The all-Anna-all-the-time formula cable news networks embraced after the heiress' death was not the sin against the intellect commentators are bemoaning, argues Slate columnist Jack Schafer. In fact, he says, viewers may have actually learned something from the in-depth coverage of the complex legal issues surrounding Smith.
After all, the story was a labyrinth of potential baby-daddies, lawsuits, and forensics most people would never otherwise enter, and quarter-hourly updates were justified in guiding the way. Besides, 200 million couch potatoes can't be wrong, can they? "Perhaps the Smith coverage doesn't advance democracy... but giving the audience what it wants shouldn't automatically be considered a crime."