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.
In 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, it turns out that she was right, and that Cotton Weary was innocent. Doesn't stop her from coming off as a sleazeball, though she does get better in the sequels.
In the second film, the killer (at least, one of them) planned on invoking this in order to get himself media publicity and a sensational trial.
The fourth film's killer had a similar motivation. Jill would kill a bunch of people, then pin the murders on someone else and become the Final Girl in her own real-life slasher flick, riding it to book deals and TV appearances much like her older cousin Sidney had done.
In Network, Howard Beale's 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 leftist revolutionaries based on the Symbionese Liberation Army.
The same chapter gives a ratings scale for various scandals, rating it in Buttafuoco'.
In Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, 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.
"Dirty Laundry" by 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?
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 Marilyn Manson's earlier material is based around this trope. It goes all the way to the band's name, taken from media icons Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson; 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 Serial Killer.note They included Daisy Berkowitz (Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard 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 (Madonna and John Wayne Gacy), Sara Lee Lucas (the Sara Lee food company and Henry Lee Lucas), and the titular Marilyn Manson.
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
Reality TV 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 The Wire 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.
Parodied somewhat Anviliciously in a Calvin and Hobbes 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 Street Scene, Kaplan complains that the newspapers cover "notting but deevorce, skendal, and moiders." When 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.
"Officials say there are still no reported casualties, which is truly unfortunate, as it makes for incredibly boring news."
Also in San Andreas, the 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 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.
The page quote comes from Christine Chubbuck, a chronically depressed anchorwoman on WXLT (now WWSB) in 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 kill herselfduring a live broadcast.
This is pretty much the entire business model of HLN post-Network Decay, as evidenced by the popularity of shows like Nancy Grace and Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell.
At least part of the alleged motive of 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 silent film star Fatty Arbuckle. 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 avoid this and only show positive news in order to distinguish themselves from the competition. An example in Atlanta is the news channel 11 Alive (branding of NBC affiliate WXIA), which has revamped its image to only show positive news stories.
Older Than Feudalism example: In an explicit 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 Separate, But Identical 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 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 the OJ Simpson trial to capture the media's attention.