K5 has a great essay on the media formula known as the Horrible National Tragedy and how it applies to the space shuttle ‘disaster’. Great comment from Metafilter:
Here in St. Louis – one of the grand old churches on the South Side was on fire. The firemen got the fire under control before the masonry started crumbling, but then the news helicopters showed up, fanned the embers, and *poof* the fire was ragin’ again. [A] local kid who pulled the camera away and told the newsperson “why don’t you fucking leave these peple to their grief” was on live television.