The sad thing about all of this is that Joy Reid could have made this all go away. Had she admitted immediately her bad judgment over old, mildly incendiary blog posts, she could have moved on and continued largely interrupted with her career. Instead, the widely respected presenter chose to come up with the least likely explanation for mouthing off online: that hackers decided to alter some of her decades old blogs for the purpose of...well..who knows?
This has unfortunately given right wing trolls vast amounts of ammunition to go after the African American presenter (a favorite hobby of theirs because black women have been oppressing them for decades). And the attacks are escalating as more blog posts are uncovered, making Reid's future at MSNBC all the more uncertain. Fox News's Alt Right crusader in chief Tucker Carlson has been hot on the case, no doubt overcome with joy that he can take out a minority reporter who spreads dangerous "multiculturalist" myths and dares to believe president Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election (via Politico):
Fox host Tucker Carlson aired a segment highlighting decade-old posts in which Reid expressed views on immigration that sounded straight from the “America First” playbook, including that “flying the Mexican flag on U.S. soil strikes me as incredibly presumptuous and insulting to the US.”
Carlson crowed, “It’s possible that Reid will claim those posts were written by a mysterious hacker, she’s claimed that before, the last time she got caught with embarrassing blog posts. Maybe she’ll blame the entire thing on Vladimir Putin himself or some nameless Macedonian agent.”
Coming from a nitwit like Carlson, it is particularly difficult to swallow, but he has a point. Reid and MSNBC have remained silent on this issue, ostensibly maintaining Reid's position that she did not write inflammatory posts on her blog and is a victim of a smear campaign. Reid has now accepted there is no evidence for this at all, making the claims even harder to take seriously. Reid did address the issue head on, making a heartfelt apology to people she has offended and admitting that she previously held views she now finds abhorrent. She did however claim that the posts seemed "alien" to her given the tone and style. (You can watch Reid lengthy statement here and decide for yourself):
Personally, I think Reid is being genuine here and really did find the posts bizarre to read 12 years or so after they were published. But then I've read some of my work from 7/8 years ago and felt like I was reading someone else -- a strange experience given I don't feel I've changed that much. When I look at my old writing, I see an immature voice, a lack of nuance, and if I'm being honest, a little bit of arrogance -- and I'm sure I'll feel the same way about what I'm writing today in 7 years time. People change over time, the learn, they grow and they take responsibility for their earlier immaturity.
As more posts are uncovered that show Reid's lack of judgment (one promoting a 9/11 conspiracy documentary for example), Reid's silence becomes ever more problematic. Unfortunately, I don't see how she addresses this now as the damage has already been done and her refusal to take ownership of the posts outright means a reversal would look even worse.
I like Joy Reid. I think she is whip smart reporter and has her heart in the right place. But she has let this scandal fester and metastasize because she refused to own up to her earlier transgressions. I genuinely hope she survives this silly scandal that should have never morphed into its current toxic incarnation and given vicious right wingers ammunition to destroy her. But as is almost always the case, the cover up was worse than the initial crime, and her credibility has taken a significant hit because of it.