Maddow sees huge ratings boost from Trump taxes teaser

Jay Jacobs
March 18, 2017

The MSNBC host found herself in the odd position Wednesday of defending herself from criticism following one of the biggest-ever scoops for her show.

Rachel Maddow's big reveal may be getting some mocking for the drawn-out tease, but a certain amount of savvy went into her Tuesday promise to reveal (some of) President Donald Trump's tax returns.

Maddow whipped up interest in the story with a tweet 90 minutes before her 9 p.m. EDT show.

It seems journalists were both inconsistent in how they treated Trump vs. Obama and lacked a basic understanding of how paying taxes works.

And as it turns out, the report didn't end up delivering much in terms of substance, showing some basics income and deductions for the year but critically not where the income came from. An equal number appear to be attacking her as well. This is not a woman who believes in cutting to the chase.

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"Because I have information about the president doesn't mean that it's necessarily a scandal", she insisted to AP two days later. "I definitely feel like, hey, if you're new, let me meet you where you are".

But some viewers were disappointed that the tax records - two pages from a 2005 return - were not more extensive.

While campaigning for president Trump said that if elected he would release his taxes, but once in office he backpedalled.

The president's Tuesday night complaint that Maddow must be "desperate for ratings" - and that the publication of the return was illegal - doesn't hold up.The publication of newsworthy material is not against the law; the president's tax returns, long denied to the public, certainly meet that test. "In journalism, it's called 'burying the lede, '" wrote Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, while Slate called the whole thing a "cynical, self-defeating spectacle".

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