Michael Jackson has been laid to rest. There have been scores of opinions about the amount of attention given his life and his death. So why have the networks and even our own news organization given Michael Jackson so much air time? As a role model, he lacked in many ways but as one who impacted culture, there was no equal. Few individuals have touched more lives on this planet and his influence spanned at least two generations. It is no surprise, then, that audience ratings for the numerous programs about the singer's death have been huge. Much of his music made us smile and his videos became adventures in special effects that evolved the music industry into the visual age. We may not like his behavior but we cannot debate what he meant to so many worldwide. So as long as there is an appetite for information about Michael Jackson, there will be suppliers. His life and death is a testimony to the power of music and the visual medium. So as we all near the point of news coverage overload, we should pause and seek the influences on today's generation and check them on the barometers of character, honesty and integrity. Someone or something will have a similar impact on generations to come and we need to do what we can to ensure that influence is positive and that will make for a Better East Texas.