Headlong pursuit of the nothingburger!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15, 2017

Donald Trump triumphs again:
Inevitably, last evening's stampede began with Rachel Maddow selling the car—and doing so in a misleading fashion.

At 7:36, then at 8:24, Maddow issued misleading tweets. "BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns," she said in her first exciting tweet.

"(Seriously)," she added.

In her second tweet, Maddow seemed to clarify matters a bit. "What we've got is from 2005—the President's 1040 form—details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC."

That was misleading too. Maddow didn't have Donald J. Trump's full 1040 form. She only had its cover sheet. This provided very limited information concerning Trump's 2005 return. It didn't include many "details."

Whatever! Maddow's tweets touched off a stampede among two growing demographics—the highly gullible and the easily excited. The exciting discussion of Trump's 1040 was scheduled to start at 9 PM. Viewers scrambled to get in position. Across the cable dial, all other topics would soon be dropped in favor of a big plate of nothingburger.

The cover sheet had been obtained by David Cay Johnston, an experienced economics reporter who generally knows what he's talking about. How had Johnston obtained the sheet?

Eventually, Johnston would get a chance to explain. First, though, Maddow went through one of her endless song-and-dance routines. She burned 19 minutes off the start of the show with a remarkably tedious "background" discussion.

At New York magazine, Margaret Hartmann referred to this as Maddow's "interminable wind-up." In truth, it gave Maddow a chance to engage in her second favorite pastime—listening to herself talk.

Maddow listened to herself for those 19 minutes. After a commercial break, she finally began to describe the contents of the document she'd been pimping so hard, such as it was.

After misdescribing the document one last time, she finally offered the first tiny bits of information at 9:22 PM. According to Maddow, Trump "paid $38 million, looks like $38 million in taxes" in 2005. "If you add up the lines for income, he made more than $150 million in that year," she also thoughtfully said.

And that was it; basically, that was all she had! Twenty-six minutes into her hour, she finally let Johnston speak—and in their very first exchange, the gent delivered a buzzkill:
MADDOW (3/14/17): Joining us is David Cay Johnston. He's editor and founder of dcreport.org, which has posted this document as of a few moments ago. He's also the author of The Making of Donald Trump and the Pulitzer Prize-winning financial reporter who found the president's 2005 returns in his mailbox. David, thank you for being here.

JOHNSTON: Delighted.

MADDOW: First of all, congratulations on this scoop. What can you tell us about how, how you got these pages? How you got this document?

JOHNSTON: Came in the mail over the transom. And there is absolutely nothing improper about journalists, if you haven't solicited something, getting it over the transom.

And by the way, let me point out, it's entirely possible that Donald sent this to me. Donald Trump has over the years leaked all sorts of things. The very sleazy girl-on-girl pictures of the first lady in the New York Post may have come from Donald. The front pages of the state tax returns that we had, that were sent to the New York Times and the New York Daily News last fall, may have come from Donald.

Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it's in his interests.
Say what? Sleazy pictures to the side, why might it have been in Donald Trump's interest to leak this nothingburger?

Sadly, the answer was fairly clear:

Duh. The cover sheet showed Trump earning a lot of money in 2005—and paying a lot of taxes. Maddow had been excitedly pimping a document which seemed to knock down several unflattering claims about Trump—the claim that he maybe isn't real rich, and the claim that he doesn't pay federal taxes.

(By this morning, MSNBC was airing a graphic which showed that Trump had paid a higher percentage in taxes as compared to Mitt Romney—and as compared to Barack Obama!)

The White House also got to swing into action claiming that the form had been stolen. On Fox, Tucker Carlson—Maddow's original cable benefactor—was bellowing out the same complaint during that 9 PM hour.

Basically, though, that was all the information Maddow actually had. The rest of the evening, spreading through several hour-long shows, was devoted to avoiding what Johnston had said, and to offering silly critiques of the underwhelming document.

During the 10 PM hour, Lawrence kept insisting that the cover sheet from 2005 showed that Trump didn't pay "hundreds of millions in federal taxes," as he once had said. Finally, at 10:35 PM, two of O'Donnell's expert guests staged an intervention.

They told him that Trump's remark didn't necessarily mean that he paid that much in taxes every year. Thus rebuked on live TV, Lawrence mercifully stopped.

At 11 PM, Brian Williams seemed a bit annoyed with the whole shebang. He began to mention the unmentionable—the possibility that the big scoop perhaps did serve Trump's interests.

Williams began to hint at something we haven't mentioned. The stampede about the nothingburger had wiped a wide range of weightier topics from last night's cable air:

Gone was discussion of the GOP health plan, which had been imploding. Gone was discussion of the expectation that information would drop today about Trump's wiretapping claims.

Gone, long gone, was Donald J. Trump and Russia. Instead, we had our silliest cable star pimping a tiny bit of information which basically seemed to serve the interests of Donald J. Trump.

It's very hard for liberals to see what a self-adoring circus clown Maddow has become. Last night, she staged a giant stampede over the latest shiny object—over a nothingburger.

Is it possible that Donald J. Trump leaked the shiny object himself? In the very first words out of his mouth, that's what Johnston had said.

Final point:

Also gone from last night's air was any discussion of Chris Hayes' trip to West Virginia. The trip had produced an hour of powerful politics only one night before.

Hayes' trip was potential political dynamite, pointing the way toward a more successful future. By way of contrast, Maddow's overblown nothingburger was a big bag of hot air.

We think of the enduring drama enacted by Laurel and Hardy:

In Laurel and Hardy's beautiful work, the little guy with a hint of a clue is always too meek and mild and decent to speak up. In part for that reason, the big blowhard who's full of hot air always ends up in charge.

So it goes in human life. So it goes in cable news, especially where our own self-adoring circus clown is involved.

We hate to say this but: Yesterday, before the stampede, we decided to take another shot at Maddow's very strange presentation from last Tuesday, March 7.

We keep thinking we must have misunderstood what she said that night. Yesterday, we finally decided. Before the week is through, we'll show you what Our Own Rhodes Scholar said.

As we noted yesterday, liberals think they're being "informed" by Maddow's devolving program. When we put our clueless wonders in charge, it's dangerous for the rest of the world.

It's bad for progressive interests.

15 comments:

  1. Yes, Maddow's presentation of the issue was awful, but a few corrections to Bob:

    1. DCJ does have the whole Form 1040, which is only two pages. It provides a lot of info about Trump's financials, but lacks all of the schedules that go along with the full return.

    2. Trump only paid $36.6 M dollars in federal income tax in 2005, not $38 M. Bob is a stickler for numbers, so I don't know why he (and Maddow) both get this wrong.

    3. Yes, it is entirely possible that Trump intentionally leaked the summary of his 2005 return, since it is stamped "Client Copy." He could have leaked it for the year he got hit with the altnernative minimum and was forced to pay at a higher rate than he normally has.

    Here is DCJ report on the leaked return summary:

    https://www.dcreport.org/2017/03/14/taxes/

    Kevin Drum's take:

    http://m.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/trumps-tax-return-suggests-hes-most-incompetent-billionaire-nation

    ReplyDelete
  2. I haven't seen Trump's 1040, but if it's really stamped "Client Copy" it didn't leak from the IRS. \

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yet Maddow is getting the highest ratings she ever had. I'm sure that is driving poor Bob crazy.
    See boys & girls this is what happens when your only motivation is envy for the success of another person because you're been a failure all your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...Maddow is getting the highest ratings she ever had.

      So Somerby's post is more significant than it would otherwise be. No surprise you're thrilled by Maddow's success- she fills your life with endless wonder for some reason, she's your Tholomyès.

      Delete
    2. Congratulations for celebrating a clowning corporate stooge. Trump also got the "highest ratings ever" and yes it is "driving me crazy.". So good for you on joining a winning team, or at least one that is man my money. Seriously, that's really smart what you did there.

      Delete
    3. Not "man my money," I meant "making money.". Shouldn't comment from phones, lesson learned.

      Delete
  4. She's not your friend, she's a corporate employee.
    Bingo

    Maddow got played.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Late in the campaign, the NY Times reported that Trump might have paid zero income tax for many years (including 2005) because he had a huge loss carryforward. The function of newspaper is to report what happened, not what might have happened, so the Times report was improper and represented media bias.

    Thanks to this release, we now know that the Times' guess as to what might have happened was ignorant and wrong. Not only was the speculative report improper, it was based on a poor understanding of tax accounting. Call if "Fake News".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here we see why Trump leaked it. We don't actually know that is what was filed, do we?

      Delete
    2. DCJ said that it was likely that Trump had paid little or not income tax in the last forty years. Several of Trump's tax returns we do have show he paid none or very little (they were release to get his gaming liscense in NJ). As DCJ has stated, and many tax avoidance attorneys have stated, one of the primary reasons to invest in real estate (if not the only one) is for the tax benefit and it is a possible for someone who has invested in real estate long enough to live income tax free forever. If the 2005 Form 1040 is indeed Trump's unaltered summary, then he has paid a fair amount of income tax in one year. Of course, Trump could clear all of this up by simply releasing his full federal income tax returns for the last 30 years to put all of this to rest and prove DCJ wrong.

      Delete
    3. Comrade DinC, you stupid fuck. You took the NY Times literally. That is so yesterday. We are in a post-truth era now.

      For example, did you know that when a president says "blind trust" that actually means his two idiot sons Uday and Qusay promise to never talk to their daddy about the family global foreign business. Scout's honor.

      Or did you know that when the president of the United States accuses the former president of "tapped my wires" (the phrasing of a 3rd grader), it actually means any fucking thing you want it to mean. It is a shape shifting ever changing reality.

      Did you know that when the president of the United States says he's under audit, and that is the reason he can't release his tax returns, that it means in actuality, "fuck you, my supporters would vote for me if I shot someone in broad daylight on 5th Avenue"?



      In actuality, the pussygrabber pervert flimflam man is the one who encouraged the speculation. The NY Times did not claim they knew, they said "might", and you are a mendacious bastard.

      Delete
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    because we work together. This will be the final week or work and then I
    wont be around him constantly. Unfortunately, I broke one of the rules in
    the article and have been sleeping with him. Something I’m not proud of,
    especially since he has a girlfriend. Not to mention that she’s a girl he
    dated off and on for 3 years before he dated me.
    When I asked him why he kept sleeping with me even though he was in a
    relationship, his response was because I wanted it, and he wants me to be
    happy. But obviously what would make me happy would be to have him all to
    myself. That was when i read about Dr alexzander on how he help people in
    saving their relationship and i was really desperate for his help. There
    were things in our relationship that were tough. We traveled for 4 months
    right in the beginning, and it was hard due to different expectations. When
    we returned our living situation was unstable which caused a lot of stress
    on my end. And when I ask why he didn’t give me a chance to make things
    better he said he gave me tons of chances. Oh, and he compared our
    relationship with his past. He says that things were great, and then they
    went bad really fast, and that why his back with is Ex. Because it at least
    took them years for things to get that bad. So i was very sad and
    disappointing and decided to contact this spell caster for help with tears
    running out of my eyes and Dr alexzander promised to make things right in
    my relationship and also assured me that my boyfriend is going to come back
    to me within 78hrs. At first i was shock and didn't believe him because i
    thought it was impossible to do. But i gave it a try and trusted him. Dr
    alexzander asked for my details and his, then guarantee me of his return.
    Truly my ex lover started calling me and also begging me to forgive him and
    that's his willing to give us a second chance, then promised me never to
    love any other woman apart from me. it all seem like a miracle to me till
    now. Dr alexzander. Words can't express how i feel right now. it been 2
    month now since you caste that love spell for me and nothing have gone bad
    between us. his now caring more than ever and also the loving kind of Man i
    have ever wanted for myself in life. I thank you Dr alexzander for saving
    my relationship. Indeed you are the best. I want to use this media to share
    my testimony for the whole world to see and know that there is still hope
    in your broken relationship, No matter how bad it seems don't give up hope
    and also contact this man who saved my own. you can reach him through his
    website address http://alexzanderhightemple-com.webs.com or contact him
    direct with his email address alexzanderhightemple@gmail.com. I thank you
    Dr alexzander for helping me and i will always share my testimony in every
    social media or place i may go to.
    (From United State Of America).
    Mrs Tracy Grilli.
    http://tracygrilli.blogspot.com.tr
    https://tracygrilli59.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete