As expected , MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s big reveal on President Donald Trump’s tax returns attracted a huge audience on Tuesday and set a record for the show, while ranking as the third-most viewed program on television that night.
Maddow racked up a show-record 4.13 million total viewers, trailing only NBC’s “This is Us” and CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans,” for the night in the 9 p.m. time slot. The show was also the No. 1 cable news show in the 25-54 demo with 1.43 million viewers.
Despite those record-setting numbers for the show, it didn’t appear to hurt Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who finished behind Maddow with 3 million viewers. That was in line with his show’s average numbers, meaning that few, if any, conservatives abandoned him for Maddow’s fake news.
Maddow received criticism from both conservatives and liberals for her hyping of the two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax return that destroyed the liberals’ charge that Trump hadn’t paid any taxes. In an interview with the Associated Press, Maddow tried to blame viewers for setting their expectations too high:
“Because I have information about the President doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal. 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.”
Unlike Geraldo Rivera, who was pilloried after his Al Capone vault debacle, Maddow knew that what was in the Trump tax returns wasn’t damning, yet she still hyped it on Twitter and played her audience for fools, thereby becoming the epitome of fake news.