MSNBC Contributor Floats Debunked Conspiracy Theory on Joy Reid Blog Posts

Malcolm Nance / YouTube

MSNBC contributor Malcolm Nance hinted in a new interview that there was truth to the conspiracy theory that Joy Reid's offensive blog posts from the 2000s were the result of hacking.

"I am a former cryptologist from the National Security Agency," he told the New Yorker. "If there is anything that I personally can assure you as an American citizen, it's that there is nothing in this world that is digital that cannot be manipulated."

Nance, a frequent guest on Reid's weekend MSNBC program AM Joy, tweeted last year that WikiLeaks and the alt-right movement likely had something to do with the appearance of the highly controversial posts on Reid's old site.

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"Clearly there is a Discredit & Humiliate campaign afoot," Nance tweeted on April 28, 2018. "Apparently all progressives are secretly anti-gay bloggers. This has Wikileaks & AltRight written all over it. Expect more."

Isaac Chotiner, Nance's interviewer, noted that Reid had apologized for the posts. 

"I don't know," Nance said. "That's up to her—go ask her. But, you know what? That was Joy Reid and her past. We all have digital footprints back there, but me talking about the alt-right attacking her, that's real."

MSNBC did not reply to a request for comment.

Reid took responsibility and apologized in 2017 after reports of her past writings emerged. Made a decade earlier, the posts featured homophobic rumormongering, such as joking about the sexual orientation of Florida politician Charlie Crist. However, when even more stridently homophobic and Islamophobic posts came to light in 2018, she claimed an "external party" had "manipulated material from my now-defunct blog."

Multiple news outlets dug into Reid's claim and found no evidence to support it. Reid later admitted on the air she had no proof but continued to deny responsibility, saying she did not "believe" she wrote the offending posts.

More embarrassing posts trickled out, including ones in which she insulted John McCain and spread 9/11 conspiracy theories. Reid eventually apologized again and appeared to drop her hacking claims in a statement to the media. MSNBC stood by her throughout the embarrassing episode, and she was not publicly reprimanded.

In his work on MSNBC as a national security analyst, Nance frequently makes alarmist remarks, particularly about Russia. He has accused President Donald Trump of being a "witting asset" of Russia, and last year he said Russia had successfully brainwashed Americans to the point that they would "welcome an invasion." He wrote in his 2018 book The Plot to Destroy Democracy that most of what Trump says "was carefully planned to benefit the Russian Republic."

Nance told the New Yorker Trump is in some sort of debt to Russia, although "we don't know" exactly what it is.

Nance also told Reid in July that the 2020 election could be the last "free or fair election" in American history, and he tweeted in 2016 that some of the leaked John Podesta emails were "obvious forgeries."