For some reason, the media woke up today and everyone decided to write article about MSNBC. According to a lot of reports (WSJ, Jossip, Politico) mainly citing unnamed sources (probably all the same ones grousing on the same day), all of the on-air talent is at each others' necks, and there's no adult supervision.
Probably there's some hyperventilating going on, though I have no doubt that Chris Matthews would like to sock Keith Olbermann in the head (or maybe I'm projecting, just cause I'd like to sock Keith Olbermann in the head). Beyond that, there are a lot of sharp egos and personalities on the channel now, including personal crush (kind of) Rachel Maddow.
So will it all work? Maybe. Fox News is just too obnoxious. CNN is for people who have trouble falling asleep. So MSNBC is always where I turn for politics coverage. But I think Portfolio.com's Jeff Bercovici nails it when he says MSNBC will not thrive simply as a left-wing Fox News:
Fox isn't rooted in conservative politics so much as it's rooted in a certain sensibility: populist, patriotic, anti-elitist, loud, fast, aggressive. The politics are a corollary of the sensibility more than the other way around. Everything Fox does is informed by this sensibility; it's why Fox & Friends feels so of a piece with Hannity & Colmes, and why the network is able to vamp so comfortably during lulls in the political news cycle with culture-war and celebrity stories.
Moreover -- and this is key -- everything on Fox is subordinate to this sensibility. If Bill O'Reilly were to go off the reservation, Roger Ailes would just dump him and make a new O'Reilly from scratch.
At MSNBC, it's all different. There's no top-down governing sensibility; whatever sensibility there is has emerged willy-nilly...
The whole thing is worth a read.
Sidenote: This afternoon, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was being interviewd by Tom Brokaw, and he really said that he has MSNBC.com bookmarked, and that he uses it as a key news source. Brokaw, of course, prodded him to say it, but I bet it was total rubbish.