"Rumor" means different things to different people, and that means trouble. In France, journalists speak of "true rumors" and "false rumors." Is a rumor necessarily false? Or can a rumor be either true or false? The editor on the Post story puts it this way:
Dictionaries indicate otherwise. Here is how Webster's New World College Dictionary describes the word:
Saying something is a rumor is not saying it’s true. ... We didn’t say it was a false rumor. To me, a rumor is not true.
- General talk not based on definite knowledge; mere gossip; hearsay.
- An unconfirmed report, story or statement in general circulation.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo chimes in on the use of "rumors" in the Post story.