MSNBC's Brian Williams Roasted for Peddling Bad Math About Bloomberg's Ad Budget on TV

Viewers were appalled and perplexed by the on-air presence of a tweet with extremely awful Bloomberg budget math.


Image via Getty/Monica Schipper


In case you missed it, and hopefully you did, a tweet made the rounds earlier this week amid Mike Bloomberg's shenanigans in which someone attempted to make a point about spending hundreds of millions on ads when much of the nation still suffers under the oppressive force of poverty.

While the general point itself is wholly commendable and certainly emphasizes the tragic fuckery of America's obsession with capitalistic sabotage, the math in the tweet—particularly the assertion that Bloomberg could have used that exact ad budget to give everyone a million dollars instead—is wildly inaccurate.

Twitter figured this out with the usual quickness, with the person who posted the original "He could have given each American $1 million and still have money left over" proposition since adding into their bio a joking reference to the moment: "I know, I'm bad at math."

Buying a calculator, brb 🙈

— Mara Gay (@MaraGay) March 6, 2020

Amazingly, the tweet somehow still managed to make it onto a recent MSNBC segment. But instead of explaining to viewers why the tweet made no sense and was built on a premise of dubious math, host Brian Williams and New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay carried on a conversation about the premise as if they noticed nothing wrong with the numbers at all.

As the ensuing roasts started to stack up, the show's official Twitter account let loose a statement in which they conceded to falling for "bad math" while on the air. Mara Gay, meanwhile, joked that she was procuring a calculator.

Betsy Devos math?

— LeGate🤠 (@williamlegate) March 6, 2020

"We corrected the error after the next commercial break and have removed it from later editions of tonight's program," a network rep said. "We apologize for the error."

The roasts, however, have persisted:

the craziest part of this insane clip is when Brian Williams says "don't tell us if you're ahead of us on the math" and you think he's about to realize on air that it's wrong-- and he doesn't.

— Daniel Roberts (@readDanwrite) March 6, 2020

What I don't understand is how not one person involved in putting this segment together - building the graphic, talking about the tweet, etc. - said: "Hey, wait a minute! That makes no sense!"

— James Surowiecki (@JamesSurowiecki) March 6, 2020

I'll answer. Because the talking heads on cable news are not real journalists.

They're news A C T O R S.

Anytime you see something like this, remember Ron Burgundy reading 'Go fuck yourself, San Diego'. Zero critical thinking. lmao, cable news pundits are huge dummies.

— death rhymes with beth (@bourgeoisalien) March 6, 2020

I watched this live and could barely believe what I was seeing. Sometimes we libs are perfectly capable of owning ourselves. Seriously WTF.

— Gary Whitta (@garywhitta) March 6, 2020

I kept waiting for them to laugh and make fun of the person who tweeted that. They never did.....

— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) March 6, 2020

Anyway, we're all totally fucked. Stream Eternal Atake for the strength to carry on.

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