I want you to carry out a little experiment in observation. For this little practical exercise I want you think about the daily offering of daily news on the television screens, radio stations – not the Internet.
Have you noticed that it doesn’t matter which channel you switch to…the main news items are identical?
Oh yes, the delivery is different. The BBC prefers a traditional look, Channel 4 serious and sobre and Sky just has to sexify everything. But if you forget the look and focus on content you will find a surprising correlation. In fact, if you simply switch between BBC News 24 and Sky News on the hour you will find a mesmerising similarity.
The population of the UK is something like 60 million. How many stories do you think there are at any given moment? I don’t know the exact number, but I guess there are a lot! Then why is it that out of the dozen or so stories that air each day they are virtually the same?
In fact, the only items that tend to be different are the quirky “And Finally” stories…and I imagine they are memorable, because they are different.
I don’t know the statistical probability of a news item being picked up by different stations on a given day, but I imagine it is an even lower probability if you consider this happens every single day of the year.
So where does this consensus come from? Do all the news editors in Britain sit down each day over breakfast in London and haggle with each other until they come to agreement and sent out white smoke up a chimney so that the world knows a consensus was reached? No. They don’t. Yet, like clockwork every single day, the lead news item is always the same.