King And Queen Of France Latest Victims Of Internet Experiment

It's like the libel pamphlets from the Revolution, but with Twitter

You may have seen some news concerning French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni, who are supposedly both having affairs (perhaps delivered with the headline, “French People Being French”). How did this fascinating story become a worldwide sensation?

The rumours that both the Sarkozys were having affairs began on Twitter and spread from blog to blog in France in recent days. They appeared, somewhat dismissively, in a blog on the site of the Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, but have never appeared in print in France.

The news magazine L’Express said on its website last night that the rumours had been started by a “journalist intern” or trainee as an exercise to test the gullibility of the media. It said that the reports had been picked up by the blogs of “respected” web journalists but only as a “running gag”. The blogs had, inadvertently, given credence to the rumours and allowed them to make the leap into Italian and British newspapers, which reported this week that “all of France” was chattering about the alleged affairs.

Put this alongside the recent John Roberts retirement rumor and it seems like pretty much every salacious story we read in the media these days is basically somebody trying to prove how easy it is to get a salacious story into the media. I bet that boobcheese lady isn’t even lactating.