Were those celebrity deaths really the most important events of June 25, 2009? The American news media really thinks so, and I can't recall the networks giving themselves over so completely to mourning since Ronald Reagan croaked. This is inevitable, I suppose, in a news industry governed by the competitive imperative to give people what they want rather than the journalistic imperative to tell them what someone thinks they should know. News now is almost purely an entertainment medium. If any of the networks had the indoctrinaire agendas ascribed to them, they would not have gone off message for celebrities' sake. Keith Olbermann showed his true interest by commandeering MSNBC before and after his allotted time, as if this was going to be "his" defining news event. I didn't stay with it, so I don't know if he did a "special commentary" on the national tragedies. The other news channels were no better, and as for the major networks, CBS deserves props for at least sticking to its normal schedule until CSI was over before joining the funereal procession.
For my part, I couldn't suppress a gravely cynical thought that occurred to me the moment I heard the news of the second death: Ryan O'Neal must be really pissed to have his moment in the spotlight stolen like this. I'm sorry, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em. Condemn me now if you like.