It's hard to say. Many are suggesting it's MSNBC's way of trying to distance itself from FOX News. A way of saying, "See, we do have standards!" For me, the question is the timing. I have a hard time believing it was coincidence. No, my guess is it was damage control for MSNBC's deplorable election night coverage that has drawn criticism from across the board. No pretense of objectivity existed, as a panel of liberals mocked, ridiculed, laughed at, and derided Republican after Republican. Chris Matthew's interview of Michelle Bachmann was, of course, the low point of the night. And that's saying something, given how low the night already was. It consisted of anchors and hosts acting like pre-adolescents in an elementary school coat room making fun of the teachers. And of course, only making fun of the Republican/Conservative teachers.
Because the condemnation was so swift, and encompassed voices from the Left side of the aisle, MSNBC had to do something. So it picked its most flagrant liberal voice, a voice who is essentially the Sean Hannity of MSNBC, and sacrificed him on the altar. Whether they let him back or not, we'll have to see. But I think this was far less about MSNBC trying, suddenly and for no other apparent reason, to distance itself from FOX, but a clear attempt to clean up the verbal defecation that resulted from possibly the most embarrassingly bad election night coverage since the invention of Cuneiform.