Wild Girls Rate, Bad Boys Skate

Media swarm Britney, Amy, but leave Heath, Kiefer in peace
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2008 8:39 AM CST
In this image released by "Entertainment Tonight", Britney Spears is wheeled out of the ambulance on a gurney at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in this Jan. 3, 2008, file photo in Los Angeles. Spears is...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – There's a clear gender disparity in the obsessive media coverage of celebrity meltdowns, writes the New York Times. Just compare the relative restraint Entertainment Tonight exercised in holding back a video of Heath Ledger doing drugs with the news outlet gusto that greets the latest Amy Winehouse or Lindsay Lohan misbehavior. Or compare Kiefer Sutherland's jail stint to Paris Hilton's.

When Owen Wilson had a breakdown, the media pounced and then moved on; the death grip the paparazzi has on the Britney Spears saga has prompted fears for the singer's safety. Why the focus on women? Market research: 90% of People's readership is female, and women like to compare misfortunes with other gals, but feel protective for struggling bad boys.