Don’t Believe What You Read

File these under conspiratorial rumors, courtesy of online postings that were supposedly early story drafts.

We’ll begin with an item that appeared online for the U.K.’s Independent newspaper a full 48 hours before “American Idol” announced its winner. The item mentioned Simon Fuller, creator of the Idol phenomenon, and accurately predicted the show “was won this year by Carrie Underwood.” The story was pulled from the Web site after a short run.

Most likely, it was one of two drafts of a story that was to run after the announcement (with contestant Bo Bice as the alternative), and one version got posted early.

Some have tried to float the rumor that the Independent was tipped off to the winner long before the public was finished voting, but the suggestion never grew legs. There were a few postings on some “American Idol” fan site bulletin boards, and that was about all.

Then there’s Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, who received a public apology from E!Online for falsely claiming they were ending their two-and-a-half-year marriage because of “irreconcilable differences.”

“E! deeply regrets that a draft report from E!Online, which contained some false information regarding [the couple] was accidentally disseminated,” the celebrity news service said.

Simpson told a reporter she and her husband would have sued if the story remained online.

The singer is co-starring in a big-screen version of “The Dukes Of Hazzard” with Johnny Knoxville.