Two days ago, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow stoked anticipation for her nightly broadcast with the announcement that her staff had acquired and would be reporting on “Trump tax returns.” Maddow later revealed that her show actually had a Trump tax return—the president’s 2005 1040 form—and then spent 24 minutes teasing its contents before revealing that 2005-era Donald Trump was a guy who made a lot of money and used some fairly standard government loopholes to pay fewer taxes than he probably should. The melodramatic build-up to the reveal, though, earned Maddow and company some Twitter-based outrage, a long-form bit of mockery from Stephen Colbert—and her highest ratings ever.
Deadline reports that 4.3 million people tuned into the Tuesday broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show, lured in by the imagined scent of a smoking gun that she and her crew were delicately wafting around. But Maddow fired back at disappointed critics in an interview with The Associated Press today, saying, “Because I have information about the President doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal. It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leaped to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”
Just for reminders, here’s the initial, hype-free tweet that the entire internet leaped to its totally baseless conclusions about; it took Maddow’s Twitter account 50 minutes to elaborate on the actual content of the returns:
Maddow’s broadcast was reportedly the second-highest-rated program in MSNBC history.