Only a few days ago, several left-wing media outlets were celebrating the newfound ratings success of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who has supposedly increased her viewership in the Trump era by “ignoring the Twitter feed” and diving more deeply into the stories and scandals of the controversial administration.

But if Maddow was set to break away from the typical 24/7 news cycle programs and follow her own path to investigative superstardom, she may have stumbled over an obstacle of her own creation on Tuesday night.

In the late afternoon, Maddow went to social media to hype the evening’s episode, promising to deliver – at long last – THE TAX RETURNS!

Later, she clarified: It was a 2005 1040 document belonging to President Donald Trump.

By the time she was ten minutes into her program, though, it was already obvious to any half-awake viewer that Maddow’s scoop did not live up to the hype. The liberal host spent nearly a half hour building up to the grand revelation, a sure sign that there was not as much meat on the bone as she had promised.

By the time she finally got around to discussing the actual tax documents, the story hilariously backfired. Not only was there nothing of interest in the documents, what was there actually worked in the president’s favor. No scandal. No tax cheating. Certainly no uncomfortable ties to Russian oligarchs. Instead, Maddow reported on a clean, above-board filing that did more damage to the Democrats’ calls for Trump’s tax returns than anything the administration could have ever done.

Maddow revealed that Trump earned $153 million in 2005, a tidy sum on which he paid $36.5 million in taxes. He also claimed a business loss of more than $100 million that year. All told, he paid income taxes at an effective rate of 25% – not exactly the kind of bombshell revelation that the left has been hoping to find.

Maddow came by the documents by way of journalist David Cay Johnston, who said he received them in the mail from an unknown source. Johnston was so dismayed by the lack of dirt in the tax return documents that he speculated darkly about its origin.

“Donald has a long history of leaking material about himself when he thinks it’s in his interest,” he said.

Amazing. When was the last time you saw a journalist hype up a story, report the story, and then – realizing the story didn’t play out the way they wanted it to – immediately begin discrediting the story. All within a period of a few hours!

President Trump slammed the report on Twitter Wednesday. “Does anybody really believe that a reporter, who nobody ever heard of, ‘went to his mailbox’ and found my tax returns? @NBCNews FAKE NEWS!”

It’s in The Donald’s DNA to lash out at any “unfavorable” story of this sort, but he could’ve saved himself the trouble. The only person hurt by this story was Rachel Maddow.