I don't know if this makes me right or wrong, but I found a news article that addresses my concerns over the enormous media attention devoted to the death of NBC's Tim Russert.
Hey, I liked the guy. I watched his show. He was a really tough, fair interviewer. But he wasn't president of the United States, a famous inventor or even someone who changed history.
So why all the public handwringing? Well, maybe because he was a big media guy and the big media control the microphone.
This article from Slate goes into even more detail on the issue.