Runway News

HOW RUMORS GET STARTED

I’m currently reading Frank Bruni’s autobiography “Born Round.” As a foodie and long-time reader of his New York Times food reviews (which he stopped writing around the same time that his book was published), I was intrigued about Bruni’s background, and how he went from being stationed in the Times office in Rome covering politics to having the most influential job in the world of food critique (at least in New York City).

There is one chapter in his book where Bruni writes about his experience as an intern at Newsweek back when he was a college student. He recounts often joking around with one of his fellow interns who played into the “naïf girl” persona. Both interns were charged with, among other things, fact-checking and one day he decided to tell one of them something to the extent of “what do you make of Mary Taylor Moore’s death. I mean, I’m sure you’ve heard about it, right?”


 
Mary Taylor Moore had of course not died, Bruni was only fooling around, but when he didn’t hear anything back, he began to get concerned. Had she not understood the joke? Turns out she hadn’t, and his joke turned into a spiral that ended up with a blurb in the New York Post the next day, in which Moore’s publicist was quoted as saying she didn’t know where these rumors starts, but that they’re completely false. Bruni of course thought his career was over, but luckily there was no mention of him or Newsweek in the piece.

Can you imagine what would have happened if that story had happened today in the world of blogs and instant news? I suppose that’s one of the ways rumors get started. Though in the same token, if that particular rumor got out of hand, it could have possibly been stopped had it happened today (i.e. perhaps the intern would have been more dubious if she had access to something like Google and came-up empty handed when doing a death search…). Similar tales seem to be appearing more and more, and the fashion world is certainly not immune.


 
Where do these fibs stem from? For the most part, it’s hard to know, but just recently the Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone marriage rumors have gone into overdrive. Word was that the two men got hitched while in St. Barth’s (where they were widely photographed in Stephen Sprouse LV and Hermes bags on the beach), then word leaked that, Larry Gagosian hosted a party in their honor that included a tiered wedding cake. Bloggers have been going wild about this, posting congratulatory posts. Turns out that, at least according to their publicist, it was not a wedding cake, and that the two are still engaged. Hard to know what to believe, but I love the Bruni story for being an example of how easily rumors can get out of hand, and how vigiently we seem to need to believe what we read.
 

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