Talk Radio/TV Shows' shared "Talking Points"

As is well known, it seems all the talk shows on radio and TV talk about, for the most part, exactly the same thing on a given day as all the other shows do.

I can think of a couple of theories to account for this:

  1. The people scripting the shows are all using the same methodology to determine, each for themselves, which will be the most ratings-generating topics for the day.
  2. There is a single source distributing so-called “talking points” to all of these shows.

My questions:

A. What other theories might account for the phenomenon
B. My second theory is one I hear espoused by others quite a bit, and I’ve often wondered, is there clear evidence that there really is a central source for talking points? Or is this just speculation?


I should also note that the similarities between the shows go beyond topic lists, but also involve turns of phrase and argument forms. This makes my second theory look a little more likely than the first, to me, but I can still see a modified version of the first theory being plausible.

So, anyway, discuss away. By the way, if anyone can adduce examples supporting the kind of claims I’m echoing here (or arguments against the idea that there is a real phenomenon here,) that would be appreciated as well.


The three networks + Fox have access to the same news material at about the same instant.
Their talking points are thus the major stories in the current status of affairs. Fox being a maverick goes its own but somewhat similar way.
Just my take on it all. :wink:

By “talk radio and TV” I take it you mean the politically oriented and current event-type shows, rather than the Springer/Oprah/Montel type of shows.

The answer is simple: A) what’s making news and B) what the producers see as what’s making news.

By “what the producers see” I mean their perception of “news.” Shows that focus on political discussion pretty much focus on the political aspect of every event, no matter what their philosophical leanings. If Hillary Rodham Clinton makes a speech about Iraq, it’s going to be of great interest to the Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaughs, Al Frankens and Sean Hannitys out there – maybe not so much to you or me.

I do not think this phenomenon is either evidence of a conspiracy or even necessarily a bad thing.