Twitter is demonstrating in no uncertain terms tonight that what has been hyped cannot be un-hyped, after an episode of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” left lots of online viewers feeling intensely let down.
Maddow sparked a firestorm of hype late this afternoon with a single tweet, announcing she had acquired at least part of one of the great white whales of modern political history — Donald Trump’s tax returns.
BREAKING: We've got Trump tax returns. Tonight, 9pm ET. MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 14, 2017
Trump broke with decades of tradition during his campaign to become President, consistently refusing to release his tax returns even as Democrats, journalists, and even other Republicans insisted he do so. This only increased suspicions by Trump critics that the reason for his refusal is that his tax returns contain some kind of bombshell showing him beholden to foreign governments, in debt up to his eyeballs, or just generally not great at business.
However, revealed tonight was simply a few sheets of Trump’s 2005 return, disclosing how much money he made and how much he paid in taxes ($38 million), and not much else. All fairly run-of-the-mill and more or less devoid of anything scandalous.
Maddow seemed to try to bring expectations down to a more reasonable level with a clarification she tweeted about 30 minutes before tonight’s episode began:
What we've got is from 2005… the President's 1040 form… details to come tonight 9PM ET, MSNBC.
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) March 15, 2017
But, of course, it was too late. Expectations were sky high as quite a lot of people tuned hoping to learn the ins and outs of Trump’s true financial situation. And when the only thing that hit the screen was “Trump paid several tens of millions in taxes,” the Internet was, understandably, disappointed. Well, except Trump supporters, who were delighted. So it is that Twitter soon became awash in negative reactions to the great Trump tax reveal that wasn’t with jokes about everything from bad pornography to the Super Bowl to the 2017 Oscars debacle.
Read on for a sampling.
Everyone all like: pic.twitter.com/VcrxuJOxZL
— Jason Reid (@JReidESPN) March 15, 2017
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) March 15, 2017
Would it be fair to say @maddow just blew a 3-1 lead?
— Domonique Foxworth (@Foxworth24) March 15, 2017
This is like the time my friend gave me a VHS of Short Circuit 2 but it turned out to be a porno, except the opposite. #TrumpTaxReturns
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 15, 2017
I turned off the Rachel Maddow report thirty minutes in. Somebody let me know if the patriots turn this thing around after halftime.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) March 15, 2017
The best part was when Maddow opened the tax return and it said La La Land won.
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) March 15, 2017
Did Maddow need an entire hour to tell us there's always money in the banana stand
— Ira Madison III (@ira) March 15, 2017
Rachel @maddow just spent 30 min brandishing Scaramanga's Golden Gun only to pull the trigger and have a flag that says "BANG" pop out
— K. Ford (@LilSliceofKevin) March 15, 2017
LOL RACHEL MADDOW JUST TRICKED US INTO HAVING A SLIGHTLY BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE US TAX SYSTEM
— Alex Blagg (@alexblagg) March 15, 2017
In PR we call it "managing expectations"- what Rachel Maddow didn't do. Unfortunate. pic.twitter.com/6IzWZfG7iX
— SassyByNite (@SassyByNite) March 15, 2017
— Elon James White (@elonjames) March 15, 2017
When your parents say you're going to Disney World but then they take you to Six Flags pic.twitter.com/zWJ0In1ifb
— Wes Jones (@wesjonesDC) March 15, 2017