I don’t mean that as an ideological thing. They’re professionally dumb. MSNBC gets terrible ratings. Some of Fox’s repeats beat MSNBC’s prime-time fare. This debate offered the network a golden opportunity to reintroduce themselves to many viewers (including me) who’ve come to ignore them for all the obvious reasons. Instead of offering something like an interesting, balanced, panel. They went with Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell, Eugene Robinson, and Ed Schultz, moderated by Rachel Maddow — with extra commentary from a seemingly drooling Chris Matthews (I particularly liked Al Sharpton sharing his insights on what turns off moderates and independents). In other words they doubled down on their MSNBCness. Anyone who was thinking that maybe they should give the network a second chance probably turned within five minutes. Liberals might respond that Fox does the same thing, except it really doesn’t. They always have at least one Democrat or liberal, particularly for something like a Democratic debate. MSNBC couldn’t even rustle up Joe Scarborough? But even if Fox did, so what? From a business perspective Fox can afford to go with their strengths because they are a ratings juggernaut. MSNBC isn’t. It’s like they’re happy being a runt network.