MSNBC: "Yep, We're Liberals!"

Earlier this week, I did a post about Twitter coming out of the ad closet, but here's another example of a media brand finally coming to terms with what it is: MSNBC.

What? They didn't realize they were left-leaning these past few years? Well, not exactly. But now it looks like the network is finally comfortable enough with its positioning to put a stake in the ground as being the antidote to Fox News in a more forthright way than it has up until now. (The cautionary tale of centrist CNN's sagging ratings probably helped.) This has played out in two ways during the past week:

First, the network has replaced its noncommittal -- and, frankly, inaccurate -- "The Place for Politics" slogan with the new tagline "Lean Forward." That theme brushes up against the point, but the ad on the (whoops!) right, which says "Some Things Are Best Left Said," gets right (whoops again!) to it: we are the "news" channel for liberals.

Actually, I find the second part of MSNBC's coming out more interesting. Though it hasn't happened yet -- but, trust me, it will -- the network is thinking of changing the name of because it's a straight news site that doesn't fit in with the MSNBC brand -- or, with NBC News, the sibling down-the-middle news brand that is the force behind most of the site's content. Per The New York Times, it's possible would be renamed and the new would become a playground for the cable net's stars, like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. It should be noted that this need for a Web site switch-er-oo is a problem Fox News has never had because it doesn't have a decades-old, legacy news brand to protect.

It will be interesting to see if this public acknowledgment of its long-time positioning will have any effect on MSNBC's ratings. My guess is not, as this seems like a case where the network brass is the last one in on the secret -- the rest of us have already positioned the network ourselves. On the other hand, if CNN's new slate -- like the so-far ratings challenged Parker/Spitzer -- doesn't make the grade, well, we'll see.