What is worth considering is that Mandela's fame grew throughout the years when the South African government blocked his image from being shown or him being quoted in the press. His legend blossomed in the absence of press coverage, even as now it may be diminished by the expected media oversaturation that will follow his death.
I have been covering the South African story for many years and recall, with disgust, the many calls I received from TV program bookers who heard I had made films with Mandela and thought I could get them what is known in the trade as " the big get, " an exclusive interview.
When I pressed the callers on what they wanted to learn, I was told, just having him on was as important as anything he might have to say.
They were like the big white African hunters who saw him as game, just another "personality" to buttress their wannabe credibility.
Who knows? For them, bagging such big prey could lead to a raise.
Meanwhile, the TV Networks have to staff the their round the clock stakeouts. That's why Nelson Mandela is known among journos as an "FBR," the freelancers best friend. You can bet that once Mandela is gone, so will be their interest in South Africa.
News Dissector Danny Schechter is a writer and filmmaker who is working in South Africa on a documentary about the forthcoming Mandela bio-pic Long Walk To Freedom. He blogs at Newsdissector.net and edits Mediachannel.org.