Broken News: Anna Nicole Smith Edition

The sad discovery of a deceased celebrity is certainly worthy of mention in the press. The real sadness, however, is a private matter shared by family and friends. That privacy is intruded upon when media clowns turn the event into a circus. That’s what happened yesterday (and continues today) to Anna Nicole’s family.

If being dignified and respectful isn’t enough reason for reporters to refrain from being exploitive vultures, maybe journalistic professionalism and pride should be considered. The wall-to-wall coverage of Anna Nicole’s passing was entirely out of proportion to its imapct on the lives of news consumers. ThinkProgress compared the handling of this story with another important topic that has far more relevence to the American public.

References to Anna Nicole and Iraq on Cable Networks After 3PM ET:

CNN 141 27
FOX NEWS 112 33
MSNBC 170 24

That’s a pretty heavy overweighting of a tabloid bereavement, especially knowing that dozens of deaths occurred in Iraq the same day, including seven American soldiers.

NBC, though, surpasses all competition for shamelessness by devoting 3 minutes and 13 seconds (14% of their program) on Anna Nicole, and only 14 seconds on Iraq.