MSNBC anchor Brian Williams is facing criticism after making a simple math error on television Thursday night.
The former “NBC Nightly News” host and a guest, The New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay, were discussing a tweet posted Tuesday about former Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg’s campaign spending. The billionaire spent $500 million on advertising before dropping out of the 2020 race this week, money that some have argued could have been spent elsewhere.
“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 read, quoting a Twitter user’s post.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it,” Williams reacted.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true,” Gay said. “It’s disturbing.”
Williams and Gay did not accurately fact-check the math, however. $500 million divided evenly between 327 million people would be approximately $1.53 for each person.
“Brian Williams” became a trending topic on Twitter Thursday night and Friday morning as social media users reacted to the blunder.
MSNBC’s Brian Williams reads a tweet: "Bloomberg spent $500 million on ads. U.S. Population, 327 million. He could have given each American $1 million"
NYT Editorial Board Member Mara Gay: “It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true. It’s disturbing”
It's $1.53 per person pic.twitter.com/dIiwCESgh8
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 6, 2020