TV commentator Joy Reid has finally come clean: Her blog’s supposed hack never happened. After being confronted with controversial posts—written a decade ago—she initially evaded, then denied, and eventually bold-faced lied to everyone, claiming she was victimized.
Currently employed by MSNBC and a self-identified liberal, the content seemed to be very out of character with the ideas she now professes. It ranged from anti-Gay, anti-Israel, anti-Immigration, 9/11 conspiracies, and even stooped so low as to compare Senator and war hero John McCain with a mass shooter.
When Joy originally started her blog, back in 2005, she wasn’t a household name, and had a lot less scrutiny. She could write opinions without worrying that it would turn off viewers or advertisers, since her platform was small. Understandably, as her reach grew, she became more sanitized, and eventually dropped blogging altogether in favor of other opportunities.
What she didn’t realize is that simply shutting down a website doesn’t erase it.
For those who aren’t aware, almost everything being written online is archived through Wayback Machine. It is possible, in theory, to opt-out by restricting certain material as private, but it is never guaranteed. In one famous case, the Scientologists were able to remove negative commentary about their group, but it took hiring a very aggressive lawyer to do it.
There are quite a few other bloggers, now well-known, that have reinvented themselves into totally different people who shy away from discussing their humble beginnings. One deal blogger, in particular, comes to my mind. Her original blog was fanatically religious, preaching that wives should always submit, husbands should always be the provider, homeschool was the only right way to educate, and family size should never be restricted artificially.
Fast-forward to today and that lady has a house husband, kids in public school, no plans for more pregnancies, and prides herself on being a mogul, totally devoted to her empire of products and the huge team that works for her. The majority of her fans have no idea how narrow-minded she used to be. If they did review the archives, it could seriously compromise her current earning ability, just like with Joy Reid.
As a blogger, I have to be careful about what I write. In the short term, because it could hurt or mislead someone today, and also in the long term, if I choose to grow my brand into other directions.
Just as we shouldn’t speak unkind or crazy things—especially in the heat of the moment—the written word should always be used cautiously. (I’m not advocating censorship, just common sense.) Over time, people can learn and grow, and who we are at age 20 isn’t who we are at age 40. I’m pretty settled in my own beliefs, but I am not infallible. If I found out I had taken the wrong position, I would definitely own it. But it would be outrageously fake for me to create a new persona that was opposed to everything I’ve blogged about as The Jewish Lady.
What’s inside Joy Reid’s heart is known only to her, but from outward appearance, it seems she is an opportunist, who cares more about cash than integrity. Her past eventually caught up with her, something most everyone will have to grapple with at some point. It’s better to admit to our mistakes, rather than create a laughable cover up.
Nobody is perfect; we’ve all done stupid and embarrassing things. Rather than pretending it never happened, just admit it and move on. If you’re fired because of it, that job wasn’t the right fit anyway.