist in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

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

The archives were ultimately wiped after a robots.txt – which is a standard that can allow site owners to ensure the Wayback Machine cannot archive their content – was “placed on the live blog.”

“That request was automatically recognized and processed by the Wayback Machine and the blog archives were excluded, unbeknownst to us (the process is fully automated),” Butler added.

Since the publishing of Mediaite ‘s report yesterday, additional homophobic and anti-transgender posts have been discovered from Reid’s blog that correlates with her old tweets. It also must be noted that Reid’s security consultant claimed that some of the blog posts circulating online suffer from “screenshot manipulation.”

The tweets, however, are still accessible.

One such example is a tweet on former GOP chair Ken Mehlman, which was posted after he publicly came-out, where Reid mockingly acts surprised that he is gay.

Who knew Ken Mehlman was gay (except everybody?) Jeez, next they’ll tell us Rick Martin is… wait a minute…!

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 26, 2010

At least two blog entries were published on The Reid Report suggesting he was gay years before he came out publicly if their publishing dates are correct.

Several years ago, Reid also went on a transphobic tweetstorm against Ann Coulter, in which she insulted the controversial conservative author by calling her a drag queen and “a dude”:

Sorry @Lawrence. I’m not gonna watch Ann Coulter. I like my drag queens fierce. Not a way to build ratings, my man.

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 18, 2011

RT @mediaite Elena Kagan and Ann Coulter Attacked For Physical Appearance http://www.mediaite.com/jabvs FM [k but really, Coulter is a dude]

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 12, 2010

A Muslim Miss USA? Rush Limbaugh and that Coulter dude’s heads to explode in three… two…

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 17, 2010

I’m sooooo tempted to crack on that Coulter dude right now… @lawrence #strainingforcivility

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 2, 2011

Incidentally, in another throwback Reid tweet that has recently regained new life on the Internet, the pundit warned about the damage the Wayback Machine could cause while joking about a Trump administration pick for National Security Adviser:

Nobody tell her about the wayback machine… https://t.co/iLoKNd9f1z

– Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) December 3, 2016

Maybe there really is an old tweet for everything.

[ images via screengrab]

Follow the author on Twitter (@calebecarma). Have a tip we should know? tips@mediaite.com

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