MSNBC host Joy Reid was under the impression the US’ major statistical analysis website, FiveThirtyEight, was named after the Bush/Gore voter margin in 2000, rather than the number of Electoral College electors.
Reid took to Twitter on Monday evening to deliver a truly hot take about something previously considered common knowledge in political punditry circles: “Here’s the thing: the reason [it’s] called FiveThirtyEight is because 538 was the margin in [Florida] when the Republican SCOTUS reversed the 2000 election during a recount, making [George W Bush] president.”
The liberal host had this eureka moment while making the case for Joe Biden’s recent victory against President Donald Trump being ‘irreversible’ by the Supreme Court.
Here’s the thing: the reason there’s a thing called @FiveThirtyEight is because 538 was the margin in FL when the Republican SCOTUS reversed the 2000 election during a recount, making Dubya the president. That’s the kind of margin where races can flip. That’s not what’s up now.
The website’s catchy name, however, does not stem from the number of ballots by which Bush won Florida, of course, but from the total number of US Electoral College electors. And Reid’s analysis was called into question even further, given that Gore actually lost the state by 537 votes and not 538.
Online commenters flooded Reid’s tweet with replies, baffled by the fact that an MSNBC host could make two such amateur mistakes in trying to make a historical comparison. Twitter users piled into correct her, calling into question her professionalism.
“You talk about this stuff for a living, how did you not know that?” asked one, befuddled.
“538” represents the number of electors in the electoral college. You talk about this stuff for a living, how did you not know that?!
What were you doing as a journalist in Southern Florida from 1997 to 2003 pic.twitter.com/duANBKkpae
That’s how many electoral college votes there are
538 is the number of votes in the electoral college.MSNBC hired this woman over Steve Kornacki for their 7pm time slot.
Others mocked Reed, parodying her tweet with similarly structured but silly analogies. One joker claimed the football team the San Francisco 49ers was “named for the 49 child climate activists that stormed [Senator] Diane Feinstein’s office a few years ago.”
“The reason there’s a lawn care company called Four Seasons is because of the four seasonings that can be grown at home: garlic, onion, pepper and salt,” chimed in another.
I didn’t know this about 538 but it makes total sense! Thank you Joy
and the 270 in 270towin is a reference to the 270 million eligible voters in the 2020 election!
People forget San Francisco 49ers are actually named for the 49 child climate activists that stormed Diane Feinstein’s office a few years ago
“The reason there’s a lawn care company called Four Seasons is because of the four seasonings that can be grown at home: garlic, onion, pepper and salt”
Some commenters, on the other hand, chose to overlook Reid’s mistakes, even generously claiming they were “enhancing” her argument about Biden winning the election.
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