Brian Williams, NYT’s Gay criticized over math flub: ‘Saddest clip in TV history’
MSNBC’s Brian Williams was mocked over math on social media after quoting a tweet claiming that former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg “could have given each American $1 million and still have money left over” during an interview with New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay.
The blowback comes two days after Bloomberg dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. The billionaire had a dismal Super Tuesday showing that registered no wins in any of the 14 Super Tuesday states — although he did capture some delegates in the U.S. territory of American Samoa — despite spending more than $500 million on the race after jumping in last November.
“Bloomberg spent $500 million on ads. The U.S. population is 327 million. He could have given each American $1 million and still have money left over, I feel like a $1 million check would be life-changing for people. Yet he wasted it all on ads and STILL LOST,” Williams said in quoting a tweet by journalist Mekita Rivas.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it,” Williams concluded.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true,” Gay added. “It’s disturbing.”
The U.S. population is currently 327 million people, which if evenly divided by $500 million comes to $1.53 per person.
The hashtag “BrianWilliams” quickly trended on Twitter Thursday night after the flub.
This is the saddest clip in TV history.pic.twitter.com/ruIFoAckom
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) March 6, 2020
One way to get rich is to keep asking Brian Williams to give you two tens for a five. https://t.co/wOncG9FckQ
— Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_) March 6, 2020
“enough to give each American a $1M check”
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) March 6, 2020
— AGORACOM – George (@AGORACOM) March 6, 2020
Williams apologized on the air after the segment out of a commercial break in self-deprecating fashion.
“While I have you both and our audience paying attention, turns out Mara and I got the same grades at math. I’m speaking of the tweet we both misinterpreted. He could give each American $1,” he said. “Again, I didn’t have it in high school. I don’t have it tonight. I stand corrected. Sorry about that. The tweet is wrong.”
Early Thursday, the official Twitter feed for “The 11th Hour” apologized for the error.
Tonight on the air we quoted a tweet that relied on bad math. We corrected the error after the next commercial break and have removed it from later editions of tonight’s program. We apologize for the error.
— 11th Hour (@11thHour) March 6, 2020