MSNBC’s Brian Williams went on air with New York Times Editorial Board Member Mara Gay and dedicated an entire news segment to a tweet from writer Mekita Rivas.
“Bloomberg spent $500 million on ads,” Rivas’ tweet says. “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 most people. Yet he wasted it all on ads and STILL LOST.”
If Bloomberg took $500 million and divided it among 327 million Americans, that would be $1.53 per person. $500 million would only give $1 million to 500 people.
Neither Williams nor Gay noticed this bad math on live television. Nor did the producer who gave them the tweet to discuss on air. No one in the studio that fed this erroneous tweet to the pundits realized that Rivas’ math was 100 percent bogus.
Rivas has since locked her Twitter account and protected her tweets, but updated her bio to say “I know, I’m bad at math.”
Rivas blamed Bloomberg for not being able to buy the American presidential election with his $500 million. But that is not a failing of the former New York City mayor, but a credit to the American people.
Mekita Rivas, Brian Williams, and Mara Gay have all been verified by Twitter, a blue check mark added to their names. As Twitter rolls out its new plans to protect the public against fake news, it intends to enable verified accounts to discern the difference from truth and fiction.