CBS News reports that there's a lot of talk buzzing around the blogosphere francais lately alleging that the First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, has fallen "in love" with French singer Benjamin Biolay. This is interesting, non?
High-school level French references aside, the story is this: According to to suchablog.com (which is entirely in French, so we'll have to trust the CBS summary), Bruni and Biolay have long been friends — she has publicly congratulated him for his awards, etc. — but now they're living together. Sarkozy, meanwhile, has sought "comfort in the arms" of Chantal Jouanno, a right-wing cabinet member who is also a karate champion. And know Sarkozy is rather dedicated to fitness.
Maybe I just like Carla Bruni a bit too much (and I can't really explain why, other than that she just seems to live her life however she damn well pleases), because I'm certainly not the type to get indignant over real gossip — I prefer to privately entertain myself with the "This is bullshit, but wouldn't it be crazy if..." approach. Still, it seems a bit odd that CBS is devoting over 1,000 words to a story that is completely unsubstantiated beyond the assertions of a French gossip blog (though they note that the story has made its way to Le Post and Yahoo News France, though neither source seems to go into much other than the basic "facts"). But to explain the lack of mainstream-media coverage of the rumor, CBS goes on to note that this really isn't the French press's kind of thing:
Most mainstream French media are likely to stay away from the rumor because the president's personal life is a touchy topic and they worry reporting on the rumors could put their jobs at risk. Also, in France, privacy law keeps tabloids off the shelves and offer public figures a greater measure of, well, privacy, than in the U.S.
"Journalists often whisper a few gossips off the record, but they do not publish them, because they don't want to jeopardize their relations with politicians," said Dominique Moisi, a French political expert at the French Institute of International Relations. "That said, sometimes it is a good thing, you don't want every gossip to get published."
To wit, the editor of Paris Match was supposedly fired after running photos showing Cecilia Sarkozy, the President's ex-wife, having an affair.
So I guess I'm going to indulge this a little, not because I necessarily believe it (though don't the French traditionally have slightly more relaxed approach to the issue of marriage and fidelity?) — because I can understand the French media's reluctance to delve into this story. And my God, could you imagine if the same tabloidian standard operated over here? We'd probably have to abandon Midweek Madness. And what fun is that?
Splitsville for Sarkozy and Carla Bruni? [CBSNews.com]