Have a look at the top of the Politico house ad above, from Monday’s print edition. See that asterisk? Now that’s transparency.

Not long ago the all-politics-all-the-time organ showed a less honorable approach to asterisk visibility, as per the image below, from a November edition of the paper.

The change from a hazy, blue backdrop to a bright, white one helps the reader figure out not only that there’s an asterisk but also that it’s attached to one whopper of a qualification. From the Jan. 23 paper:

If Washington could read only one publication it would be POLITICO*

*Results versus CQ Weekly, The Hill, National Journal and Roll Call.

Now that’d take some doing: Arrange a scenario in which a person’s only reading choices consist of five Capitol Hill-oriented publications. Coercion or perhaps a locked cell would have to play a role.

There’s a brighter side, however, and it relates to Politico’s clever twist of logic-in-service-of-self-congratulation. If the paper can say it’s the No. 1 preference of Washington readers among four competitors, then I can say I’m the No. 1 tennis player in the world among my closest friends. Thanks, Politico!