Navigating the gossip terrain is a tricky business. Celebrity spin, publicists feeding fake stories, weeding through the sales and the conspiracies – unless you’re a card carrying member of the MiniVan Majority, you probably want to be a bit more discerning with your smut, right? Especially since the rags will pretty much print anything. Gasp! Shocker of all shockers! The tabloids actually lie???

Relevant story particularly today, in light of those unable to tell the difference between sarcasm and certainty and freaking out yet again over split speculation about their favourite couple.

"Sources Say: The Ugly Truth Behind America"s Tabloid Business” is a new book written by Hal Lifson, a former gossip freelancer for several magazines, details below… VERY interesting:

THE supermarket tabloids do make up stories about celebrities - but are so clever spinning them that some of the tall tales actually come true. That"s the dish from Hal Lifson, a freelancer for the National Enquirer, Star and Globe, who says he"s now penning a tell-all titled, "Sources Say: The Ugly Truth Behind America"s Tabloid Business."

"Many of the stories have a kernel of truth in them, but to present them as soap-opera material, they have to be taken further," Lifson told Page Six. "I wrote a story for Globe about how Warren Beatty had dinner with Jessica Simpson and was going to mentor her to become political and do good things in Washington. The only thing true was they had met briefly at a restaurant. But the story comes out and all of the sudden she"s being told she"s got to become political, and about a month later she does go to Washington."

Simpson testified before Congress over a year ago to lobby for a nonprofit group that provides reconstructive surgery to kids with facial deformities.
Another Simpson story Lifson pulled out of thin air for now defunct Celebrity Living claimed that she and Jennifer Aniston, who had met, became pals and started having slumber parties. He wrote that Aniston nicknamed Simpson "Gidget" and that Simpson started watching old "Gidget" movies. "Then I hear that Jessica"s dad, Joe Simpson, got in touch with Sony, which owns the rights to "Gidget" about possibly acquiring it as a project for his daughter," he said.

Lifson, who"s also a veteran publicist, planted a wacky Tom Cruise story after he saw his own baby daughter, Sophia, giggling with delight over an old "Bozo the Clown" videotape.

"[I came up a story that ] Tom plays Bozo for [his baby] Suri, but it caused a problem because Katie Holmes is scared of clowns. Then I called the original Bozo, Larry Harmon, and told him to send Tom a "Bozo care package," which he did.

"The headline in the Globe was, "Tom and Katie"s Battle Over Bozo." I said that Tom tapped into the innocent, pure image of Bozo. It wasn"t a mean story, it wasn"t ugly. Do you think Tom ever complained?" One trick to concocting stories is to make them "nice" and relatively inoffensive so the celebs won"t beef, Lifson explained.

Richard Valvo, a rep for the Enquirer, Star and Globe, had no comment.

PS. Am including my favourite Life & Style cover ever – 2 months before Little Sci was born, they decided to “break” the news that Tom and Katie had split. Good for a giggle, non?