NYT Celebrates MSNBC's Joy Reid, 'Hero of the Resistance,' Downplays Homophobic Posts

February 11th, 2018 8:55 AM

The front of today's New York Times Sunday Styles section features a profile of MSNBC host Joy Reid, “A Hero of the Resistance,”  by Laura Holson. The online headline’s subhead: “The daughter of immigrants, she spars fiercely with supporters of President Trump, both on the air and in the Twitter ether.” How original!

Holson opened with a flattering anecdote showing Reid giving a Trump defender the heave-ho on her show, to set up the flattery to come.

It was a classically no-nonsense performance from Ms. Reid, 49, who has hosted “AM Joy” weekend mornings on MSNBC since 2016. She is a frequent substitute for other show hosts, including Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow. She wrote a 2015 book on politics and race, “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide” -- “provocative and well-argued,” Kirkus Reviews said....

In the Trump era, Ms. Reid, the daughter of immigrants, has emerged as a heroine of the resistance to his leadership. And her forceful questioning style, matching that on conservative outlets like Fox, has resonated with MSNBC’s viewers....

Holson tentatively waded into Reid’s unhinged Twitter feed, while assuring readers that Reid didn’t mind.

Still she conceded that she shares a characteristic with the president: Some people criticize her for being too reactive on Twitter. She laughed when asked about it. “I probably tweet too much and tweet my sort of reactions to things sometimes too quickly,” she said. “And MSNBC agrees.”

But not to worry, everything’s alright now, as Holson let Reid spin her way out of the controversy.

In December, she was widely criticized for decades-old blog posts that mocked former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. In the mid-2000s, she wrote that he was a closeted gay man whose marriage to a woman gave him political cover. She apologized to him and others she may have disappointed. Mr. Crist accepted her apology, on -- where else -- Twitter.

“The irony is that I actually really like Charlie Crist,” Ms. Reid said. “He’s such a lovely guy.” But in today’s polarized political climate, everything is fodder for critics and opponents.

“People don’t just want to disagree with the people they disagree with,” Ms. Reid said. “They want to destroy them.”

Holson considerably underplayed the nasty voyeurism of Reid’s posts. A sample line: “Miss Charlie, Miss Charlie. Stop pretending, brother. It’s okay that you don’t go for the ladies.”

In the summer, Ms. Reid came across a quote from Octavia Butler, an American fiction writer whose novel “Parable of the Talents” explored religious intolerance. To sum it up, Ms. Butler warned people to choose their leaders carefully. Ms. Reid pinned the quote to her Twitter account as a reminder to call out hypocrisy when she sees it in the Trump era.

It's not the first instance the Times has jumped on the Joy bandwagon. In January 2017 Ana Marie Cox prodded Reid into gems like “Trump could make a very fine African or Middle Eastern dictator.”

Last month Holson took a starkly different, sinister approach to a similarly prominent conservative pundit, Dana Loesch. The online headline deck: “The National Rifle Association’s Telegenic Warrior -- How Dana Loesch, a onetime Democrat, became a Second Amendment spokeswoman too incendiary for some right-wingers to handle.”