And now for another lesson in not believing everything you read.
Around the time of Kevin Rudd’s National Press Club address today, Twitter was abuzz. Not because of anything the new-old Prime Minister was saying, but because of a simple headline:
Turnbull To Quit Politics
Don’t freak out: he’s not.
The headline was circulated like wildfire around the watchers of the Aussie politi-sphere who tweet stuff under the #auspol hashtag despite the fact that it was blatantly false.
A running theme in these tweets is a link to an article from the Sydney Morning Herald:
TURNBULL TO QUIT????
— sinylG (@ozdivergt) July 11, 2013
Bloody hell! http://t.co/3ShakHACN9
— Lizzie (@croquetcrazy) July 11, 2013
A bit of “research”, however, shows that the SMH article in question was penned in 2010: the day Malcolm Turnbull announced following a reshuffle in the Liberal party that saw him lose the leadership. Turnbull later reversed his decision and eventually became the Shadow Minister for Broadband and the Digital Economy.
So how did this story surface in people’s minds again? Blame Twitter again. Specifically, a Channel Seven political reporter by the name of Sarah Wiley.
Sarah now appears to have deleted the offending tweet, but retweets from others show us what it said:
Well RT @SarahWiley8 Malcolm turnbull to quit politics! 😮
— Jean-Christophe (@coldsnacks) July 11, 2013
A bunch of people clearly then went and Google’d “Malcolm Turnbull quit politics”, and found this little gem.
Look familiar? It’s the article everyone found themselves tweeting after they saw Sarah’s initial Turnbull report.
She eventually apologised, realising it had all got out of hand:
So sorry. Was tweeting about turnbull after reading someone's article that was posted. Now see its 2010 . Trumbull not quitting
— Sarah Wiley (@SarahWiley8) July 11, 2013
Don’t believe everything you read.