Despite her repeated public pronouncements of devotion, it will come as no huge shock to anyone anywhere that Paris Hilton just broke up with her boyfriend of nine months, musician Benji Madden. Even if you weren't up to speed on the latest developments — she was spotted with her Greek, shipping-heir ex and rumored desperately flirty with British princes — you have to figure, well, it's Paris Hilton, whose thirst for attention requires not only the intimate affection of various men but also constant press coverage of how those affections fluctuate. But her breakup is worth noting because the mainstream media seems to buying into her psychodrama like never before!

Here's how things work now, in the celebrity media pipeline: About four hours ago, the news surfaced in The Sun , People and Us Weekly , attributed to anonymous sources (Us called theirs "a rep" but offered no names). "Overprotective and controlling" was the rap on Madden. Did it stop there? No! Because AP now has a special, well-funded unit dedicated to nailing these crucial stories down as quickly as possible. So after some no-doubt frantic reporting, the wire service became (apparently) the first with a named source to confirm everything:

Paris Hilton and her boyfriend of nine months, Benji Madden, have broken up. Hilton publicist Alanna McCarthy said Wednesday that the two "remain very good friends." She wouldn't say more.

Quality journalism lives!