Last night Rachel Maddow posted an attention-grabbing tweet ahead of her weeknightly 9pm slot on MSNBC.
BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
She then proceeded to make her entire show about the issue. Here’s a snippet.
Given how we had previously seen nothing of his tax returns up to this point, you’d think the media would be buzzing about this news? Wrong.
Rachel Maddow Lands a Scoop, Then Makes Viewers Wait – said the New York Times
Rachel Maddow Just Trolled Us All For Ratings – said Mediaite
Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle – said Slate.com
And that’s just the so-called “left-wing” media….the likes of Drudge, Fox News & Breitbart also had a field day with it, but you can check those links yourself if you want.
I have already pointed out that I’m not wild about Rachel Maddow’s overall style of presentation…but I will say this – it’s a definitive style from which she does not deviate. And if you put your prejudice aside and listen to what is being said, you will find she is making a relevant point way more often than not.
Were we meant to think that in having these tax returns she had a smoking gun that was guaranteed to bring down the President? Well all I can say is that if we did, then we’ve only ourselves to blame. Modern media is about grabbing your attention – I saw nothing in her original tweet that I haven’t seen in countless others from every outlet.
She had two pages of Trump’s returns from 2005, and she used here entire hour to explain in detail…
- what was in it,
- what WASN’T in it,
- why it’s important to speculate as to who leaked it,
- most crucially, why we should be concerned with the man’s tax returns in the first place.
On first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking we want to see his returns because we want to know if he paid his taxes. And funnily enough, on this particular year 2005, he seems to have done so. This is why I personally believe he leaked them himself.
But what Maddow does in her show is point out that there are many other important bits of information to be gleaned, and this can only be done by accessing ALL of his records, dating back as far as is humanly possible.
Does he owe anyone money who might be benefitting from his Presidency?
Does he really give as much money to charity as he claimed throughout the campaign?
How much does he stand to make personally if his proposed new tax plan takes effect?
The media should put petty jealousies aside and instead join Rachel in reminding the public as to the importance of asking such questions. Otherwise, when she does other good reporting, like she did last Friday suggesting Mike Pence has been lying about what he knows about Michael Flynn, she will be ignored.
Actor Wil Wheaton put it best on twitter…
.@Maddow always gives deep context on her way into a story. It’s called “journalism”, people.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) March 15, 2017
Hey – if we can listen to a reality-TV billion-heir, why not also listen to Wesley Crusher, right? JLP