15 ‘Objective’ Journalists Who Hoped Rachel Maddow Would Validate Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories

Hordes of liberal Twitter users went from giddy anticipation to impotent rage Tuesday night as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s big tease of “Trump tax returns” delivered no new evidence of political collusion between the U.S. president and Russia.

Many messages along these lines came from reporters and editors for establishment news outlets — who claim to be objective and non-partisan while pushing a conspiracy believed almost exclusively by the far left.

As the show aired, several journalists complained about Maddow’s torturously long presentation of background info, which allowed the White House and several other news outlets to get ahead of reporter David Cay Johnston’s “scoop” that Trump paid the IRS $38 million in 2005. Others stayed patient with Maddow, tweeting along to her web of Trump-Russia connections.

Philip Gourevitch of The New Yorker expressed hope that these tax returns would clear up “unanswered questions” about “Russian oligarchs”:

Ryan McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief of VICE, linked to an article asking questions about a real estate deal between Trump and a Russian fertilizer magnate:

Peter Sterne, a reporter for Politico, wrote that Maddow’s monologue would only be relevant if the tax return showed “ties between Trump and foreign governments”:

Bill Bishop, Managing Editor of Texas news network KHOU, called the history lesson on Trump and Russia “scary”:

Ken Dilanian, reporter for NBC News, apologetically told critics that Maddow was at least introducing a much wider audience to the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory:

However, for most viewers, disappointment quickly set in.

Annie Linskey, chief national correspondent for the Boston Globe, spoke for her peers:

Spencer Ackerman, reporter for The Guardian, wondered if he was “missing” the implication of Johnston’s scoop:

The aforementioned McCarthy acknowledged, minutes after his earlier tweet, that Trump’s 2005 return would not illuminate the mysterious property sale of 2008:

Max Weiss, managing editor of “the No. 1 lifestyle brand in Baltimore metropolitan area,” also seemed let down:

As Maddow’s show wrapped up, these purportedly non-partisan journalists began to speculate that President Trump himself leaked the document — since it proved far from scandalous.

Noam Schreiber, New York Times reporter, lamented, “There is basically nothing incriminating here”:

Still, others maintained hope that the story would move forward, either through other leaked tax returns or through federal investigations.

Carlos Maza of Vox subtweeted Maddow’s detractors, such as Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:

Jim Acosta, CNN correspondent, hyped a report about FBI Director Jim Comey potentially announcing a Trump-Russia investigation with a tongue-in-cheek link to the evening’s tax return hoopla:

Maggie Haberman, New York Times White House Correspondent, gave a similar preview on the Comey story:

A viral tweet from Evan Osnos, writer for The New Yorker, held out hope for a smoking gun in Trump’s 2008 returns:

Associated Press national reporter Lisa Lerer, Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler, and the aforementioned Gourevitch retweeted Osnos’s wish.


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