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News commandment: Thou shalt not worship -- or even acknowledge -- a rival network's false Idol

Thousands hit Texas Stadium Monday for American Idol auditions. Fox4's Megan Henderson sweated it out while rival stations were no-shows on their 10 p.m. newscasts. Photos from Fox4 Web site.

Does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if no one hears it?

Were Monday's jam-packed, traffic-stalling American Idol auditions at Texas Stadium a story if the show isn't on your network?

Somewhere there's a happy medium, which none of D-FW's four major TV news providers managed to locate.

NBC5, Belo8 and CBS11 acted as if nothing at all had happened. Their collective 10 p.m. newscasts made no mention of an event that drew an estimated 12,500 good, bad and ugly singers hoping to make some kind of mark on America's most popular TV show.

Fox4 in contrast covered the scene as though it were the second coming of Christ -- or at least a flying saucer landing. The station saturated Monday's Good Day with Idol live shots. And more than half of that night's 9 p.m. local newscast -- including the entire second half-hour -- fell prey to Idol piffle. As noted earlier on unclebarky.com, Fox4 both profited and lost with such coverage. Sometimes you just have to know when to stop. Or at least start.

NBC5, Belo8 and CBS11 all looked petty and penny ante in blanking Idol from their 10 p.m. shows. This was a legitimate huge event meriting at least a 15-second "kicker" at newscast's end. But Idol's on a rival network, so let's just pretend it doesn't exist.

Imagine, though, if one of the sweltering auditioners had died of heatstroke during summer's hottest day so far. Now we've got ourselves a story at the expense of a competitor. It's easy to envision Belo8 gumshoe Byron Harris, the scourge of Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" series, decrying how tender human flesh had been sacrificed on the altar of a soulless, profit-making television show. And that would be just the first of a six-part series.

It was a bit different back on November 15, when former Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith won ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Belo8, an ABC affiliate, couldn't get enough of that one, dispatching "Why Guy" Mike Castelucci to Los Angeles to step in all the latest poop. But Fox4 and CBS11 at least reported Smith's triumph on their 10 p.m. newscasts that night. Not so NBC5, which steadfastly refused to play along even for a second. It did, however, have a story on the latest dangers posed by sugary drinks.

Whether going to extremes or in extreme denial, stations continue to look sophomoric in these instances. It's only news if our network makes it. Period. End of story.

This rationale led Fox4 to spill Idol all over itself, reporting with all the dexterity of a kid eating cake and ice cream on his or her first birthday. Among those in on the Idol action Monday were Megan Henderson, Maria Sotolongo, Dan Godwin, Steve Noviello, Brandon Todd, James Rose, Heather Hays, Celena Rae and even sports anchor Mike Doocy.

Crooner Mike Doocy and come hither Heather Hays

The Deuce, reporting from Cowboys training camp in San Antonio, couldn't resist slapping on an Idol auditioner placard before performing his version of Frank Sinatra singing Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely?" Now if only Dale Hansen would do "I Am the Walrus."

Doocy did, however, seem to understand this was mostly a load of crap.

"Everybody here is talking about American Idol -- mostly because I'm asking 'em about it," he told a back-in-Dallas threesome of Hays, Sotolongo and Rae. He then goofed on "the Idol fever that has gripped muggy San Antonio." Hoo-hah.

Fox4's specially decorated "Idol Insider" studio included a poster subtly emblazoned with "The Dream Is Back." Hays, Sotolongo and Rae, the now very tiresome Idol finalist from Season 4, sat in swivel chairs and spread it thick for a full half-hour.

"It was so hot," said Rae. "I can't believe they were just crowded together like that."

Rae also described the throngs as kind of "somber." For some reason, she said, "there were very few people singing unless we came up with a camera."

Oh really.

Anyway, it's done for now. Take it from correspondent Brandon Todd, who was sentenced to Texas Stadium for much of Monday. At 9:32 p.m. that night he pronounced, "I can officially tell you the American Idol auditions for Dallas are over."

Oh happy day.