Brendan Nelson’s casual announcement that he is either a) a doofus or b) an official candidate for Liberal party leadership has had one great side-effect – it’s put godzone country onto the front pages and up in the Google news listings.

As of midnight Thursday, the “startling” “admission” that we were in Iraq for the oil had garnered 310 news stories – not exactly up there with Paris Hilton’s rejailing which hit around 8,000 in an hour but respectable nevertheless.

Given that it’s the first full-bore admission of oil interests from the coalition of the looking-sideways-for-the-exits, the minor variations on the reporting of a fairly uncomplicated news story reveals (Year 12 students pay attention) there is no such thing as a non-interpretive news story.

Most reports were willing to take as fact the non-existence of WMDs – not so the Voice of America which said:

Anti-war protesters say the invasion of Iraq was more of a grab for oil rather than a genuine attempt to uncover weapons of mass destruction as the government has insisted.

Thus avoiding any admission that there weren’t bloody any… meanwhile the UK Guardian was in no doubt, painting a vivid word picture of a panicked PM – related no doubt to the fact that most global footage is of him going full-tilt in a tracksuit like a wind-up Bristow:

The Australian prime minister, John Howard, rushed to play down Mr Nelson’s comments, which threatened to reignite anti-war protesters’ claims that the 2003 invasion was more a grab for oil than a bid to destroy Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, which proved to be non-existent.

For the official Chinese news agency the will of Canberra was monolithic:

The Australian government has linked the need to secure oil supplies to the country’s continued military presence in Iraq. In a major speech outlining his government’s foreign policy in Canberra on Thursday, Prime Minister John Howard said the Middle East is crucial to Australia’s strategic and economic future.

Though genuinely unreconstructed communists were willing to hammer it home a la Radio Australia:

The Australian government has added oil supply security to its list of justifications for keeping Australian troops in Iraq.

Which sounds more like a snatch of dialogue from relationship counselling (“so now you’re going to add a dysfunctional childhood to your excuses for being cold and unresponsive”).

While security site Stratfor attributed the position to the entire nation: “Australia: Oil A Reason For Iraq Presence”.

But in the end there was always Murdoch with this headline to the story from the Adelaide Advertiser: “High alert helps PM’s hopes”.

Yes this will be on the exam. And yes Nelson is making a run.