My mom and I refer to MSNBC as “MS-LSD” because she’s so hopelessly addicted to its programming. She works from home, and every day she gets up at 4:30 am, flips on MSNBC, and leaves it there until she goes to sleep at night (before Lockup starts). She doesn’t even like MSNBC that much, but she has the psychological dependence of a junkie. Few know the network better. So I figured she was the perfect candidate to rank the network’s personalities. I recently gave her a call and asked for her off-the-cuff opinion of all 23 of them.

1 Rachel Maddow

“Rachel Maddow is a national treasure. Seriously, she’s our best hope when it comes to the media. No one else on television is as smart and honest and righteous as Rachel, no one else cuts through the bullshit as well as she does and explains, thoughtfully, how things are really happening in this country. I love the way she gets on and just starts talking to me. She’s so intelligent. She has a detailed story to tell every night and I love the enthusiasm with which she tells it. I think she’s a really important public figure. I don’t even think it’s exaggerating to say that she’s important to our democracy. I have so much respect for the work she does. And on a personal level, I love how she laughs, how good natured she is, how much she respects her guests. I would love to have her over to my house, and I wouldn’t say that about 99% of people I see on TV.”

2 Chris Hayes

“LOVE him. SO smart. His brain works so quickly in conversation, he thinks faster than the person he’s interviewing. He’s always ahead of his guest and it doesn’t always work that well because they’re waiting to give talking points, and he’s off on some intellectual rabbit chase. His responsiveness is incredible. Amazing intellect…He kinda talks like a bro, he talks like a young person, not some old pundit stuffed shirt dick like we always have to listen to. His references are contemporary, he’s young. I think he’s an amazing talent, I really do. The criticisms people have of him are so unfair, oh he looks so uncomfortable in a suit, shit like that, are you kidding me? Chris is my boy.”

3 Jose Diaz-Balart

“Loooove him. THE nicest man on television. He has made conversational niceties into an art form. He is so appreciative of all his guests’ presence and makes sure they know that. He makes us feel as audience members that he’s so happy we’re joining him. He also covers more of a Hispanic world and has more insight than anyone. He’s a much needed voice on that network. And a really pleasant one, a really lovely man, I’m impressed.”

4 Steve Kornacki

“He’s a wonk’s wonk. He should replace Chris Matthews. When he substitutes for Matthews he does so much better because it’s not all about Steve, its about the topic at hand, it’s not just the Chris Matthews ego show, it’s actually Hardball. I love Steve’s game show segment, Up Against the Clock, it’s my favorite part of his show because you get to see how smart or dumb these other media people are. My only complaint about Steve Kornacki is that he’s a little too obsessed with the horserace.”

5 Ed Schultz

“Ed’s my man. People really seem to hate him, especially on the East Coast. They see him as a liberal Rush Limbaugh because he’s a big guy who raises his voice sometimes. They don’t think he’s respectable, or civilized. It’s a crock. The thing about Ed Schultz is: he gets it. And by it, I mean he has an idea of what it’s like to be a real American. Ed Schultz, more than any other MSNBC personality, has made a career by championing the average working man, the poor schmucks who most of the media world could not give less of a fuck about. He’s derided for not being polite, as if politeness and courtesy is the appropriate response to the systematic screwing-over of working Americans. Ed Schultz gets mad. And he should. Everything is rigged against normal people, and he engages with that on a more immediate, emotional level than anyone else on MSNBC. And I love that he has Bernie Sanders on his show all the time.”

6 Tamron Hall

“I respect the hell out of her, she works her ass off, and has for years. I never watch her on the Today Show because I think that show is complete and utter bullshit, but I love the way she doesn’t let anyone put her down or give her any shit. She very respectfully calls people out. I love the way she talks about her mom, who watches her every single day. She can’t figure out why she isn’t married yet and doesn’t have children. Obviously every man in New York is so intimidated by Tamron that they dont dare ask her out on a date. She’s too gorgeous. I think she’s a positive force on this earth.”

7 Thomas Roberts

“He’s a really sweet man, a nice person. And he’s gorgeous, hello! He and his husband are just fab. He’s just Mr. Handsome, very liberal, a star. Whenever he’s on Morning Joe, he’s the voice of reason. I’m really pissed he’s not on Way Too Early anymore. That was the highlight of my morning. Now I wake up at 4:30 and get Luke Russert, which is a real buzzkill.”

8 Krystal Ball

“Krystal Ball is an intense political animal with a firm grasp of policy issues. And she has a sense of humor to boot. She makes Abby Huntsman look like a toddler.”

9 JJ Ramberg

“I actually love her show. I watch it frequently. She’s their business person. I watch it before East Enders on Saturday morning. She’s about small business more than big finance, unlike those awful money honies on CNBC. She has an elevator pitch segment where somebody gets to come on the show and give a 60 second pitch for their company and why they want investment. She goes to trade shows. They go into small businesses and give them makeovers. Awesome show.”

10 Ari Melber

“I like Ari Melber. He is obviously very bright and he brings a good legal angle to his commentary because he’s also a lawyer. He’s slightly sarcastic, but he’s not an asshole. He’s dry. He teases Abby Huntsman, but in a good-natured, intellectual way, not a sexist one.”

11 Betty Nguyen

“I really like Betty Nguyen. She has one of the loveliest voices of any woman on television. Betty’s great. She’s a very good news reader.”


12 Alex Wagner

“Alex Wagner is fine.”

13 Al Sharpton

“I really don’t have a problem with the guy like a lot of people do, I think he has an important voice, I’m glad he has a show, even if i don’t watch it very often. I don’t get why everyone hates him so much for being an advocate for black people. Everyone scoffs at him. It’s pretty racist.”

14 Toure

“He’s okay.”

15 Abby Huntsman

“Abby Huntsman is stunning, she looks so fucking good, and she doesn’t make a complete fool of herself. She’s actually pretty thoughtful sometimes. I think she misses the point half the time, but as a Republican, she’s about our best hope. In any case, I like her WAY better than that terrible SE Cupp.”

16 Alex Witt

“Nobody quite gets why she is on the network. She doesn’t really fit. She does her job well enough but she’s kind of a drip.”

17 Lawrence O’Donnell

“I’m not a big fan. He’s often wrong. He’s sooooo inside baseball in the congressional world, he really believes in the whole Tip O’neill, everyone work together thing, as if the Republicans are a serious party or something. He can sometimes give a pretty hard hitting interview though, and I don’t think he’s a bad guy, he just kind of bores me, I rarely watch his show with any interest.”

18 Andrea Mitchell

“Eh. I have to admire her to some degree because she works her ass off and has for years, so I have some respect for her as a reporter. She treats journalism pretty seriously but she’s wayyyyy too inside the village. She doesn’t ask the important people the tough questions. She has access, she is very nice to the decision makers. And of course she’s married to that awful, soulless husk of evil Alan Greenspan, which is a serious mark against her. This isn’t really relevant, but she looks EXACTLY like Polly Purebred.”

19 Willie Geist

“Nepotism. What else is there to say? That’s all I have. Willie embarrasses me. Why do I have such contempt for Willie Giest? Mostly because of nepotism. He really doesn’t have that much to add or offer, he’s just sort of there. Willie Giest is Phil Griffin’s non-threatening prototype of what a young person should be.I would love to see Chris Hayes and Willie Geist at the bar having a talk about something. I have a feeling Willie would sort of fade into the barstool. I just don’t think he has any intellectual heft or any gravitas. What does he got? Freckles, he has freckles. He never ever ever challenges Joe. When he says something on MoJo his eyes will turn to Joe for permission to see if he can go further. Mika does it too. It’s a true Patriarchy that Morning Joe.”

20 Mika Brzezinski

“Oh boy. Where do I even start with that woman? My basic problem with Mika is that Joe treats her like shit, and she smiles. I hate the way she monetized feminism, supposedly out there standing up for the women, but I think she just makes a lot of money. She embarrasses me for womanhood. She exploits women and she allows herself to be exploited. She uses her femininity in a really creepy way to me. The Vanity Fair photo: Look at the way she’s looking at him, look at the shit ass grin, that’s all I need to say about her, that photo sums her up. She claims to care about women and issues, but what she really cares about is making money and making sure that everyone thinks she’s hot and has nice legs. She’s a blond bimbo playing as a feminist and it really offends me. And that’s to say nothing about the nepotism thing. Why is she on television?”

21 Chris Matthews

“No one makes the day’s news more about themselves than Chris Matthews. He’s an egomaniac and a bloviator. His ego is incomprehensibly large. Obviously he gets paid way too much, he really thinks he’s an important figure, it’s so embarrassing. I hate the way he yells over his guests like a patriarchal father, especially his women guests, and especially the younger ones. He is a complete and utter boob with women. And he’s so obsessed with power and influence. He finds power admirable. He thinks politics is a sport, an end in its own right. It’s sick, really. People like him are the problem. I loved it so much when Jon Stewart took him down for his “Life is a Campaign” bullshit….Chris Matthews is also a huge starfucker. He worships celebrity and has such a boner for the Kennedys it’s ridiculous. He is a really bad host. And god, he looks so much like Tweety Bird.”

22 Joe Scarborough

“Oh my god, what a fucking prick. What a classic entitled white male Catholic asshole. I blame his mother because obviously he was her favorite little boy, and we have to pay for it every morning. His mother really should have said no once and a while. He thinks he’s so cute and hip. He’s a frat boy. He gets paid to be a jerk. He shouts over everyone and has temper tantrums. He’s usually completely and utterly full of shit and wrong, but he’s very adamant about whatever it is, all the time. He starts in and I immediately hit mute or change the channel. He raises my blood pressure. Morning Joe is SUCH a bad show. When he’s not doing his gross sexualized teasing of Mika he’s bashing the poor and the unions and Social Security. And he’s supposed to be a moderate, as if. He thinks he’s progressive because he doesn’t hate gays or something. MoJo is just a Beltway circle jerk. Yeah Joe, let’s bring Bill Kristol onto the show, his opinion really counts. I really want to hear what Donny Deutsch and Mike Barnacle think of the day’s news. Give me a break. I love that his ratings suck. If I ever saw him in person I think I’d just start laughing really hard.”


I love my mom.