On March 5, 2020, Brian Williams of MSNBC was host to Mara Gay, a member of the “New York Times” editorial board. They were discussing Michael Bloomberg’s failed campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mr. Bloomberg had spent $500,000,000.00 of his own dollars, but it had done him no good. Here is a link:
Here is a transcript done by me, which transcript I think is fairly accurate. “Close enough for government work,” as the saying goes, although this is not government work. (My comments are in brackets.)
Ms. Gay: Somebody tweeted recently that actually with the money he spent, he could have given every American a million dollars.
Mr. Williams: I’ve got it.
Ms. Gay: Yeah. [Smiling at all this.]
Mr. Williams: Let’s put it up on the screen. [The tweet was put up on the screen.] When I read it tonight on social media, it kind of all became clear. Bloomberg spent 500 million on ads, U.S. population 327 million. Don’t tell us if you’re ahead of us on the math. [This comment was to the television audience.] He could have given each American one million dollars, and have had lunch money left over. It’s an incredible way of putting it.
Ms. Gay: It’s an incredible way of putting it. It’s true; it’s disturbing. It does, it does suggest, you know, what we’re talking about here. There’s too much money in politics.
All right, back to moi. I sure wish Mr. Bloomberg had sent me a check for $1,000,000.00. I wouldn’t have voted for him, but I would have sent him a grateful thank you note.
Alas, the math was just slightly off. If Mr. Bloomberg had divided that $500,000,000.00 he spent on ads, among 327 million Americans, each one of us would have got a check for $1.53. Which is approximately $999,998.47 less than a million dollars. They were off by a factor of 653,594 times.
Think about it. Two of the top guns of Mainstream Media agreed on the math, and how true and incredibly thought-provoking this information was. The situation is worse than that, however. Someone has pointed out, correctly, that MSNBC has plenty of people behind the cameras, making sure that the show unfolds smoothly. Among all these people, no one could do the math and prevent this off-the-charts nonsense?
My favorite line is Mr. Williams’ “Don’t tell us if you’re ahead of us on the math.” I love the false humility–“Ah, the good old television audience will have figured this out before us simple media types.” My second favorite line is “It’s true; it’s disturbing.”
You will be encouraged to learn that pretty quickly the error was discovered. Mr. Williams and Ms. Gay admitted their error, although apparently not until the television segment was well over. Ms. Gay, interestingly, called it a “trivial” math error. I guess–off by $999,998.47, and by a factor of 653,594 times–is pretty trivial, unless it’s not. I vote for not. It wasn’t a very humble step-down by Ms. Gay. But what did we expect–that someone writing for the “New York Times” could make a serious rather than a trivial error?
There is a lot to think about here. These were not two interns hurried onto the set because everyone else in the studio was dead or dying. This was the famous Mr. Brian Williams. He has a net worth of about $50,000,000.00. (Hey, he could give a million dollars to at least 50 million Americans, if not to all of us. Sorry; I couldn’t resist.) He earns $10,000,000.00 a year.
We don’t know the salary of Ms. Gay, but according to glassdoor.com the average salary for a “New York Times” editor is $115,684.00. She’s doing all right, financially. Moreover, someone on the editorial board of the “Times” is near the top of the food chain of U.S. Mainstream Media. You and I could not be hired as janitor at the “Times.” She has vast influence as a journalist, and is interviewed on television.
Yet these wealthy and influential people gave us this nonsense. How can this happen?
I don’t know. And happily, reality did catch up to them.
What I think is at play here, and this is simply my theory, is that most Mainstream Media types have a very tenuous grasp of economic reality. They hate financial reality. Even more fundamentally, they hate reality itself. Deeper yet, they hate reality because they hate God. God demands certain things of us, and they don’t want to do those things. So such people are instinctively looking for a way to create a different reality than the one God gives us.
In biblical reality, we get money by working for it. And unless we are very productive, we may not earn a lot. We have to live in that reality. It is not unfair, but it can mean that we are not rich, and in fact that we are barely getting by and not able to save much. That is reality. And if someone tells us they are going to make us well-to-do by giving us tax money taken from our neighbors, we need to begin to smell a rat, and understand that we are being enticed away from God’s challenging reality.
It is not just the obviously left-wing types who hate reality. The supposedly conservative Republicans are usually giving us taxpayer money as well. We can expect more of the same until the whole rotten system goes kaplooey. We have fiat money, not money soundly based on gold. We are going to be stolen from until we become honest people ourselves, and refuse to try to get into our neighbor’s pocketbook. Will that day ever happen?
We Christians give God 2.5% instead of the 10% he requires. We insist on Medicare, Social Security, and public education for our children. Are we ready for honest financial thinking? You tell me.
So Brian Williams and Mara Gay, as ridiculous as they permitted themselves to be, are really only symptoms. They are not the cause of our problem.
Three final points on that brief television episode.
1/We are in a war for Christian civilization. When we see something like Brian Williams and Mara Gay on the TV screen, doing math that any competent fourth grader would be ashamed to hand in, enjoy it! It may be battlefield humor, but we should take what entertainment we can from these silly people.
2/Don’t envy these silly people. For all their wealth and influence, these are failed human beings. It is a reminder of the biblical teaching that ‘”the last shall be first, and the first last.”‘ (Matthew 20:16) Mr. Williams and Ms. Gay are first now, but they are going to be last. If you are earning an honest but minuscule living, and are trying to obey God and trying to learn how economic reality is put together, then you may seem to be last because you are poor, but really you will be first. You are really first already. (Henry Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson and Gary North’s Honest Money are good places to start to learn about financial reality. Also the book of Proverbs.)
Think about your situation as opposed to that of Mr. Williams and Ms. Gay. If you could have their combined net worth of $50,000,000.00+, tax free, but as a condition you had to be as left-wing and intellectually empty as these silly people, would you make that trade? Of course you wouldn’t. These people are rich, famous, and influential, but they are last. Don’t envy them.
3/We are told to pray for our enemies, Matthew 5:43-48. To me that makes sense. Herewith a brief prayer for Mr. Williams and Ms. Gay. “God, please convert these people to an honest, Christian way of thinking, hopefully on this side of the grave, but on the other side of the grave if necessary. But please confound their ignorant and foolish attempts to end Christian civilization. Cause them and us to think and live more honestly.”
I cheerfully pray for my enemies and for the enemies of Christian civilization, but if I am asked to refrain from laughing at $500,000,000.00 divided by 327,000,000 equals $1,000,000.00 dollars per person, that is a bridge too far for me. I am going to go on having a snarky attitude toward such people, at least until my million dollar check arrives.