How to spin the ‘Tony Abbott said something stupid’ non-story into 18 non-stories

Even though it has been the major part of a week since Tony Abbott most recently said something stupid in public, a steady stream of stories is continually dribbling down the legs of the media and staining the trousers of public discourse. And rather than being content merely reporting on the former PM’s utterances (or, you know, not reporting them), the media is determined to keep feeding us the cold, puddled leftovers of this non-story endlessly, or at least until something else distracts them.

You bet you are
Tony Abbott in happier times, shirtfronting Vladimir Putin (you bet you are). Photo: Kremlin

I’ve previously remarked on the IT media’s ability to spin one non-story into many but the Canberra press gallery are no less masterful at the art of recycling. Thus we are subjected to:

  1. Tony Abbott plans to say something stupid (according to draft speech he emailed The Australian or … no, just The Australian)
  2. Tony Abbott says something stupid
  3. ABC/Guardian/Green Left Weekly journalists barred from attending speech where Tony Abbott said something stupid
  4. Miraculously, ABC/Guardian/Green Left Weekly journalists report on Tony Abbott saying stupid thing despite not being invited to event where he said it (how does this even work?)
  5. Opposition politicians say thing Tony Abbott said was stupid
  6. Opposition politicians say Tony Abbott saying stupid thing is sign he might be becoming wee bit bonkers (but he definitely wasn’t before)
  7. Government politicians steadfastly support Tony Abbott’s right to say stupid things because they’re his strongly held beliefs
  8. Government politicians somewhat more equivocal on whether they personally agree with stupid thing Tony Abbott said, look over there, a currawong!
  9. Social media reactions to Tony Abbott saying stupid thing
  10. Thing Tony Abbott said was stupid, according to whole bunch of experts in topic and/or publicly available evidence
  11. Tony Abbott won’t repudiate stupid thing he said even though experts/evidence said it was stupid
  12. Government politicians who actually know about topic Tony Abbott talked about, or have it in their portfolio, very quietly say (several days later) that Tony maybe doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that’s not really government policy right now
  13. Alan Jones, Peta Credlin and other people who are not experts in topic say Tony Abbott was 100% correct to say his stupid thing and what do experts know anyway and why are politically correct left-wing media constantly silencing Tony Abbott when he tries to say stupid thing
  14. Summary of the media-political point and counterpoint to date on Tony Abbott saying something stupid
  15. Social media reactions to the media-political point and counterpoint on Tony Abbott saying something stupid
  16. Thinkpiece on how Tony Abbott saying something stupid is actually fiendishly calculated salvo in ongoing battle to get rid of Malcolm Turnbull and become PM again
  17. Thinkpiece on how media reporting demonstrates press gallery just parrot people’s opinions without engaging knowledge or common sense to consider whether thing Tony Abbott said was true and/or worth reporting (most likely with quote or reference to Jay Rosen at some point)
  18. Outraged blog post complaining that total non-story has been massively overblown into far too many clickbaity non-stories and we’re all just fucking sick of it.

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