MSNBC is no stranger to controversy. Nevertheless, the decision to mark the end of Pride Month by promoting a former homophobic blogger was unusually transgressive even for the middling left-wing network.
The network's 7:00 p.m. weekday slot—once occupied by Chris Matthews, who resigned suddenly in March amid allegations of creepy misogynist behavior—was awarded to Joy Reid, the current host of AM Joy on MSNBC. Reid refused to resign amid allegations that she authored a series of homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and pro-Trump posts on her old blog, "The Reid Report."
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Reid's response to the revelation of the controversial blog posts was so absurd that even CNN's Brian Stelter declined to defend the MSNBC host. After initially apologizing after the posts were uncovered by a random Twitter user in December 2017, Reid reversed course months later in response to a Mediaite report, insisting that her blog had been retroactively hacked.
"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," Reid told Mediaite in April 2018, citing the assessment of a "cyber-security expert." Reid's attorney later alleged that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into the matter.
Reid's hacking allegations were roundly dismissed as ridiculous. CNN political commentator Maria Cardona compared Reid to disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner (D., N.Y.), who claimed his Facebook was hacked after he accidentally posted a crotch-involved sext on his Twitter account. Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik said "it's the kind of thing you make up when you're really desperate."
Several weeks later, Reid reversed course again by "sincerely apologizing" for writing on her blog "things that I deeply regret and am embarrassed by." MSNBC also released a statement accepting Reid's apology and acknowledging that "some of the things written by Joy on her old blog are obviously hateful and hurtful." Neither Reid nor the network mentioned the alleged investigation into her hacking claims.
The blog posts included an image with the late senator John McCain's (R., Ariz.) head photoshopped on the body of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooter, jokes about McCain having sex with "Miss Charlie" aka former governor Charlie Crist (R., Fla.), conspiracy theories about the true perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, an endorsement of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's proposal to relocate Israeli Jews to Europe, and emphatic support for the "kick-ass funny" Donald Trump in his ongoing feud with "chubbed-out shrew" Rosie O'Donnell.
The blatant homophobia expressed in Reid's posts, including a sympathetic response to former NBA guard Tim Hardaway's "hate" for gay people, prompted a gay rights advocacy group to rescind the "Straight for Equality in Media" award previously given to Reid.
Former colleagues at a Florida radio station said the anti-gay sentiment expressed on the blog was in keeping with Reid's personality. They described Reid as an "evil woman" who made homophobic remarks, threatened violence against coworkers, and fostered "a very unhealthy work environment because of her attitude."
Since joining MSNBC in 2014, Reid has continued to make outrageous statements, albeit within the bounds of prevailing elite sentiment. She compared Trump's election to Adolf Hitler's rise to power, accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) of wanting to bankrupt the country in the name of white nationalism, suggested Attorney General William Barr played a role in billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's death, and described Robert Mueller's investigation in Russian meddling as a "cover up."
MSNBC's decision to elevate Reid, who has demonstrated a remarkable knack for sloppy journalism and factual inaccuracy, is a blow to several of her scandal-plagued colleagues who may have been hoping to take over for Matthews, who, in addition to being a misogynist creep, was also fond of comparing Trump to Hitler.
Former fat preacher and anti-Semitic activist Al Sharpton, for example, was presumably eager to return to a weekday time slot after being relegated to the weekend since 2015. Brian Williams, who was briefly suspended for repeatedly fabricating stories about reporting in war zones, might also have been eyeing an earlier time slot after being relegated to 11:00 p.m. since his reinstatement.
Reid, Sharpton, and Williams are proud members of the Washington Free Beacon‘s MSNBC All-Decade Team. Congrats!
Ladies and Gentlemen, we present to you the MSNBC All-Decade Team!
— Free Beacon (@FreeBeacon) June 13, 2020