A LIBERAL DOSE
Brace for impact. A new MSNBC promotional campaign is now under way, and it has been fomenting since last fall. The brusque outreach expands on the network’s neutral sounding “Lean Forward” motto, pushing phrases such as “enough with the arguments, it’s time to advance the issues.” That in mind, Hollywood director Spike Lee coaxed a series of “unscripted” video spots from hosts Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz, to air in the nation’s theaters, on assorted NBC and MSNBC media platforms, and in major print and digital ads.
But it is liberal and progressive thinking that gets the big boost, though MSNBC wraps the pitches with noble-minded polling data that suggests Americans are “optimistic” about their nation. There is also a sense that the network is intent on reviving some of the old “hope and change” mindset of yore. Ms. Maddow holds forth on “America’s greatness.” Mr. Matthews insists Republicans don’t think President Obama is “as American” as they are, while Mr. Schultz contends that healthcare reform is not liberal enough.
“These ads are unlike anything else. They are mini-documentaries that express the passion of our primetime hosts. You’re able to truly learn what drives them,” explains MSNBC President Phil Griffin.
“Until now, MSNBC’s ‘Lean Forward’ ad campaign had largely avoided wearing the network’s leftward slant as a badge of pride,” counters Ken Shepherd, managing editor of Newsbusters.org. “Sure, there were hints here and there that ‘Lean Forward’ really means ‘left-leaning,’ but the older ads were subtle compared to the latest batch which beat you over the head