I think it's much simpler than this. Sure, if you're choosing between Maddow or O'Reilly, then you're choosing between political viewpoints. But during most hours of the day, if you turn to any cable news channel, you're going to get things like balloon boy. Who does balloon boy better? Fox. They have more eye-catching and interesting sets, their news is better produced (aesthetically and technically), their graphics are flashier, their anchors/commentators are witty, etc. etc. I think it's these sorts of things that catch the channel-surfers.