A New York Times editorial board member, who was widely mocked for making a glaring math error while appearing on MSNBC last week, says the backlash was rooted in racism.
“A racist Twitter mob came for me over a trivial math mistake. I’m not going anywhere,” Mara Gay tweeted on Wednesday, the same day The Times published her op-ed responding to the controversy.
They can’t be this stupid but yet here we are. Wow, just freaking wow
— Tim ???? (@TimothyWinfrey) March 6, 2020
In the piece, entitled, “My People Have Been Through Worse Than a Twitter Mob,” Gay railed against the “right-wing trolls” who “celebrated” her “harmless, silly” error.
“When you’re a black woman in America with a public voice, a trivial math error can lead to a deluge of hate,” Gay declared.
She described the sympathetic remarks she received from a black colleague: “They resent that you exist.”
The Times’ ostensibly negative coverage of President Donald Trump also played a role, according to the former city hall reporter.
“It didn’t help that I write for a newspaper where my colleagues are assiduously working to hold a rogue president accountable every day,” she wrote.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it”
Following a Thursday night appearance on MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour With Brian Williams,” Gay became a viral sensation — for all the wrong reasons.
Gay and host Brian Williams discussed a since-deleted tweet which said billionaire former mayor Michael Bloomberg should have taken the $500 million he spent on his failed presidential bid and given $1 million to every American instead.
Williams and Gay endorsed the idea.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it,” Williams said, referencing the tweet.
“It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true,” Gay agreed.
Neither of the pundits caught the basic math error the original Twitter user had made— disbursing the half a billion dollars spent by Bloomberg would have resulted in each American getting about $1.50.
By Friday morning, Twitter users made Gay and Williams aware of their mistake, in sometimes ungentle fashion.
“Here is Brian Williams, a lead anchor at NBC News and Mara Gray, a NY Times Editorial Board Member not passing 3rd grade math. 49 Seconds of stunning TV,” tweeted one commenter.
According to Gay, several Twitter users directed racist remarks at her over the flub.
“Some people seemed surprised I couldn’t fact-check arithmetic on live TV,” Gay wrote in her piece for The Times, a somewhat puzzling assertion considering she’d clearly been aware of the tweet’s contents before going on Williams’ show.
Gay’s response did little to defuse the criticism being lobbed against her, and arguably made it worse.
Okay, that’s just funny. ?
— Alice Payan-Jones (@aliceJones1533) March 12, 2020
Correction: People who can do basic math mocked you. Then, as usual, you blamed "racism" like all liberals do.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) March 11, 2020
Other pointed out that Williams, an influential white man, had also been “widely ridiculed.”
- Mara Gay.: Screen grab