does "occupied otherwise"mean "doing other things and not watch the show at that moment?"
Here speed was an asset; before the deceived could spread the deceptions, they themselves had joined the great audience that was forming. Lacking that celerity, lies could have been sown beyond hope of uprooting. Even as it was, most of the 76 million first heard of the tragedy through hearsay. It was a workday. The reputation of daytime television was low; for every housewife who enjoyed the pablum of "Bachelor Father" or "As the World Turns," there were perhaps a score who were occupied otherwise, and who were therefore alerted by her, sometimes at second or third hand. Word-of-mouth was the initial form of communication nearly everywhere, including the White House, whose private news agency was the U.S. Secret Service.