Early reviews of "Politics Nation" with Al Sharpton on MSNBC were slightly negative, with Entertainment Weekly calling the premiere awkward and unsure of itself. Later, a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist stated the show had won him over, and a Daily Beast columnist proclaimed Sharpton a powerful political voice.
Early reviews mentioned Sharpton's problems with the teleprompter, rambling questions and failure to pronounce the names of his guests correctly. Entertainment Weekly also stated that MSNBC's hiring of Sharpton was merely a ploy to boost ratings. However, the reviewer wrote that there was room for improvement and that Sharpton's charisma could be the key to future success.
The Post-Gazette reviewer wrote that he was prepared to write a negative review of the show but that Sharpton improved. The reviewer said the show was bold and had become one of the most interesting shows on the network.
A columnist with the Daily Beast praised the show for its focus on issues of race. She noted that MSNBC was criticized for choosing Sharpton over a journalist but says he overcame that criticism. The reviewer wrote that Sharpton brings authenticity and deep knowledge of both race and politics. She also applauded the show for tackling the issue of voter suppression.