As I See It
Whether it was breaking news not the real question
So, just what did we learn with the release of some of President Trump’s tax returns this week? Apparently, that people have real issues with the use of the term “breaking news.” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow offered what she called breaking news Tuesday night, when she told viewers she was in possession of Trump’s tax return. She tweeted about an hour before the show that she would be revealing the results. When she finally did, we learned that Donald Trump paid about $38 million in taxes on income of nearly $150 million. On the surface, there is no smoking gun, no evidence that our President is a tax-dodger. But the reaction seemed to be more about how the new information was released than about the substance of the returns themselves. Some said it took Maddow longer to actually release the information than it would take most people to do their taxes. Others claimed this should not be considered breaking news because there was very little news there. I’m not hung up on the use of breaking news to tease the information. To me, breaking news is something happening now that we didn’t know before. This would fit that bill. It was the first time we had seen Trump’s returns, even if it was just two pages of a return filed a dozen years ago. But the real story is why are we relying on little leaked bits of information in order to try to get the facts. If Trump would simply release his returns, as presidents before him have done, then we wouldn’t have to brag about uncovering any scrap of information, and we wouldn’t have a debate about what really constitutes breaking news.