All that pageant footage and those not-quite-topless photos were simply too much for the cable news networks to resist: Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN all went live with coverage of megalomaniac Donald Trump ruling on whether Miss California, Carrie Prejean, could retain her Miss USA Runner-Up title.

Prejean Of course, all this was manna from heaven for Trump, organizer of the pageant, who at least wasn’t being asked about “The Celebrity Apprentice’s” mediocre ratings or the real-estate holdings bearing his name that are going south in Mexico. (The Los Angeles Times recently detailed the problems surrounding the Trump-branded Baja project.) 

Oh, and speaking of the Times, let the record show that its awards blogger, Tom O’Neil, was among the media hordes who actually appeared to lend his “expert” opinion to the conversation. And the award for media whoring goes to….

Seriously, Tom, I know everyone wants to be on TV, but when the call is from MSNBC and the topic is as inane as this, maybe it’s time to just say “No.”

Because Trump was late (keep ’em waiting, Donald!), the spectacle was magnified by having the networks cut back and forth between more serious news — a soldier murdering several others in Iraq, the budget debate, the release of a jailed journalist in Iran — to kill time until Trump made his appearance. Notably, while CNN cut away a few minutes before the press conference ended, Fox and MSNBC stayed until the bitter end, proving there is something the two can agree on.

“They were fine,” Trump said of the controversial (not really) modeling pictures of Prejean that surfaced, which Fox and MSNBC helpfully posted next to her while she spoke.

“I would like to thank Mr. Trump for believing in me,” Prejean said, amid the sort of blinding flash of cameras that would have sent King Kong into a blind rage.

“Most importantly, I would like to thank God,” Prejean said, proceeding to talk about her grandfather fighting in World War II to safeguard her freedoms — no, seriously, she really did — as she fought back tears.

“Think about how much better our society would be if we could just agree to disagree,” Prejean said as she closed her prepared remarks. Wow, out of the mouths of babes. Meanwhile, she will be awarded for her principled stand with an appearance on Fox’s “Hannity.”

Asked why the controversy had blown up, Trump awkwardly nailed the answer by saying it was all because Prejean is so beautiful. “That’s the way the press works,” he said, cracking a mischievous smile before adding, “You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

“Can I vomit right now?” MSNBC correspondent David Shuster said immediately afterward. That’s a rhetorical question, right?

Somehow, I have a pretty good feeling that I just watched the lead segment on the May 12 edition of “The Daily Show.”