In case you were living under a rock Tuesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow stunned the internet with news that she had information on President Donald Trump's elusive tax returns.
Cue world stop.
But then just before Rachel Maddow took the air, the White House thwarted her scoop and released some details from Trump's 2005 tax return: The president paid $38 million in taxes and earned $150 million that year. PLOT TWIST.
So by the time The Rachel Maddow Show came on at 9 p.m. ET, Twitter looked like this:
Instead of immediately diving into the exclusive information, however, Maddow meandered through background and analysis. That did not go over well.
Twitter started roasting the news anchor as the minutes just. Painfully. Crawled. By.
Things started to get a little tense. Just a bit.
Even outlets like the Daily Beast and the Washington Post published the leaked documents before as Maddow continued to hype her story.
After 19 minutes without any mention as to what she actually had on Trump, Twitter lost its damn mind.
People wondered if it was a new saga.
...And then she cut to a commercial break. Cue all-out pandemonium:
When she finally disclosed the two pages from Trump's 2005 1040 form, they revealed little more than what the president had already released.
On Wednesday, Maddow defended her handling of the story, telling the Associated Press that people created their own frenzied expectations. She argued that she never misrepresented what she had and contextualizing before divulging the information was vital to "explain the weight of it and why it is important."
“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.”
Some people have speculated that Maddow was set up by Trump after she explained the documents were left in investigative reporter David Cay Johnston's mailbox, who then gave them to MSNBC.
Asked for the source of the documents, Johnston said he did not know and suggested it could have been leaked by anyone, including the president himself.
Maddow said the White House didn't foil her scoop by releasing the tax documents early, emphasizing that it was more important to prove her story was accurate.
As for the profuse criticism from viewers and media, some even from her colleagues, Maddow said, “I don’t really care.”
In short. This about sums it up for many viewers:
Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Brianna Sacks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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