Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester was spotted having dinner with a "hot male companion" at Lunetta on Broadway, according to Page Six. That's true, as far as it goes, but the report in the Post gossip column left out a few key facts: first, the actress' companion, Chris Rovzar, was a New York reporter working on the magazine cover story on the buzzed-about CW show; the delicate Rovzar, who used to date Patrick Healy of the New York Times, is gay, transparently gay; and the item was phoned in by a publicist for the show, as Rovzar revealed in the article.

To be sure, Page Six's sightings tend to be telegraphic, and context is often dropped. If you're surprised that these items are supplied by press agents, try watching Sweet Smell of Success; the practice is ancient. And it is perfectly standard for celebrity publicists to invite speculation by omission; journalists usually go along with the game, because it makes a better story.

But, with Gossip Girl's flacks needing to shore up the public heterosexuality of Chace Crawford, the show's designated male lust object, they should be careful about their tactics. If they're too cynical in their manipulation of sightings, those well-timed stories about Chace Crawford's dating life might lose their credibility. If they had any to start with.