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Lou Dobbs seemed to have had enough, pledging an Anna Nicole Smith-free hour during his 6-7 p.m. show on CNN Thursday night.

Smith's death is a tragedy that is all too familiar. Her similarity to Marilyn Monroe appeared to extend beyond the platinum hair and hourglass figure to her demise in a Hollywood (Fla.) hotel under circumstances still being investigated.

But the way the story took over the cable news channels seemed out of proportion to its importance in the grand scheme of things. That is the "scheme" that newsfolk are supposed put news in the context of.

It felt as though, one last time, the media was taking advantage of this woman's troubles to grab eyeballs.  Jack Cafferty put the breathless coverage this way. "Is Anna Nicole still dead?" he asked, puckishly, of the unflappable Wolf Blitzer, who did not flap.

Smith had become something of a sad characature,  husband dies, son dies, her weight fodder for reality TV. More to be pitied than ogled, I would argue. The media ogled her to the last.

By John Eggerton

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