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[[quoteright:350:[[UsefulNotes/AmericanNewspapers http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/newyorkpostdoomed.png]]]]

->''"In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first -- attempted suicide."''
-->-- '''Christine Chubbuck''', July 15, 1974, [[FamousLastWords right before committing suicide]] on live TV

A basic fact in the news media is that, if a story involves a brutal death or injury of some kind (or the likelihood of it), it is likely to get higher ratings. The more lurid the story, the better its chances of being the ratings leader. Natural disasters, {{bank robber|y}}ies, shootouts, [[RapeAsDrama rapes]], {{serial killer}}s, GangBangers, [[AxesAtSchool school violence]], and animal maulings all draw an army of news vans the same way that a limping gazelle draws a pride of lions, except [[{{Dissimile}} the gazelle is already dead and the lions are broadcasting images of its dead body to thousands, if not millions]]. By doing so, the news media is following a decades-old mantra: [[TitleDrop "if it bleeds, it leads!"]]

This mantra is deeply ingrained in journalistic norms. Newsworthiness is determined by several factors, and death/destruction fulfills many of them a lot better than news about society working its wonders another day. Also, because getting information on them is easy (through the police or government agencies via press releases) and since they take place on public streets where permits or business permission are never required to film near, they are generally rather cheap to cover. They also tend to provide flashy visuals. As a result of all this, AccentuateTheNegative tends to be in full effect at many news desks. Just look at your average day's worth of coverage from Creator/{{CNN}}, Creator/{{Fox News|Channel}} or your nightly NewsBroadcast and count the number of stories (or rather, the amount of coverage) given to good news rather than disaster and criticism.

[[http://www.fair.org/media-beat/951213.html Some]] have suggested that coverage like this, focusing on negative stories of war, death, and destruction rather than the positive things that are happening in society, is responsible for [[JadeColoredGlasses making people cynical about the world around them]]. People who watch the news start to feel that [[CrapsackWorld the world is going to hell in a handbasket]], and give up on the idea that society's problems can be fixed. In addition, when the media obsess over violent crimes, deeper problems with society (such as [[http://www.savethenews.org/blog/10/03/11/la-if-it-bleeds-it-leads cities running out of money]]) go ignored, leaving the public uninformed.

Another, even darker effect of the news media's obsession with violence and the one that is often emphasized in fiction is the kind of message it sends out to impressionable viewers. By glorifying the actions of violent criminals, the media tell viewers, "[[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop Hey, if you go out and fire a machine gun into a crowd of little children, you too can make the national news!]]" Critics of this type of reporting often point out that it's [[{{Hypocrite}} hypocritical]] for the news media to accuse violent movies, music, and [[UltraSuperDeathGorefestChainsawer3000 video games]] of [[MurderSimulators making people violent]] when they're indulging in far more grisly and true-to-life stuff every night at 11 stuff that is being plastered over countless TV screens, implicitly [[DoNotDoThisCoolThing turning the perpetrators into celebrities]]. Additionally, it provides terrorists and other assorted nutjobs a very convenient stage from which to spread fear and their political agendas by way of violence.

The entire reason why MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome exists, as well as the reason why the crimes on most CrimeAndPunishmentSeries are AlwaysMurder. Compare YouCanPanicNow, CouldThisHappenToYou. Contrast HumanInterestStory. When used in fiction, it's often a sign that the news outlet indulging in it is a StrawmanNewsMedia. Has nothing to do with actual trails of blood.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In one issue of ''Joker's Asylum'', [[Comicbook/{{Batman}} the Joker]] takes over a studio filming a game show and seemingly forces the contestants, wired up to sinister looking contraptions and facing apparently lethal electrocution if they answer the increasingly impossible questions wrong. In the control booth, the producers practically drool over the prospect of the huge ratings this will bring in and refuse to intervene to stop him. However, when one of the contestants finally gets a wrong answer, all that happens is a harmless little jolt. Much to the producers' horror, it turns out that the joke was actually on them; the Joker had wired the studio up to broadcast the audio from inside the control booth, meaning that their cynical, callous indifference to human life was broadcast to all the viewers they'd been desperately trying to keep. Who's the real monster: the criminal madman threatening hostages, the cynical producers broadcasting it just for ratings, or [[YouBastard the people watching at home]]?
* Happens once in a while in ''ComicBook/{{Diabolik}}'' with bloody and gory events being picked up by the news with the explicit intention to get more viewers.

* In ''FanFic/TwistedFates'', this is what {{Jerkass}} {{Paparazzi}} Reynard claims has got him going after the Twister case, [[spoiler:although his true reason seems to be much more [[ItsPersonal personal]].]]

* ''Film/NaturalBornKillers'' is a ruthless satire of this trope, focusing on a pair of [[OutlawCouple Bonnie and Clyde-esque spree killers]] who engage in their crimes in order to get media attention.
* In ''S.F.W.'', the media's obsession with the lurid events of a hostage crisis at a convenience store turns the hostages into unwitting celebrities.
* Dirty Harry and his reporter girlfriend Samantha defy this trope in ''Film/TheDeadPool'' when he's trying to talk down a suicidal man about to set himself on fire. They very nearly succeed when she turns off her camera and refuses to give him any of the publicity he craves, but then he does the deed anyway. Harry then tries to console her by reminding her she did the right thing: "Most reporters would have gone for the exclusive."
* ''Franchise/{{Scream}}'' franchise:
** In ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}'', this trope is personified with Gale Weathers, a tabloid reporter who cashed in on the murder of Sidney's mother by writing a bestselling book detailing her alternative theory of the case. In a subversion, [[spoiler:it turns out that she was right, and that Cotton Weary was innocent]]. Doesn't stop her from coming off as a sleazeball, though [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold she does get better]] in the sequels.
** In ''Film/{{Scream 2}}'', the killer [[spoiler:(at least, one of them)]] planned on invoking this in order to get himself media publicity and a sensational trial.
** ''Film/{{Scream 4}}'''s killer had a similar motivation. [[spoiler:Jill would kill a bunch of people, then pin the murders on someone else and become the FinalGirl in her own real-life slasher flick, riding it to [[FifteenMinutesOfFame book deals and TV appearances]] much like her older cousin Sidney had done.]]
* The {{mockumentary}} ''Film/MediumCool'' is about this.
* In ''Film/{{Network}}'', Howard Beale's [[DeadlineNews suicide threat]] causes ratings on his news show to jump, teaching his network this lesson. It leads to shows like ''The Mao Tse-Tung Hour'', following a group of [[WesternTerrorists leftist revolutionaries]] based on the Symbionese Liberation Army.
* In Music/RobZombie's ''Film/HalloweenII2009'', Dr. Loomis has become like this, writing a best-selling book about the killings from [[Film/{{Halloween 2007}} the first film]] while making a killing himself.
* [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by name by Creator/KelseyGrammer's character in ''15 Minutes''.
* This is definitely the belief of Elliot Carver, the media mogul villain of the James Bond film ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'', to the point that his men actually sink a British Naval ship, massacre its survivors, steal a nuclear weapon (to aim at China) and bring the British and Chinese to the brink of war, all for the sake of broadcasting rights and ratings; it is strongly implied that he masterminds numerous other crimes and catastrophes for the sake of his business as well solely so that his outlet can get the story first, and at one point he even organizes the murder of his own wife and makes a news story out of it. In his own words:
--> Elliot Carver: There's no news...Like bad news.
* ''Film/TheNightFlier'': This is the entire tactic of the tabloid magazine ''Inside View''. The gorier and grislier the crimes they report are, the more issues it will sell. At one point the editor boasts that [[{{Jerkass}} he hopes the mystery killer claims more victims]].
* ''Film/{{Nightcrawler}}'' is about a videojournalist who sells footage of grisly crime scenes to the TV stations to air on their news broadcasts, and is willing to go to any length to get that footage. The film is a commentary on how this attitude warps people, with Nina, the news director at Channel 6, shown to be just as amoral as the VillainProtagonist Lou Bloom. It's even noted in one scene that crime rates in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles are going down, which threatens the bread-and-butter of Channel 6's news operation. This very trope is namedropped in the movie as the actually guiding philosophy of the videojournalist profession.
* Discussed fairly heavily by Andrew in ''Film/{{Monsters|2010}}'' after Samantha asks him whether he's bothered by the fact that he profits from tragedy.
-->'''Andrew''': Do you know how much your father's company pays for a picture of a child killed by a creature? $50,000. Do you know how much money I get paid for a picture of a happy child? Nothing. [[RuleOfThree Do you know]] where that puts me? Photographing tragedy.
* The film ''[=#Horror=]'' has [[NewMediaAreEvil a social media version of this]]. [[spoiler:Cat White, the EnfantTerrible villain, murdered her friends in cold blood in order to become internet-famous.]]
* The 2016 film ''Christine''[[note]]No relation to [[Literature/{{Christine}} the Stephen King novel]], or its 1983 film adaptation by Creator/JohnCarpenter[[/note]] is a dramatization of the last days of TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck, the provider of the page quote who is described in more detail below.

* ''Literature/AmericaTheBook'' gives a huge TakeThat to [[StrawmanNewsMedia the news media]] for indulging in this, pointing out how they were busy covering the Kobe Bryant rape case while America was getting ready to invade Iraq. The same chapter gives a ratings scale for various scandals, rating it in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joey_Buttafuoco Buttafuocos]].
* In ''Literature/AuntJuliaAndTheScriptwriter'', Pascual, one of the news redactors in the radio station where the protagonist works, has a natural liking to this kind of news, and when left alone he fills all the time slot with the most lurid tales he can find. It wouldn't be so bad if he worked in a more low brow station, but since he works in a "classy" one he is reprimanded for this habit very often. Usually his coworkers temper it by reminding him that they ''have'' to include other type of news; but since they also leave the redaction office very often, leaving Pascual alone to his means, the problem only exacerbates.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** Actually ''subverted'' in ''Discworld/TheTruth''; a story about a stabbing, apparently committed by ''the ruler of the city'' at that, is ignored in favor of the latest HumanInterestStory about a parrot keepers' meeting or [[IncrediblyLameFun a humorously-shaped vegetable]]. Or completely untrue but not necessarily bloody stuff in the rival paper like someone being abducted by elves (though Discworld elves being what they are, [[FridgeHorror that actually could be bloody]]) a rain of frogs in Genua.
** Though played straight in ''Discworld/GoingPostal'' and ''Discworld/MakingMoney''; a newspaper called the ''Tanty Bugle'' (after the city's largest prison) got its popularity by reporting on murders, preferably horrible ones. Moist von Lipwig is a bit put out that his inventive but bloodless crimes only merited two paragraphs.
* ''Literature/GoneGirl'' is a {{deconstruct|edTrope}}ion of this trope. Nick's life is destroyed when the media declares that he's responsible for his wife Amy's disappearance, [[spoiler:even though he didn't do it. Amy was keenly exploiting this trope in order to ruin Nick's life.]]

* "Dirty Laundry" by [[Music/{{Eagles}} Don Henley]] is a biting take on this, and still relevant (although undercut somewhat by the events that inspired it -- Henley's 1980 arrest on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and drug possession).
** Can we film the operation? Is the head dead yet?
* Music/{{Tool}} calls out the media and their audiences for this in "Vicarious."
--> I need to watch things die from a good, safe distance \\
Vicariously I live while the whole world dies \\
You all feel the same, so \\
Why can't we just admit it?
* A lot of Music/MarilynManson's earlier material is based around this trope. It goes all the way to the band's name, taken from media icons Creator/MarilynMonroe and UsefulNotes/CharlesManson; the stage names of the individual members were each composed of the first name of a popular actress or female figure and the last name of a SerialKiller.[[note]]They included Daisy Berkowitz (Daisy Duke from ''TheDukesOfHazzard'' and David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz), Gidget Gein (surfer girl Gidget from the '60s TV series and Ed Gein), Olivia Newton Bundy (Olivia Newton-John and Ted Bundy), Madonna Wayne Gacy (Music/{{Madonna}} and John Wayne Gacy), Sara Lee Lucas (the Sara Lee food company and Henry Lee Lucas), and [[FaceOfTheBand the titular Marilyn Manson]].[[/note]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pTCSEpn1FQ Live On T.V.]] by Canadian band The Box is entirely about this.
--> One must see all the truth on T.V. \\
Some hotel burning \\
Airliner crash \\
Or another Vietnam \\
To entertain you all
* {{Music/Disturbed}} criticizes this in its song "Legion of Monsters", about how the glorification of murderers in the news only inspires new murderers to do the same thing.
* Music/RogerWaters' album ''Amused To Death'' is a ConceptAlbum about how [[NewMediaAreEvil television will be the bane of humanity]], and so has several songs about this.
-->''...But that's OK, see the children bleed, it'll look great on the TV!''
* The music video for Music/{{Rammstein}}'s "Ich Will" satirizes this trope by having the band portray people literally [[BankRobbery robbing a bank]] for media attention rather than money, and the journalists [[MediaScrum assaulting them with questions]] as if they were politicians or celebreties. It works so well for them that the video [[BookEnds starts and ends]] on them receiving a Golden Camera award for the robbery.
* "Shoot 'Em Up" by Music/BlueStahli is about the media's tendency to treat mass murderers like celebrities. Bret wrote the song out of his disgust at seeing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of ''Magazine/RollingStone''.
-->It doesn't matter if you disagree\\
We're makin' it hand over fist on tragedy\\
The revolution will be televised\\
But just the part that we can monetize\\
That's the way, that's the way\\
You gotta give 'em all a show
* Referenced in WeirdAlYankovic's "Nature Trail To Hell" with a comparison to the sort of SlasherMovie parodied in the song ("...If you like the six o'clock news / Then you'll love ''Nature Trail To Hell''...")

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Forell uses a [[http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/guide/077.html variation of this trope with Delenn.]]
* ''Series/DiagnosisMurder'': Murder x 4: Steve tells the assassin, who is terminally ill, that his death by a SWAT sniper will be broadcast on live television by 8 news reporters.
* {{Discussed|Trope}} by Creator/CharlieBrooker on ''Series/{{Newswipe}}''.
* RealityTV show ''Next Action Star'' followed this trope in the first episode. At the end of the sequence where the terrorists attack the journalist and cameraman, the journalist "cut" herself. The cameraman's script was to say "If it bleeds, it leads".
* Invoked in ''Series/TheWire'' by detectives Freamon and [=McNulty=] as part of their fake serial killer scheme; they know that the more lurid the story is, the more coverage it will get. The trope is later discussed and namechecked by news editor Gus Haynes when the case draws the attention away from the indictment of a prominent politician.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Parodied somewhat {{Anvilicious}}ly in a ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' comic where Calvin's father is watching TV proclaiming upcoming coverage of a serial killing, and why a bushfire conflict half a world away should have the average Joe Schmoe "paralyzed by helpless fear". He ends up reading the paper instead.

* In ''Theatre/StreetScene'', Kaplan complains that the newspapers cover "notting but deevorce, skendal, and moiders." When [[spoiler:Mrs. Maurrant and Sankey]] are murdered, a tabloid printed the same day depicts their last moments in a lurid "composograph" picture.
* In Menotti's opera ''The Saint of Bleecker Street'', Maria Corona, commenting on the melodramatic murder reporting of the Italian papers, jokes that she'd have to kill someone to get her picture in the papers.
* In ''Theatre/TheAddingMachine'', Zero, in internal monologue, repeats headlines about DeathByWomanScorned, while Daisy, contemplating suicide, repeats headlines about female suicides.
* In ''Leave It to Me!'', Thomas points to the front page of his paper, which has stories about war, murder, kidnapping, corruption, to show a would-be agitator what he has to do to get his name in there.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the video game adaptation of ''World's Wildest Police Videos'', one mission has you trying to not only catch a crook, but also evade a persistent news van that's trying to get footage of the stakeout.
* During the "Hot Fuzz" side missions in ''[[SaintsRow Saints Row 2]]'', the cameraman tagging along with you will occasionally quote this trope while you're driving.
* Parodied multiple times in the ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' series.
** In ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'', field reporter [[KentBrockmanNews Richard Burns]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YiBbmU52c complains about the lack of casualties]] during a news segment.
--->"Officials say there are still no reported casualties, which is truly unfortunate, as it makes for incredibly boring news."
** Also in ''San Andreas'', the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC-SkSnsCFE ad bumper]] for one of the news reports announces "Prepare to be scared. The news is next." Really, all of the fake news programming in all of the ''GTA'' games is built around this trope.
** In ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoLibertyCityStories Liberty City Stories]]'', Ned Burner has Toni commit quite a few atrocities, including the murder of three celebrities and causing tons of damage and casualties with a fire truck, just so he can get good stories to cover.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Satirized by ''Website/TheOnion'', along with MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome, in [[http://www.theonion.com/video/missing-girl-probably-raped,14164/ "Missing Girl Probably Raped."]]
* Satirized somewhat more gently, along with general pop-culture obsession with [[ApocalypseHow the apocalypse]], by Website/CollegeHumor in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XTwWqzKeXc "The End Of The World As We Know It (On Channel 9)"]]
* This trope has become a common point of criticism for tabloid [=YouTuber=] DJ Keemstar, who sees repeated accusations of actively seeking out and exploiting internet drama simply for views and revenue.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' episode [[Recap/JusticeLeagueS2E21And22WildCards "Wild Cards"]], the Joker broadcasts a threat to blow up the Vegas Strip unless the Justice League can stop him. As the drama plays out, other news broadcasters pick up the Joker's show... which feeds into his real plan to expose millions of viewers to Ace's [[BrownNote insanity-inducing gaze]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The page quote comes from Christine Chubbuck, a chronically depressed anchorwoman on [[Creator/{{ABC}} WXLT]] (now WWSB) in [[OnlyInFlorida Sarasota, Florida]] who was upset about how the station manager had told the staff to focus on "blood and guts" in their reporting. It was one of the many factors that caused her to [[DrivenToSuicide kill herself]] [[DeadlineNews during a live broadcast]].
* The page image comes from a New York Post article and shows a man about die after being pushed into the path of an oncoming Q train at Times Square station. Needless to say, this caused a whole shitstorm of controversy. [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity Although the image did temporarily boost the papers sales.]]
* This is pretty much the entire business model of Creator/{{HLN}} post-NetworkDecay, as evidenced by the popularity of shows like ''Nancy Grace'' and ''Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell''.
* At least part of the alleged motive of [[UsefulNotes/{{Columbine}} Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold]] was to get immortalized by the media for their crimes. It worked well enough that it got them an entire page on this very wiki.
* Robert A. Hawkins, the man who shot up the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska, said in his suicide note that he wanted to "[go] out in style", leading many to believe that his main intention was to take advantage of this trope and get himself immortalized like the Columbine gunmen.
* This trope wound up destroying the career of [[UsefulNotes/TheSilentAgeOfHollywood silent film]] star Creator/FattyArbuckle. When a woman died at a party he was holding, the media jumped onto exaggerated reports that he had raped and killed her (some went so far to say that she had been crushed to death while having sex with him; his nickname "Fatty" was not accidental). Even after he was declared innocent, he found himself blacklisted from working in Hollywood.
* Usually true in large cities, to the point where some stations specifically try to [[DefiedTrope avoid this]] and only show positive news in order to distinguish themselves from the competition. An example in UsefulNotes/{{Atlanta}} is the news channel 11 Alive (branding of NBC affiliate WXIA), which has revamped its image to only show positive news stories.
* OlderThanFeudalism example: In an explicit [[InvokedTrope invocation]] of this trope, one Herostratus set on fire the famous temple of Artemis in an Ionian city of Ephesus, known as one of the Seven Wonders of the world for its beauty and riches, exactly for that reason.
* This occurs quite a bit in Brazil. There are at least three SeparateButIdentical news programs on different stations exclusively about crimes/murders/road-accidents, competing for the same time slot at lunchtime.
* The "Summer of the Shark" in 2001 is often cited whenever this trope is brought up. During the summer of 2001, the media became focused on [[EverythingsEvenWorseWithSharks shark attacks]], reporting what it saw as an "epidemic" of such instances. In reality, there were fewer shark attacks that year than there were the year before, or in 1995 -- it's just that those two years had, respectively, a Presidential election and [[MissingWhiteWomanSyndrome the OJ Simpson trial]] to capture the media's attention.
* French Canadian daily newspaper ''Le Journal de Montreal'' has never shied away from having its headlines based on the [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal catchy French alliteration]] "Sexe, Sang et Sport" ([[InterplayOfSexAndViolence sex, blood]] and sports).
** The format failed miserably in the City of Brotherly Love, where ''The Philadelphia Journal'' folded after four years, having lost $14 million ($35.3 million in 2013 dollars).
* [[SelfDemonstratingArticle Show of hands]] - how many Tropers, when reading the Real Life section, ''[[JustifiedTrope looked up]]'' the case via Website/{{Google}} or ThatOtherWiki?