There's been a nagging suspicion in many enlightened journalistic quarters that the Michael Jackson story has been massively overplayed in the media, especially by TV news (even NBC Nightly News led with the story most nights last week, which was ridiculous).
The traffic snarls and logistical nightmares that had been feared by police and city officials had not materialized. The thousands of fans with tickets began filing in early and encountered few problems, and traffic was actually considered by police to be lighter than normal.
"I think people got the message to stay home," said California Highway Patrol Officer Miguel Luevano. "When you have people staying home, it clears up those freeways."
Deputy Police Chief Sergio Diaz, operations chief for the event, said authorities had expected a crowd of 250,000. Besides reporters and those with tickets to the memorial service, the crowd around the Staples Center perimeter numbered only about 1,000, he said.