As with any global developing story, the continuing coverage today of the Pope’s deteriorating condition has produced, almost as rapidly, some secondary stories about the media coverage itself.

The summary of the story-about-the-story provided by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel is all I have to go on at the moment. The Vatican is denying various media reports of the Pope’s death. According to the Spiegel account, the Italian news agency ADNKronos reported that the Pope is brain dead. ADNKronos, which did not provide any attribution to its reports, said the Pope’s EKG had flatlined. The Vatican denied that the Pope is even connected to an EKG device.

Sky Italia cited press agency Apcom in reporting that the Pope had lost consciousness. Radio Vatican reported that the right broze door of the Palace had been shut at 7pm. This could have been an indication of the Pope’s death — when a Pope dies, both doors are shut until a new Pope is selected — or merely his struggle for life. This was flatly contradicted by the Ansa news agency, which said it was just part of the daily Vatican routine.

Der Spiegel also says that Italy’s public-service broadcaster, RAI, had “supressed” reports of the Pope’s deteriorating condition in favour of an hour-long interview with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi last night. La Repubblica and L’Unit&agrave, today cited RAI news staff who were upset by the decision. Berlusconi’s Mediaset channels were also accused of delaying their reports.

Updates to follow, no doubt.