MSNBC’s Joy Reid ridiculed for botched tweet on origins of 538 website

MSNBC host Joy Reid was widely ridiculed on Monday night for falsely claiming that Nate Silver’s data-driven website FiveThirtyEight was named after the margin of Florida votes during the 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. 

“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,” Reid tweeted when trying to make a point that the 2020 presidential election isn’t close enough to be challenged by President Trump. 

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But the MSNBC host was dead wrong about the origins of Silver’s website, which is extremely popular in the media industry. 

“This site is named after the number of electors in the Electoral College, a number which, since the passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961, has been fixed at 538,” Silver wrote in 2009. 

New York Post reporter Jon Levine noticed Reid’s misinformation and wrote, “This should be deeply embarrassing for MSNBC.” 

CNN media pundit Oliver Darcy, who rarely criticizes liberal news outlets, even called Reid out for being inaccurate. 

Many others mocked Reid on Twitter, too: 

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Reid issued a correction on Tuesday after she was criticized, roughly 13 hours after her initial tweet. 

“Correction: the Bush-Gore margin was 537 not 538 and of course 538 is the number of electors. My mistake. But the bottom line holds, that margins in the range Biden is leading by don’t get overturned by recounts,” Reid wrote. 

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