In a low ball effort to drum up ratings for the fledgling MSNBC cable news channel, Rachel Maddow tweeted Tuesday that she would reveal President Donald Trump‘s tax returns at 9ET that night. The tweet itself garnered more than 80k retweets, and left “Rachel Maddow” and “Trump’s Tax Returns” trending on Twitter. While her big reveal no doubt drew more eyes to her program that evening, the reaction was somewhat flat, as all Maddow seemed to accomplish was build hype for a big flop.
BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
Not only were Trump’s tax returns only from a single year, and also from over a decade ago, in 2005, but they proved a common liberal claim, that Trump didn’t pay any taxes, flat out wrong.
According to the tax documents, in 2005 Donald Trump paid $38 million in taxes while earning more than $150 million. These numbers are certainly large, but given that Maddow herself has a salary of roughly $7 million, Trump’s leaked tax returns prove that he paid more in taxes that Maddow earned in an entire year. While watching the show one can almost hear the crickets chirping in the background. Even more astounding is that Trump paid a larger share of his income in taxes than Mitt Romney (14.1%) and even Bernie Sanders (13.5%)!
What’s more is that not only did Maddow prove that her own Twitter account is more “click bait” than “news”, but she did damage to her own reputation with other journalists and fellow Democrats. Clinton campaign Press Secretary Brian Fallon initially tweeted out that Rachel’s dump would be a “holy grail” of leaks. However, following the disappointing reporting, tweeted simply –
Dems should return focus to Trumpcare tomorrow & the millions it will leave uninsured, not get distracted by two pages from ’05 tax return
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) March 15, 2017
What’s more is that Maddow may have committed a felony. The law on Unauthorized Disclosure of Information could land Maddow and/or other MSNBC employees in jail –
“It shall be unlawful for any person to whom any return or return information (as defined in section 6103(b)) is disclosed in a manner unauthorized by this title thereafter willfully to print or publish in any manner not provided by law any such return or return information. Any violation of this paragraph shall be a felony punishable by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.”
While it is doubtful that Maddow herself would ever be prosecuted, her shabby reporting, use of Twitter to drum up support for a big flop, and disregard for the law, will cost her even more credibility in the eyes of average Americans. However, considering that MSNBC’s ratings are so low, average Americans have already lost faith in her reporting.