Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle

At 7:36 p.m. Tuesday, Rachel Maddow tweeted, “BREAKING: We’ve got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC. (Seriously),” sending the internet into a frenzy of theorizing. Did Maddow have Donald Trump’s tax returns or just one of the Trumps’ tax returns? Could this be it, the tax return that would bring down the Donald? If this was it, why wasn’t MSNBC cutting into its programming, instead of running a countdown clock to Maddow’s show? By 8:24, Maddow was tweeting that the tax return in question was Donald Trump’s 1040 from 2005. By 8:30, still half an hour before Maddow started airing, the White House had responded to the MSNBC report, saying that Trump had paid $38 million on income of $150 million that year. An hour later, about 20 minutes after The Rachel Maddow Show started, Maddow would confirm these numbers, turning her big scoop about Donald Trump’s long-missing tax returns into a cautionary tale about overhype. Rachel Maddow, you played yourself—and us too.

 

Rachel Maddow Turned a Scoop on Donald Trump’s Taxes Into a Cynical, Self-Defeating Spectacle

Willa PaskinWILLA PASKIN

Willa Paskin is Slate’s television critic.

“It’s been a little bit of a hullabaloo around here this evening, I apologize for being flustered,” Maddow said at the top of the hour, before confirming that her show had copies of Donald Trump’s federal tax returns, obtained by the reporter David Cay Johnston, to share with her audience. “In just a second we’re going to show you exactly what it is we’ve got,” she said, before launching, instead, into a 20-minute monologue. Maddow seemed uncharacteristically nervous as she wended her way though what could kindly be described as context and which I am unkindly describing as word salad, a long meander that was difficult to follow even without the distracting promise of a revelatory tax return at its end.

The monologue started contextually enough, with a long-winded skewering of Trump’s refusal to share his tax returns that touched on Richard Nixon, the Clintons, and his unaudited tax forms, before veering off conspiratorially. “Whether or not you are a supporter of Donald Trump,” Maddow said, “It ought to give you pause that his explanations [for not releasing his tax returns] have never made any factual sense. … When you get an excuse from them that doesn’t make sense, you have to look for another reason. What’s the real explanation? Well, choose your own adventure.” She then launched into a long hypothetical about a particular Russian oligarch’s possible relationship to Trump that touched on Florida real estate, Deutsche Bank, and Preet Bharara that Trump’s tax returns—though not, as it would turn out, the ones she actually had—could conceivably clear up.

The longer Maddow went on, ever deeper into a conspiratorial thicket, the clearer it became that whatever tax returns Maddow had, they weren’t as juicy as the ones she was talking about. If she had anything that damning, she would have shared them from the start. TV is a ratings game, but an entire episode about highly damaging tax returns is just as likely to get you great ratings as milking the possibility that you have highly damaging tax returns and less likely to get you compared to Geraldo. Maddow even went so far as to hold the tax returns back until after the first commercial break, as if we were watching an episode of The Bachelor and not a matter of national importance—because we weren’t, in fact, watching a matter of national importance, just a cable news show trying to set a ratings record.

After the first break—at which point the tax returns were already available on the internet and glossed by the Daily Beast—Maddow was joined by Johnston, and she began by asking him how he knew Trump hadn’t sent the returns himself. Johnston said that he could have. A few hours after Maddow finished airing, this has become a popular conspiracy theory, simply because, if Donald Trump were to share any of his tax returns, the 2005 1040 seems like a good candidate. Trump paid taxes at a rate of around 4 percent, but because of the alternate minimum tax, he also paid an additional $31 million. The form revealed that, rather than not paying taxes and making no money, Trump paid $38 million on $150 million in income. Maddow promised to pull a sordid revelation out of a hat and instead plucked out … Trump’s credibility? Maddow was soon parsing, asking Johnston to explain that Trump is currently trying to do away with the AMT, which, unfair as it may be, still wouldn’t change the amount he paid in 2005.

As the show went on, it became clear that Maddow knew she didn’t quite have the scoop that had been promised. “What would we have to see, what would we hope to get in mail,” she asked Johnston, “if we were going to get to the real meat of Donald Trump’s foreign ties?”—i.e., what would be more meaningful than the tax form that we have? Speaking to Chris Hayes and Johnston, she said, “The story here to me is, a) we have obtained this [tax form], b) that this stuff is obtainable.” “BREAKING: Trump’s tax returns theoretically obtainable. Tonight, 9 p.m. ET. MSNBC. (Seriously)” does make for a less rousing tweet.

Trump’s tax returns, whatever information they happen to contain, constitute a major scoop. Maddow’s social media team ensured the highest possible ratings for that scoop. But if ever a story should have been delivered in a stentorian, fuddy-duddy, nonpartisan manner, this was it. In positioning it as a grand revelation, a vital step in comprehending Trump’s corruption, MSNBC created an exceedingly cynical spectacle. By playing into the network’s loyal liberal audience’s fantasy that there exists a Trump silver bullet, it instead delivered Trump a positive news cycle—the guy pays taxes! Who knew!—amidst the debacle of the American Health Care Aact, along with more evidence that the media is aligned against him. The lesson? Don’t tell us you have news, just tell us the news.

FAKE NEWS IN THE AMERICAN PULPIT

FAKE NEWS IN THE AMERICAN PULPIT

By Mario Murillo

Recently a man of God came to me in the same way that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.  I am not Jesus and the subject matter was not about rebirth.  The similarity had to do with the fact that wanted to ask me something in private that he did not want to discuss publicly.

He asked me: “Mario, there are many of us who know that you are right about what Obama, [who, by the way, is still working his mischief], the media, and our government is doing to the nation and the church.  But we know that speaking out will cost us tithing members and our nonprofit status.”

“How do you feel about your silence?” I asked.  “I feel sick” he said.  “How sick?” I replied.  He did not answer but the pain in his eyes showed his deep turmoil. This is a good man who sincerely wants to do what is right.

 

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King

big boy pants

That is who I am appealing to in this blog.  Sincere preachers who honestly do not know how to preach true and urgent messages.  By no means am I going to waste time attacking any pastor who has sold out completely to this culture.  That would be an entirely different blog.

So, I said, “you have no choice, you must speak out.” Then I proceeded to make my points.  I began by getting his attention.  “If what you say to your people every Sunday denies the crisis—provides no positive and practical instruction to combat it—then you are preaching fake news.”  Here are my points:

Pulpit is responsibleA man or woman of honor will never withhold truth because of personal consequence. Claire Delacroix said, “No man of honor avoided what needed to be done, simply because it might not proceed in his favor.” Honor has become cheap. Honor is not hospitality or flattery.  It means courage and loyalty to the truth in the face of great personal cost.

Preaching must proceed from the things that are important to God and not the audience. There are issues that are urgent to Him. He must see that you are willing to discern what is important enough to address. How can you expect God to speak to you if He already knows you are going to run His Word through the  filter of political correctness?

In your silence you are taking other people down with you. Does it ever dawn on a preacher that he is actually damaging his audience when he only says what they want to hear? He is not leading them forward; he is not improving their condition or alerting them to danger.

The decision to do this can be because the preacher has given into fear and no longer believes that God can change society so the best he can do is mouth soothing words.  David faced the temptation to speak out of defeatism.  In Psalm 73:15 He says, “If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.”

 There is still time to save the country. This is the biggest reason to speak out. The ongoing destruction of freedom of speech and of religion has happened because God haters marketed a great lie to the masses. That lie is wearing thin and slowing down the takeover of our freedoms.  Now is the time to hold their feet to the fire.  We have not yet been driven underground.  We are not yet being forced to draw fish symbols in the dirt or huddle in catacombs.

Sorry if you don’t think so, but Trump is a merciful reprieve.  He is flawed as any leader is flawed but he is standing for issues that matter to you and me…especially the Supreme Court!

How can we dare to ignore this opportunity to speak out?

The pulpit is responsible is responsible for more of what’s wrong in our culture that we want to admit. Charles Finney blamed the pulpit first! There should have been a verbal firewall and there wasn’t.  We should have made the case for marriage and the unborn with greater force.  We didn’t.   

refuse

Finally:  What makes our silence even more embarrassing is that many preachers refuse to preach the truth their people want to hear.   Audiences are ready to listen to common sense preaching.  We must seize the moment.  Jesus said I John 9:4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.

You should never speak out on certain controversial issue unless the Spirit of God compels you but you are asking too much when you say that God has not moved your heart to speak out about our government’s overreach and persecution of Christians.  Oh and by the way, the IRS does not want to enforce the 501C3 Johnson amendment  on Churches because they know it will lose in the Supreme Court.  SPEAK OUT!

 

 

  

 

 

OBAMA OPERATIVE HINTS AT MILITARY COUP

“A former Defense Department official under the Obama administration has raised the specter of a military coup to remove President Donald Trump from power.

OBAMA OPERATIVE HINTS AT MILITARY COUP

“A former Defense Department official under the Obama administration has raised the specter of a military coup to remove President Donald Trump from power.   In an editorial penned for Foreign Policy, senior Pentagon policy official Rosa Brooks publicly suggested a military insurrection against the Trump administration may be the only option to oust one of the most divisive presidents in American history.

“Donald Trump’s first week as president has made it all too clear: Yes, he is as crazy as everyone feared,” Ms. Brooks wrote. “[One] possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”

For the first time in her career in public service, including three years as senior counselor to the Pentagon’s policy chief from 2009 to 2011, “I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: ‘No, sir. We’re not doing that.’” -Carlo Muñoz – The Washington Times – Thursday, February 2, 2017

In my vigilant effort to keep you informed—not with hysteria or extremism but facts—I submit this crucial information to you.  We are witnessing a joint effort by the left to overrule your vote and topple our government.

The riots are not by accident.  The incessant railings from Movie Stars, Pop Stars are scripted for maximum impact.  We are watching a concerted effort to take down of the Constitution of the United States.

Anarchy is a part of the plan.  Democrats staying away from committee meetings to stop Trump appointments is part of the plan.  Placing operatives to leak information from the White House are a part of the plan.

Even the Super Bowl is not safe…Lady Gaga will use her half time performance at the Super Bowl to rail against our values, against you, me, and our newly elected president.

Look for rioters to take to the streets—burning and looting their way across America—with the tacit approval of the Democratic Party.  In the name of equality, they will go after our rights.  In the name of justice, they will practice total lawlessness.

How poignant is it that the rioters in Berkeley who snuffed out free speech were holding signs that said “Hate free Zone?”   They also did something prophetic: They screamed against fascism by practicing fascism.  No one can verify the origin of this statement but it certainly fits the current situation: “The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.”  (For some reason the left truly hates that quote and tries to call it right wing extremism).

fascists

The left understands that if the Supreme Court is balanced by Conservatives, the left will lose power for at least a generation.  Their goal is clear: Discredit Trump and force their way to power.

If ever you prayed for our president, pray for him now.  Think of this…there have been 12,000 tweets in the last 24 hours calling for his assassination.   How is that possible without advance planning?

What I am about to say will never appear in a Christian Magazine.  You will never hear this in a mega Church pulpit.  I will—once again—be accused of abandoning my calling.   Many leaders will totally shy away from the words I am about to speak:

THE AMERICAN CHURCH HAS BEEN CALLED OUT AND SHE FALLING BACK ASLEEP.  It has only been days since God granted a reprieve from certain destruction and already pastors have fallen back into passivity and lukewarm ministry.  Never forget, it was the people in the pew that put Trump in office.  This movement was not led by a majority of pastors.  Most sat it out and only complimented Trump only after they saw the ground swell of support.  Now that the heat is on, they are scurrying back to their safe place.

We are faced with the greatest threat to freedom of our lifetime.  How will we explain to our children and grandchildren—who will live under this tyranny—that we did nothing?

So, who am I to say anything?  I am not the famous leader of a denomination or a Christian movement.  I am just a simple man with a simple voice.

Unlike some of your favorites, I am a preacher beholden to no one but Jesus.  I do not have the clout of others, but I do have the courage.   It is time for Christian leaders to condemn this anarchy with one voice.   It is time for true awakening.  It is time for reformation.  It is time for the Word of God to be loudly and majestically declared to a sick and confused generation.