One of the most sensational farces in the history of broadcast journalism took place when MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced on Twitter that she had the first two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 #Tax returns. The implication was that she had dirt on the president that might well bring him down, as he has studiously refused to release any returns. However, before air time, the White House scooped Maddow by revealing that in 2005 Trump had paid $38 million on $150 million in income, not to mention various other kinds of taxes. When Maddow went to air, she started with breathless and unsubstantiated speculation about Russian oligarchs and what not. Then only facts that she was able to give that #Donald Trump paid a lot of taxes on a lot of income.
The response to the farcical broadcast was divided into three parts.
- “Is that all there is?”
- “Wow. Trump really is rich and it looks like he pays his fair share of taxes.”
- “Somebody is in big legal trouble.”
On the last reaction, Maddow claimed that a journalist named David Cay Johnston had found the documents in his mailbox and brought them to the attention of MSNBC, Johnston is a Pulitzer Prize winner who specializes in economic and tax reporting. The story is critical because while it is a felony to reveal a person’s tax returns without his permission journalists are in a gray area due to legal precedence going back to the Pentagon Papers affair. No one knows who got the returns. Some believe it is an anti-Trumper somewhere in the IRS. Some, noting how the broadcast has blown up in #Rachel Maddow’s face, think it may be Trump himself.
Indeed, the great tax return revelation may go down in history as one of those instances of a news organization striking at the King and not only failing to kill him but making him look good. One of the many slams on Trump is that he is a bad businessman who is not as rich as he says he is, hence his reticence to reveal his tax returns. Another slam is that the businessman turned president used nefarious accounting to pay no taxes. The tax returns showed that Trump made a lot of money in 2005 and paid a lot of taxes. The only thing that it revealed was that maybe he paid too much taxes compared to people in similar situations.
The upshot is that Trump has triumphed again and Maddow, considered one of the more intelligent talking heads on the far left MSNBC network, looked incredibly foolish. The social media reaction was very merciless. And the media got something else to talk about besides the health care repeal and replaced mess. All in all it was a great night for POTUS.