BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
Maybe somebody somewhere took Rachel Maddow seriously before her Trump tax return debacle, but not now. Even Slate is calling the farce “a cynical, self-defeating spectacle”:
At 7:36 p.m. Tuesday, Rachel Maddow tweeted, “BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously),” sending the internet into a frenzy of theorizing. Did Maddow have Donald Trump’s tax returns or just one of the Trumps’ tax returns? Could this be it, the tax return that would bring down the Donald? If this was it, why wasn’t MSNBC cutting into its programming, instead of running a countdown clock to Maddow’s show? By 8:24, Maddow was tweeting that the tax return in question was Donald Trump’s 1040 from 2005. By 8:30, still half an hour before Maddow started airing, the White House had responded to the MSNBC report, saying that Trump had paid $38 million on income of $150 million that year. An hour later, about 20 minutes after The Rachel Maddow Show started, Maddow would confirm these numbers, turning her big scoop about Donald Trump’s long-missing tax returns into a cautionary tale about overhype. Rachel Maddow, you played yourself—and us too.
Speculation is high that Trump himself released the document, since it makes him look great, despite Madcow’s comically prolonged attempt to weave it into her murky conspiracy theories. This episode also confirms that the media is so unhinged by its hostility that it cannot be trusted in matters pertaining to Trump.
If Madcow is not both a ratings whore and an idiot, the only other explanation for this debacle is that she defected to Trump’s side and staged this clownish spectacle because it was the best way she could help him.
Wait, there is one other explanation — Rachel’s own:
Maddow claims that she never oversold the story and it’s the viewers’ fault if they read more into her tweet, promotion and countdown clock [than] they should have.
“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”
Again we see that honesty is external to anything Madcow barks.
She had better enjoy her little ratings bump, because she is unlikely to see another one, even if next time she really does have a scoop.
On tips from Bodhisattva and TCS III.