Rachel Maddow’s over-hyped program regarding two pages from Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return may have done far more for the president than anyone at MSNBC could have imagined.
It appears to have affirmed Trump’s repeated assertions that the media is out to smear him. That cannot possibly be what Maddow wanted.
Slate is calling it a “cynical self-defeating spectacle.” Maddow accomplished what was thought impossible: She made Trump a victim.
She’s getting publicity, alright, but hardly the kind that the cable network might enjoy. Boston Herald columnist Tom Shattuck wrote Wednesday morning, “The left built the ‘fake news’ template to explain away the 2016 presidential election and has repeatedly fit into it seamlessly.
“They don’t even notice anymore,” Shattuck continued. “The National Enquirer must envy the flim flam accusations the media has thrown at Trump.
“But they have nothing.”
Some might consider it less than nothing. Turns out that Trump earned $153 million that year and paid $36.5 million in taxes, approximately a 25 percent tax rate, which is a higher rate than ex-President Barack Obama reportedly paid in 2015.
Shattuck’s verbal pasting continued as he criticized left-leaning journalists of having once been proud professionals who are now “third-rate dumpster divers behind the H&R Block.”
The tax return, according to the Associated Press, was obtained by David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize winner. He appeared on Maddow’s show and explained that the documents showed up in the mail, unsolicited. Johnston also explained how taxes were paid at the time, and even speculated that Trump may have been the source.
The Trump tax documents are 12 years old. He was a private citizen at the time, engaging in big business where millions of dollars are constantly at risk. He apparently took the proper deductions and paid the proper tax. After all, $30-plus million translates to anybody’s “fair share” and then some.
What might have been a blockbuster hour turned into a big yawn. Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported, the president fired away on Twitter: “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’’ and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!”
Mediaite.com asserted in its headline that “Rachel Maddow Just Trolled Us All For Ratings.”
Back in the infancy of investigative journalism, a handful of journalists became known as “muckrakers.” The secret to their success was in reporting the muck rather than creating it.