“Rachel Maddow new cable news champ as MSNBC surges.” This is likely a headline you’ve read or heard some variation of multiple times this year.
The rise of Maddow’s program led the media to create a narrative about Fox News being on the decline under the Trump administration. Sure, MSNBC has made gains — but the Fox News brand remains king.
Earlier this year, after a decade on the air, 44-year-old Maddow finally found her footing in the ratings race against CNN and Fox News. She won big in the critical 25- to 54-year-old demographic — but did so by embarrassing herself. She hyped a big “scoop” about the president’s taxes — when all she had were two measly pages of Trump’s 2005 1040 form. It was Maddow’s biggest audience ever — 4.13 million viewers.
The tax return story was the progressive media’s desperate attempt to show possible Russian collusion in Trump’s rise to power, but all her “scoop” ended up revealing was that Trump paid a lot in taxes in 2005.
Maddow was widely mocked on social media for lacking the damning evidence she had originally hyped.