Talking Head Shows: How They Work


Academics disdain “the shouting shows” as they call them. Dismissing the rapid fire debate of the 8-second sound bite. University professors sniff at ordinary talk shows.

Until they are asked.

Then the professors instantly love the glare of blinding lights and lust for a producer’s call.

These days, even the academy is interested in the power of mass marketing through the mass media. As the best channel of distribution to sell ideas and to sell books.


Bill Mahr holding up

Charmaine’s book on

Politically IncorrectHere’s a back story on Charmaine.

The University of Virginia school newspaper did a very nice piece on Charmaine a few years ago.

Some might call it a ‘puff piece.’ But Your Business Blogger only saw it as journalism that finally got it right and lurched into the truth.

Yoest makes appearances on talk shows

by Laura Schmoyer, Cavalier Daily Staff Writer

While perusing her research in Alderman Cafe on Wednesday, Charmaine Yoest is interrupted by her cell phone. It’s the producer of CNN’s “Greenfield at Large,” and she wants Yoest to appear on the show that night to discuss the current state of American patriotism.

“Producers call me at random times and if I don’t take the call, then I might lose the chance to be on the show,” the young, bright-eyed Ph.D. candidate said.

[Charmaine has since earned her doctorate.]

Yoest, a Bradley fellow in the department of government and foreign affairs, is accustomed to receiving calls from television producers without any notice.

She has appeared on a variety of political talk shows, normally invited for a conservative viewpoint.

Her most recent appearance was on Wednesday night’s “Greenfield at Large,” but she also has been a guest on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, “Crossfire” and “Politically Incorrect.”

Frequently called upon to speak as an expert on family or women’s issues, Yoest rarely turns down an opportunity to voice her opinions on-air.

“It gives me a chance to talk about issues that I really care about,” Yoest said.

Some of Yoest’s colleagues are impressed with her composure on television.

“I am amazed at how calm she is in front of millions of people,” said Steven Rhoads, Yoest’s advisor who is a government and foreign affairs professor. “Most would be more nervous in her situation.”

Yoest fist was asked to appear on television 10 years ago after a producer spotted her work in Policy Review and USA Today.

Because of her lack of experience, Yoest was canceled five times in a row before she spoke for the first time on “CNN & Company.”

Continue reading at the jump


Thank you (foot)notes:

The following article first appeared on Friday, February 08, 2002 in The Cavalier Daily.

“They want someone who knows what they are doing,” Yoest said. “They want to know that you are not going to freeze up on-air.”

Since her initial appearance on CNN, Yoest has become a frequent member of the panel of scholars and celebrities on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher. Her most recent appearance was Jan. 24. The producers of the show first contacted Yoest during the Clinton impeachment scandal because of her unique background as a former White House intern and her current reputation as a respected political analyst.

“I enjoy the show,” Yoest said. “It is a terrific idea to translate political issues into a more public debate.”

Despite the political tension on the show, Yoest said she enjoys working with host Maher.

“Bill Maher is very friendly off the set,” she said. “He has an intellectual honesty and I appreciate that about him. Although we disagree about most things, I enjoy debating him.”

Political talk show appearances are not glamorous, despite the opportunity to meet and mix with celebrities, Yoest said. One celebrity she enjoyed working with on the show is actor Jason Alexander.

[The real action is in the green room, a holding pen to corral guests before a show.]

She said that a large amount of time is spent preparing arguments, given that each guest has a limited amount of talk time to make his or her point.

“I am always representing someone or some organization and I want to do that well,” she said. “I would like to put forth an intellectual argument that is compelling and challenging and I hope to reflect well on the University.”

Yoest recently taught an undergraduate seminar for the government and foreign affairs department called “Politics and the Family.”


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