NEW YORK – Celebrities behaving badly? If you don't care, you have company.
The vast majority of Americans believe there is too much news coverage of celebrity scandals, and most blame the media for the attention paid to the stars' trials and tribulations, a new survey has found.
Nearly nine out of 10 adults said celebrity scandals receive "too much" news coverage, according to a national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Only 2 percent said the subject receives "too little" coverage, and 8 percent said scandals get the "right amount" of press.
The survey also found that 54 percent of those who say celebrity news coverage is excessive blame news organizations. Around one-third of those surveyed found the public at fault for paying attention and 12 percent said the public and the media both are to blame.
"It is a bit of, 'what came first, the chicken or the rotten egg,'" said Jeff Jarvis, who teaches journalism at the City University of New York. "Both are to blame."
The public drives demand by watching and reading about the stars while media outlets compete with coverage "until long after they go too far," he said.
The survey found that 12 percent of the public followed the story of Paris Hilton's brief release from jail in June "more closely than any other," according to the survey.
But people may be showing signs of scandal fatigue. The survey found fewer than 10 percent followed the story on Lindsay Lohan's arrest on a second drunk driving charge "very closely" last week, while around 20 percent followed it "fairly closely."
Jarvis said attention to celebrity scandals might fade, but will not go away. "I think there really can be waves of fatigue, but that comes back the other way," he said.
Data was collected from July 22-30 from a nationally representative sample of 1,027 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent, according to the Pew study.