I more or less agree with this quite critical assessment in Slate of last night's "major scoop" concerning a release of President Donald Trump's 2005 income tax return by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. I only tuned in as a result of a friend's text message, and we both watched in rapt anticipation, which turned to disbelief when the first commercial break rolled around without "the big reveal." At that moment, we both knew not only that there was no there there, but that "the story" was that (IMHO) it was more likely than not that the President himself leaked his own tax returns to a journalist (in this case Pulitzer Prize winning financial journalist David Cay Johnston), for his own purposes, the most obvious being to change the subject.
And the subject includes the new and not much improved Muslim ban faces several immediate court challenges,
the FBI may or may not be investigating the Trump presidential campaign's ties to Russia, a "Trumpcare" debacle he'd probably prefer to not talk about, and assorted other crises of the petulant and childish President's own making.
What better way to distract than to come back to "the tax returns," a tactic (again, IMHO) he employed successfully during the campaign when he released a single schedule of a single return (1995, IIRC) that showed he had a humongous loss he could carry forward for a really long time-- a loss that he was still using in 2005 (a likely very successful year for him, as he sold two major properties and had over $150,000,000 in income, if the two page fragment of a single tax return is to be believed.)
It is an interesting scoop for a number of reasons-- including that the White House immediately pounced on it and confirmed the income and tax paid-- but does nothing toward establishing the obvious questions, to wit, whether or not the President is in deep hock to foreign powers China and Russia, of which there is strong anecdotal evidence that he is, as well as the extent he is molding national policy with his personal enrichment in mind (again, strong anecdotal evidence, at least.)
At noon EDT today, we'll be at 54 days of this
and I must hand it to the President: he has quite literally slowed down the passage of time, something I didn't believe was possible (and I don't know if Professor Stephen Hawking or other experts on the subject have an opinion). That said, his other "accomplishments" include emboldening anti-semitism, using the White House to tout his daughter's brand of clothing, and inventing "alternative facts" as a neologism for "bald-face lies."
In the face of this, a tax-return-fragment that undermines Rachel Maddow just a bit seems... a welcome diversion, as it were. Heckuva job, Donny!