MSNBC Segment Claims Bloomberg Could Have Given Every American $1 Million — But The Math Is All Wrong

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Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay claimed Thursday that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg could have given every American $1 million.

Gay, who appeared on MSNBC’s “11th Hour” with Brian Williams, cited a tweet that she had seen earlier and said that, instead of spending $500 million on his failed presidential bid, the billionaire could have given each of the 327 million people in America $1 million. (RELATED: MSNBC’s Brian Williams Tries To Discredit Attorney General, Renames Him ‘Baghdad Bill Barr’)

The problem, which neither Gay nor Williams caught initially, is that $500 million is only enough to give $1 million each to 500 people. The total amount necessary to give $1 million each to 327 million people is actually $327 trillion dollars — and Bloomberg’s net worth is estimated to be $58.3 billion.

People were quick to notice the error.

Gay appeared to take the backlash in stride, offering a mea culpa of sorts on Twitter. “Buying a calculator, brb,” she tweeted.

The author of the cited tweet, Mekita Rivas, protected her Twitter account — but not before changing her bio to read “I know, I’m bad at math.”

Williams made an on-air correction later in the show, saying, “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. 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.”