REAL Simple Life Awaits Paris

After a surprise visit to the MTV Awards show, Paris Hilton turned herself in to sheriff's deputies late last night.

Saying “I'm ready to face my sentence” – three weeks in jail for a probation violation – the hotel heiress and star of MTV's Simple Life has ended her quest to get out of punishment and is facing the consequences of her actions.

Hilton reportedly turned herself in to a county jail in Lynwood, California at 11:30 p.m. June 3. Twelve hours later a Google News search revealed more than 2700 hits for the topic “Paris Hilton in Jail,” all posted within the last 24 hours, proving yet again how much the media love a celebrity in trouble.

Hilton's journey to the cell block has been the stuff of headlines.  From her initial arrest for driving with a suspended license which sparked the parole violation, Paris has used the media to plead for mercy.  She called the initial 45-day sentence “cruel” and something she didn't deserve. She fired her publicist.

The ploy did not work well.  Hilton, who has received more headlines for her antics than she has for her talent, garnered very little sympathy.  Even her plea for a pardon from California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fell on deaf ears, except for the press, which gleefully has reported every twist and turn in the saga.

Miss Hilton finally had no alternative but to take responsibility for breaking the law.  A sheriff's spokesman quoted by the Associated Press said she was “helpful,” “focused” and “cooperative.” Hilton will be housed in a “special needs” unit of the jail reportedly reserved for celebrities, public officials or other high profile inmates.  Her original sentence of 45 days has been cut to three weeks, due to overcrowding in the facility.

According to the Associated Press, Hilton said she declined an opportunity to pay a room and board fee to be housed in a smaller, more private jail.  “…I feel like the media portrays me in a way that I'm not and that's why I wanted to go to county (jail), to show that I can do it and I'm going to be treated like everyone else.  I'm going to do the time, I'm going to do it the right way.”

AP reports that Hilton's publicist, Elliot Mintz, said that Hilton's mother, Kathy, hopes the “time alone” will help Paris “think and reflect” and “learn from the experience.” It remains to be seen whether her time behind bars will teach the 26-year-old party girl about responsibility and accountability.

And it remains to be seen what the media will make of the Paris-in-jail story in the weeks while the heiress is out of the spotlight.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.