Rachel Maddows over-hyped “special” episode Tuesday night, in which everyone expected a “bombshell” on Trump’s taxes, couldn’t have backfired any further. In fact, given the contents of the tax returns (that Trump paid $38 million in taxes that year), it’s hard to not wonder if Maddow actually read the returns before presenting them to the audience.
It was one heck of a buildup, as she entertained a handful of Russian conspiracy theories during the first half hour of her show (with David Cay Johnston on to repeat them back to her) before the big “reveal.”
It was a flop that many compared to Geraldo Rivera’s “The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault” report in 1986.
For anyone out of the loop (or had to Google the reference because they weren’t even alive yet), during that special Rivera took an enormous risk in having a two-hour buildup lead to him opening a vault belonging to Al Capone for the first time. What would the vault contain? The corpses of Capone’s rivals? Never before seen documents? Weapons? Money?
As the vault was finally broken open, we learned what it really contained: nothing. Adding insult to injury, 30 million people were watching — live — for a climax that never materialized. Afterwards, Geraldo promptly left, with viewers stunned at the enormity of the humiliation.
It’s not hard to see why Maddow’s train-wreck of a segment was compared to Geraldo’s, though to Geraldo’s credit, Maddow “only” got four million viewers (likely the highest viewership for one of her episodes ever). Joining in on the mockery? Geraldo Rivera, of course.
“Rachel Maddow now has the mantle of Al Capone’s vault.” And as was pointed out, at least Geraldo had the excuse of not knowing what was in the vault.
[Note: This post was writtenby Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]