Since the early days of CNN's "Crossfire," cable news has relied on strong personalities to keep drama high and viewers tuned in throughout the day, when news isn't always exciting enough to keep the audience's attention. Passionate debate can make for great television -- and terrific ratings.
But some found this level of personal bickering hard to watch.
"My reaction to that is: 'Grow up!' They have to just grow up," said Connie Chung, a former MSNBC host and former co-anchor of "CBS Evening News."
The network's chief played down the acrimony. "Look, I want honest, authentic people on our air. I don't want phonies. So if the price of that is every once in a while one of these bubbles up, I'm not concerned," said MSNBC President Phil Griffin.
"Like any good manager, I give and I take and I massage and I deal with it," he added, "but the fact of the matter is this is what we want: a diverse, fun, rough-and-tumble look at politics."