[I was arguing about why people care over at one of my favorite blogs, so I thought I’d cross-post this for prosperity/recycling, since I think it makes a neglected point.]
I don’t think you can discount the circumstances. The development of the story was more suspenseful than your typical sordid famous-person meltdown. If it had started with TMZ EXCLUSIVE PARTY GIRL TOTALLY DID IT WITH TIGER, I don’t think it would have the same legs. But it started as a mystery, and then got racy, and then got weird, and then got almost self-parodically excessive in its sordid details. This is an extremely underrated aspect of the reach of public scandals – they develop along their own lines, and the development is its own narrative. This is part of why they say “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up”; cover-ups practically guarantee a mystery/thriller-like narrative. And this story was practically symphonic in its development.
Image of retrospectively entertaining Accenture ad via atis547.