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MSNBC Host Attributes Homophobic Blog Posts to Hacking, Internet Archive Responds

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-04-29 05:33:41

Joy Reid, an MSNBC host, apologized in December for "homophobic content" [] on a "now-defunct blog". This month, a Twitter user [] found similar material by using Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, although robots.txt [] is now in effect. This time around, Reid blamed hackers [] (archive []) for inserting these posts into the blog, before admitting that it could not be proven [] (archive []) that the blog had been hacked/manipulated:

Joy Reid, the MSNBC host who accused hackers of inserting homophobic posts into her now-defunct blog, said on Saturday that while she continued to deny having written the offensive language, security experts could not conclusively say her blog was breached. "I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things, because they are completely alien to me," she said on her morning show, "AM Joy." "But I can definitely understand, based on things I have tweeted and have written in the past, why some people don't believe me." She hired a cybersecurity expert to see if her former blog had been manipulated, she said, but "the reality is, they have not been able to prove it."

The posts containing the offensive language, which Mediaite wrote about on Monday [], said that "most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing" and that "a lot of heterosexuals, especially men, find the idea of homosexual sex to be ... well ... gross." They also allegedly showed Ms. Reid arguing against legalized gay marriage and criticizing commentators who supported it, including Rachel Maddow, who is now one of Ms. Reid's colleagues at MSNBC.

The Internet Archive responded to claims [] that its database might have been manipulated:

This past December, Reid's lawyers contacted us, asking to have archives of the blog ( 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 At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.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.

Also at CNN [].

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