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February 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The blanket coverage of Whitney Houston’s death became a topic of some contention on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday. Host Howard Kurtz opened the discussion by asking the panelists, “Is the Whitney Houston story worth that kind of coverage?” Kurtz appeared to express surprise that the coverage, “especially on cable” received “wall to wall” attention by the news media as soon as the word was out that she was dead. “From what I have seen on the air this morning it is very much continuing at an intense pace.” Later Kurtz acknowledged that Houston “was a huge musical star more than a decade ago — two decades ago — and in the last decade she’s really been the star of a soap opera, the soap opera of the problems in her life.” But Eric Deggans, media critic of the Tampa Bay Times pointed out that Houston was enormously influential. She “formed a template that every diva we’ve seen in the past 20 years has followed,” he said. Saturdays are, of course, generally the lightest of news days, and it would have been hard to find another story on that day that would have come close to equaling Houston’s death in importance or interest.