Commentary

Maddow's 'Tax Scoop' Delivered Higher Ratings For Marketers

Despite the praise -- and some ridicule -- of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s scoop about getting President Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return, perhaps we should look a little deeper at news networks.

You know, those networks not reporting “real” news -- the other kind --  as per our President. (I’m guessing that wasn’t a copy of Trump’s tax return that Maddow held up?)

Cable news networks continue to see ever higher ratings nearly five months after the election.

Year to date: MSNBC’s total day Nielsen viewers were up 63%; CNN, 27% higher; and Fox News, up 28%.  In February’s prime time, Fox was at 2.9 million viewers; MSNBC, 1.5 million; and CNN, 1.2 million -- now at high levels to that of entertainment cable TV networks.

The American viewing public obviously knows better -- maybe TV marketers supporting the networks, as well. Who is watching “unreal” news? Real viewers, I’m guessing.

One news story to consider: Whoever delivered the copy of Trump's tax return knew what they were doing -- a tax return for a year where, after taking a $103 million loss, he paid a 24% to 25% tax rate, pretty much around the rate of ordinary taxpayers, not billionaires. But, of course, the devil is in the details.

There were no schedule attachments as part of Maddow's news, which would outline Trump's real financial status: business holdings, debts, charitable donations, etc.

A big deal for a news network? Well, yes. But delaying the tax news on MSNBC, after teasing it? No, that would suck.

Stuffing in more commercial breaks for MSNBC, giving marketers commercials with some high viewability, isn’t right. Some of the blame goes to Maddow’s producers -- if not business executives, as well.

Let’s not get lost, here. Think back to the news story of Trump’s 1995 tax return The New York Times revealed last year in the midst of the presidential campaign. The one return where Trump recorded $916.4 million in losses. Did that loss works its way to the $103.2 million loss in the 2005 return?

But wait -- might we still be talking about fake news?

TV and other news media marketers: Check your media plan. Make sure your story is as real as it can be.

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