Speculation is rife on the Net that France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is pregnant.
The source of course is an irreproachable one; the French weekly celebrity gossip magazine Closer, which asserts in its latest edition that "someone very close to the couple," had provided the information.
It's a story which really doesn't matter whether it's true. The very fact that it's out there in the public domain - albeit it Twitterdom and the less serious elements of the mainstream media - means that it has somewhat taken on a life of its own.
The presidential office - the Elysée palace - has reacted of sorts when questioned by the national weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche with "It's a matter which touches on the private life of the president" - another way of saying "No comment' in a country which has very strict laws which are largely accepted when it comes to public figures.
Perhaps that explains why the so-called story has not really made on the sites or pages of France's main newspapers and magazines, let alone the airwaves and screens of radio and television.
As Bruno Roger-Petit points out on the French website Le Post, there has been almost complete indifference from the mainstream media (other than the usual suspects) to the speculation so far.
Perhaps that's not so surprising as this is the third time in as many years that rumours have surfaced about an impending patter of tiny feet at the Elysée palace.
Just run a Google search and you'll be able to pull up umpteen articles maintaining Bruni-Sarkozy has at one point or another been expecting.
Be that as it may, Closer is sticking to its guns this time around.
The editor of the magazine, Laurence Pieau, confirmed the "scoop" to the national daily Le Parisien, saying that she was certain the information was more than reliable.
"We would not have divulged the news without being completely sure," she said.
"It has been corroborated by several different sources and we are convinced that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is in the earliest weeks of her pregnancy."
The next few days and weeks will tell whether the rumour is true, but in the meantime, Closer has created a buzz, ensured its sales for the following week, and taken everyone's mind away from political affairs that might actually be of some importance over the coming year as campaigning hots up for the presidential elections in May 2012.
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