Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 8:30am

On Rachel Maddow & those Trump tax returns.

Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show

Image via MSNBC.

There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on regarding Rachel Maddow’s big scoop on Trump’s tax returns last night, so of course, I have a take of my own. Here it is: The hell else were you expecting, Twitter?

If/when someone gets their hot little hands on Trump’s tax returns and there turns out to be something in there, the news stations and websites will burn the hell down breaking that story. Media organizations will light up with the fiery heat of a thousand suns and your smartphone/computer will shoot literal fireworks out of its ports. There will be an angelic chorus and a golden halo of light. Democrats across the country will have spontaneous, screaming orgasms.

What I’m saying here is that this news won’t be announced by a couple of cute little tweets and a countdown timer on Chris Hayes’ show.

I’m seeing today – and saw last night – a whole lot of “Rachel buried the lede” and “Rachel’s dragging this out” and whatnot.

First off, gal has an hour to fill. Of course it was padded. Secondly, have you never watched Rachel Maddow before? Yes she spent twenty minutes beating you to death with context. That’s how she reports. That’s how she’s always reported. That’s because context is important. It’s particularly important in an instance like this, where the hype probably brought in a ton of viewers who haven’t been watching what Maddow’s been up to for the last few weeks, or who haven’t been paying the closest attention to all the latest Trump news.

Here’s a few things you need to know:

  1. Most people don’t live and breathe the news. They sit and watch the news – usually their local news – maybe once a day. They might glance through the paper in the morning or in the evening. They might see a couple of inaccurate, sensationalized things float by on Facebook. They aren’t paying anywhere near the kind of obsessive attention that, for example, I am.
  2. The news is a business. In order to produce the news, they have to sell advertising space and then get people to come look at it. If they don’t do that, we don’t get any news. So of course they hyped this up. They’ve got bills to pay. Stop being mad at the news for doing what it has to do to survive.
  3. When – if – Trump gets busted for anything, it will not come in a neat hour-long package that ends with live footage of Trump being arrested and perp-walked out of the White House. First remember that Bush II and his administration were actual war criminals and not a damn thing ever happened to them, and Bush II got eight years. Second, if Trump ever gets busted for something and kicked out of the White House, it’ll come after a years-long hard slog through mud and boring, appalling BS while reporters break little story after big story after little story and the FBI and DoJ dig and dig quietly through their investigations. This fight is long term, folks. We’re here for the duration.

Now, a few things we learned last night:

  1. Just prior to Maddow’s show, the White House released some minor Trump 2005 tax return information. This was a panic release, done probably because they’re terrified of what folks may have gotten their hands on. It’s reasonable at this point to assume that there definitely is something in those tax returns no one wants us to see.
  2. Trump and his people have been very clear that they aren’t ever releasing any tax information, and yet they did, and quickly. Trump and his people have been very clear that they cannot release any information, because of “the audit.” We already knew that was BS, but now we can completely dispense with that fiction because the Trump White House just went back on everything its said regarding Trump’s taxes.
  3. Thanks to Maddow’s little scoop, we now know that part of Trump’s much-vaunted tax plan will directly benefit him.

Settle in and get comfortable, folks. We’re going to be here for awhile.

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