[Note: Depending on your Pun Salad reading habits, you may have already seen something about this in a book post.]
When Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the race for president, we all had a good laugh when MSNBC airhead Brian Williams and New York Times Editorial Board airhead Mara Gay promoted a tweet they found especially profound:
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"— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 6, 2020
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
Approximately 5.6 million right-wing bloggers, including yours truly, pounced on the stunning mathematical illiteracy. And we were not averse to finding Deeper Meaning in the fact that the illiteracy was exhibited by people generally in favor of governments spending lots of money they don't have. A good example was Charles C. W. Cooke at National Review, who found it …
… extremely telling. This, right here, is why so many left-leaning Americans think that “the billionaires” can pay for everything. It’s why Elizabeth Warren was enthusiastically boosted by the media despite her ridiculous pretense that she could pay for a series of gargantuan initiatives without raising taxes on anyone but the extremely rich. It’s why Democrat after Democrat promises not to raise “middle class taxes” while promising programs that require the raising of middle class taxes. How did this bad tweet make it onto TV to be endorsed? Why did Mara Gay agree with it? Why didn’t Brian Williams notice? Because the people involved in this clip thought it was true. This is how they see the world.
… and then we went into Covid-19 24-7 social distancing. Which caused me to power through the library books I had out, including Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World, by Matt Parker, Amazon link at right. Which noted a meme from "our side" from back in 2015, criticizing the $360 million spent on the Obamacare rollout. And here 'tis:
Not only that, but this spawned a raucous, hilarious, debate on Facebook and Reddit. Details at Daily Mail from that era.
Now, there are differences. The 2015 meme was from some anonymous Facebook guy, not respectable TV talking heads. It might have been Russians, for all I know. Or it could have been some progressive troll trying to lampoon right-wing stupidity: what better way to do that than to pretend we don't know how to divide?
Still, I'm glad we're now a lot better at catching silly fake news…