Move along! Nothing to see here!

By Toby Manhire In Politics, The Internaut

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On at least five occasions during parliamentary question time this afternoon, the prime minister dismissed inquiries over the the SkyCity Convention Centre deal by characterising the Deputy Auditor-General’s findings as “nothing to see here!” or “nothing to see there!”

While his intention was presumably literal, the choice of idiom was a little puzzling.

Because the words “Nothing to see here”, often twinned with “Move along”, are almost invariably used by an authority figure – a police officer, typically – when there is a lot to see.

In popular culture, that is inescapably the case.

The TV Tropes website explains it this way:

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

The standard line used by police officers or The Men In Black keeping people away from something interesting. Usually a case of Blatant Lies. Also often used in Suspiciously Specific Denials.

And offers the example:

Ok folks, show’s over, nothing to see here, show’s… OH MY GOD! A horrible plane crash! Hey everybody, get a load of this flaming wreckage! Come on, crowd around, crowd around, don’t be shy crowd around.
— Chief Wiggum, The Simpsons

The clip from Naked Gun, above, is just as instructive.

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