Rachel Maddow scored the best ratings of her career on Tuesday, after millions tuned in to watch her release President Donald Trump’s tax returns. But, after the story turned out to be a major letdown, her bosses at NBC News are livid.
According to insiders talking to the New York Post, NBC News is angry that neither Maddow nor MSNBC told them about Maddow’s “scoop” in advance—instead letting them find out on Twitter, with the rest of the world.
“[MSNBC’s president] Phil Griffin was trying to undermine [NBC News president] Noah Oppenheim,” explained the Post’s source. “There was never a conversation. [MSNBC] overplayed their hand in a huge way.”
“It’s their cable network, but it’s still NBC News. They did not appreciate being kept in the dark,” explained the source. “To hype such a big story and not really deliver is a bit embarrassing. Airing a story you’ve hyped 20 minutes into your broadcast makes it a lot less of a ‘breaking news’ story.”
A spokesperson for NBC has since denied that there’s tension between MSNBC and NBC News—but it’s easy to imagine why Maddow could be in hot water. While she claimed she had “Trump’s tax returns,” Maddow instead just had two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return.
President Trump famously broke with precedent when he refused to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election. His refusal led to widespread speculation among liberals that Trump wasn’t a billionaire, as he claimed, or that he hadn’t paid taxes in more than a decade, due to various business deductions, as Hillary Clinton herself suggested.
However, Maddow’s story turned out to disprove both suspicions: Trump, in fact, made a whopping $150 million in 2005 alone, and paid $38 million in taxes—effectively a 25% tax rate, which meant Trump paid a larger percent of his income to the government than Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and even NBC’s parent company, Comcast.