Griffin cast the rebranding as just one more stage in MSNBC’s “evolution.”
“MSNBC will turn 20 this year on July 15,” he said. “There have been so many evolutions, and look if you don’t evolve, in any medium, you’re going to lose. So I think we’ve been in a process of evolution and I feel very good about what we’re doing.”
The “leaning right” ad is the culmination of the network’s efforts to prove that MSNBC is not just a home for liberals, but of opinionated analysis from all sides.
Phil, Phil, Phil. I don't need a cable news channel to be my "home." I just need a news channel that doesn't think Morning Joe's call-ins to Trump's bathroom are actual election coverage. And guess what, that's not a liberal secret anymore.
MSNBC, despite its liberal lean, has taken heat from right and left for seeming at times to cozy up to Trump – with Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski under particular scrutiny for lobbing softball questions to him at a February town hall, like “Why did you decide to run for president?” ....Griffin shrugged off the criticisms, pointing out that Scarborough’s coverage has clearly evolved over time (the week of our interview, Trump and Scarborough were in the midst of a Twitter spat), as has his relationship with Trump.
Well, yeah, Phil. Scarborough's coverage has "evolved over time" because turns out everyone noticed the embarrassing on-air tongue baths Donald Trump was getting on Morning Joe. Don't insult our intelligence by pretending you didn't discuss an "evolution" with Joe Scarborough in the 30 Rock penthouse suite.
And Scarborough's "relationship with Trump" has "evolved" as it becomes clear that access to and friendship with Trump is fast becoming more of a liability than an asset. Hey Mika, when Trump's surrogates go on prime-time cable to advocate war crimes, it might be time to reassess whether you'll be calling him in 2017 to appear at (or even write a check for) your Manhattan charity fashion show.
But back to this new advertising campaign Phil Griffin spent too much money on, ...
...unveiling a new campaign that showcases its talent roster —sometimes in unexpected ways. Four feature advertisements shot by the well-known celebrity and glossy magazine photographer Art Streiber will feature group portraits of four groups of MSNBC talent: “Pros,” including Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd; “The Codebreakers,” including Chris Hayes and Lawrence O’Donnell; the “Road Warriors,” featuring campaign trail reporters like Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff; and “The Firebrands” which will feature only Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, co-hosts of “Morning Joe,” the channel’s signature morning show.
Their concession to liberals is that Rachel's not going anywhere, and they won't be messing with the prime time lineup before the election.
Maddow is, without question, the network's primetime lynchpin, especially in the ratings – where in the first quarter her show was up 92 percent in the demo and 48 percent overall (she's also the center star, and only one seated in "The Pros" ad MSNBC is debuting). But former CNN President Jonathan Klein warned that the lineup needs to have more than just Maddow as the star.
“The challenge for them now is if you’re going to pursue that strategy you need the talent to surround Rachel with. You’ve got to take advantage of the audience Rachel can generate coming out of her show, and that’s where they’ve struggled,” Klein said.
The idea that the audience Rachel generates really wants more analysis from Hugh Hewitt and Michael Steele tells you everything you need to know about Phil Griffin and his yes-men. Ratings for cable news are going to be up for the next 160 days because this is an election year. What drives viewer loyalty after that? It may be too late for MSNBC to figure that out.
Update: Driftglass isn't quite so kind.
@MSNBC Assisted Suicide Watch Continues
In case you might have forgotten how very much MSNBC hates you, they now have an ad campaign to drive the point home.