Last Friday night, ABC news executives bumped a 20/20 piece by John Stossel about health care in favor of more Michael Jackson coverage. Apparently, Mr. Stossel was not amused. Afterwards, he vented on an ABC News blog.
“Yes, I am sick of the Michael Jackson coverage,” he wrote. “I hate it that ABC didn’t run my piece. Free markets sometimes encourage pandering to the masses. I still say, bless the market.”
Sure enough, when it comes to Michael Jackson coverage, the fabulously gloved, er, invisible hand of the free market dictates more coverage, no matter how much perfunctory teeth gnashing it inspires from critics.
Here are some of the numbers that were facing ABC News executivs when deliberating between Stossel’s heath care piece or more MJ news.
Total viewers for ABC News recent 10 p.m. health care special, Questions for the President: 4.7 million viewers.
Subsquent Nightline audience: 4.25 million viewers.
Total viewers for ABC News’ 9 p.m. The Life and Death of Michael Jackson: 5.7 million viewers.
Subsequent Nightline audience: 5.26 million viewers.