President-elect Obama—allegedly a 'man of the people'—is allegedly buying a fancy $30,000 ring for his fancy wife, allegedly! It was in the trusty Daily Mail, and now it's the top story on Drudge, meaning it is the single most important news story in all the world. Elitist Obama drops 30K on bling for his wife during a recession—and this bling will be made out of rhodium, the world's most expensive metal! This story is almost certainly bullshit, and we will tell you exactly why. [Updates below—we were right]:
1. The setup—Say, for argument's sake, that Obama did order an expensive, custom-made ring to thank his wife for her help in the campaign. Would the chosen designer of that ring run out and immediately tell the press all about it? Not just the press, but the Daily Mail, a sleazeball London tabloid? No, because that designer would subsequently be destroyed by Barack Obama, the president of the US.
2. The story itself—What's the sourcing for this big story? Did Obama sheepishly acknowledge his gift with a smile once it broke? No. The sole source is a "spokesman" for the "designer" of the ring. Who also gave this ridonkulous quote:
'For obvious privacy reasons I cannot reveal the cost of the ring but bearing in mind it is made from rhodium or black gold and encrusted with diamonds you can be sure it will cost thousands of pounds.'
Mmm hmm. Classy. It's also painfully clear that the story is filled out by fun facts about rhodium pulled off some press release. Did you know that "rhodium was chosen as the material for the disc presented to Beatle Paul McCartney for being history's all-time best-selling songwriter and recording artist"? Barack Obama obviously did, which is why he insisted on ordering this here ring!
3. The designer—Supposedly Obama has ordered this ring to be specially made by Giovanni Bosco, an "A-list" Italian designer. Really? If he's so A-list, why has his name never—never!—appeared in Nexis, the database of all things media? If he's so A-list, why does his website look so D-list? And why does the "Press" section seem to be full mostly of his own ads? Decidedly non-Presidential.
So the worldwide media has bitten big-time on a story that was almost certainly planted by this jewelry designer himself, or a very enterprising flack. And everybody wins ("everybody" meaning "Right wing media outlets" and "Giovanni Bosco")! Good show, Giovanni Bosco. Thanks to all this press you will probably be able to sell some rings that are real. [Pic via]
[UPDATE: And the Obama camp just denied it.]
[UPDATE 2, via Politico: Tommy Christopher at AOL got a head-scratching statement from the spokesman for the jeweler in question, who also denies the story as reported:
I regret to inform you that because of reports so wrong and clearly different from the reality of our statements, we decided to not issue statement on this matter.
Unfortunately, we were negatively affected by read on national and foreign media news stories that have no basement[sic], and in excess of the objective reality.
I inform you that we have no intention to disseminate more information about this story.