Rachel Maddow’s destruction of journalism in lusting after Trump’s tax information

It took Rachel Maddow 19 minutes… 19 MINUTES…to stop ranting, to stop asking questions she could not answer, to stop using words such as “if,” “may,” and “potentially” to finally get to the news she promised.

And she didn’t deliver.

Maddow has two pages of President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns.


Moreover, the information she was showing off was given to her by a journalist, whom she then interviewed. In other words, he basically used her to promote the website he operates and where more information can be gleaned.

Well done, David Cay Johnston. You knew Maddow would go bonkers over any paperwork associated with Trump and his tax returns.

In case you are wondering, Johnston admitted someone — and he doesn’t know who — mailed him the tax information a couple days ago.

Forget for a moment that Maddow blew a giant hole in the balloon she was flying when she tweeted this about 35 minutes before her show:

And once she showed off the two pages she had, there was nothing in what she discussed that could be considered groundbreaking, controversial, or in any way connected to the 19-minute diatribe she went on at the top of her program.

It was a straightforward two page 1040 form.

She admitted that those two pages “tells us something” but that the real details about the president’s tax returns are found in schedules and other specialized forms.

In short, Maddow did journalism a tremendous disservice on Tuesday night. She bloviated and then blew it.

Now, let me be clear: I absolutely agree with the many journalists and public-interest groups calling on the president to release his full tax returns from multiple years. In no way am I criticizing Maddow as a backdoor way of indicating any support for the president on this issue.

Rather, Maddow’s performance on Tuesday night was about you learning what really grinds her gears. It was about her trying to get under the skin of the president. It was about calling attention to self over calling attention to journalism.

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One Response to Rachel Maddow’s destruction of journalism in lusting after Trump’s tax information

  1. Pingback: The Columbia Journalism Review sizes up Rachel Maddow’s big (or not) night | START THINKING, STOP FEELING

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