Inside the Mindset of MSNBC Branding

So just how does MSNBC get its branding ideas? We have stockpiled the following bits of evidence of how the network’s mindset works.

1. Howard Kurtz from WaPo Monday: “MSNBC has a new slogan — “Lean Forward” — that has skeptics wondering what the network of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow is trying to say.  “A rather halfhearted attempt by MSNBC to gloss its same-old lefty line with a coat of empty post-ideological babble,” Daniel Foster writes on National Review Online.   Nonsense, says MSNBC President Phil Griffin, recalling that he got the idea watching Bryant Gumbel lean forward in his chair.” Full story here.

Sound familiar? Here’s why…

2. New York Magazine last week: “One afternoon in January 2007, Griffin was in NBC News’s Washington bureau when Tim Russert called him into his office. “Griff, you’re gonna have the greatest election of our lifetime, “ Russert told him. “This is going to be fantastic. Own it.”  The previous fall, Griffin debuted a new tagline — “The Place for Politics” — a phrase Russert had happened to say on the air.” Full story here.

By the way… speaking of getting ideas this way, remember how Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough was hired?

3. St. Pete Times reported in 2003: “Scarborough remembered his response last year when MSNBC’s Griffin – jazzed by Scarborough’s appearance as a guest on “Hardball” and aware of his work as a guest host on “Crossfire” and “Hannity and Colmes” – asked if he wanted his own show.” Full story here.