Ignored Vital News Reports
In the world of 24-Hour News Networks
it's hard not to stay up to date with all the world's problems and issues. Well, that's if you're actually paying attention to the news, that is. This trope is when a lot of the impending doom and gloom has been ignored because the characters were going about their lives in a mundane, nonchalant way while ignoring all of the breaking news on the radio and TV. Usually missing out on the early reports of the incoming Alien Invasion
, the rise of the machines
, the coming Zombie Apocalypse
, or just bad crappy severe weather
. Which of course would have saved them a lot of trouble later. But hey, this happens to us all in real life, right?
Just think about it. You're sitting on your couch flipping through the channels and all you get is little blurbs of the following: This just in! Reports are coming in all over about
.... *changes channel* ....There are several reports of strange
.... *changes channel* ....Earlier today people witnessed a strange object hovering over Chicag
.... *changes channel* ....There's chaos on the roadways as the city streets are jammed and
.... *changes channel* ....Police are warning people to stay inside, and
.... *changes channel* ....It has been reported that these people appear to be in a catatonic daze with the taste for
.... *changes channel*
Damn, there's nothing on TV!!.... *looks outside* Hey, what the hell is everybody running from?!!
A subtrope of Failed a Spot Check
. See also Worst News Judgment Ever
, when the media misses out on the news, rather than the viewers.
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- The lead character in Day by Day Armageddon initially does this, but starts paying closer attention later on when talks of a "super bug" starts to spread in America. Since the story is framed as the main character's journal, he not only notes the news reports, but considers them important enough to record. But it still serves about the same narrative purpose of having the unfolding Zombie Apocalypse set up for the reader while the characters ignore it, since he treats fears about The Virus dismissively.
Live Action TV
- In Mad Men episode 3-12, "The Grown-Ups", Harry and Ken are chatting about work, and Ken asks Harry to turn the sound down on the TV. Then the CBS News bulletins about the Kennedy assassination start popping up on the screen, but Harry and Ken don't notice until other Sterling Cooper employees barge into their office to watch the TV.
- Duck turns off the TV in his hotel room on the first report that the president has been "wounded" in order to have sex with Peggy. Afterwards, he mentions that before she came in there was something on the news that's been on his mind, and he turns it back on just in time for the famous confirmation by Walter Cronkite ("From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official..."). On the other hand, Betty is watching when Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald live on camera.
- There's a bit of a Black Comedy moment in season 6 (taking place in 1968) when Pete's demented mother raves about seeing a news story about Kennedy being assassinated. Pete shrugs her off as having flashbacks to the JFK shooting...only she was actually referring to Robert Kennedy, who was indeed shot that day.
- Minor example in Cheers: when Lilith announces she's leaving Frasier, the latter threatens to jump off the building above the bar. Meanwhile in said bar, the gang is obliviously watching TV with Norm channel surfing and happening to glance a report about "some guy threatening to jump off a building". An extremely agitated Cliff then shouts at Norm to go back...to an episode of Quincy. Only then does Sam ask to change to the "jumper" and they realize who it is.
- In a parody, the lads on The Young Ones actually did watch a news flash about a police siege, but they never noticed that it was happening at their own house. Even when it concludes inside their house.
- On How I Met Your Mother, the characters turn on Robin's morning talk show but get sidetracked by their conversation and fail to notice her putting out a fire, resuscitating a man after a heart attack and delivering a baby, all on camera.
- In a season 3 episode of Heroes, Hiro and Ando are trying to figure out why they have been sent to protect a baby, rather than the adult with the same name that they thought they were sent to protect. While they argue over possible explanations, the baby keeps turning on the TV...which is showing news reports of the adult they thought they were being sent to protect, wearing a suicide-bomber vest, being arrested outside the U.S. Capitol building. Hiro and Ando ignore the TV except to turn it off in annoyance every time the baby turns it on, until they finally unplug the TV in frustration. Then the baby turns the TV on yet again with his powers, and Hiro and Ando switch to enthusing about the baby having a mutant power, still ignoring the news reports on the TV until the baby's mother comes home and tells them about it.
- Patrick in Dead Set does notice that something is happening on the news, but only worries about whether it'll affect the upcoming broadcast of Big Brother. (It does.)
- In ER's legendary "Hell and High Water" episode, after rescuing a boy from a storm drain, Doug commandeers a news chopper to get him to County Hospital. The reporter films Doug's efforts to keep the boy alive until they get to the hospital … where everyone is playing video game. Not until the emergency is called in does everyone look up and see Doug on the television.
- Done in season one of The Walking Dead as Lee is being driven off to prison, he makes small talk with the officer escorting him. As they do, we start hearing more and more reports coming on the police radio. The officer ignores it as he used to it and eventually cuts it off.
- xkcd suggests "To make news stories way more ominous, imagine you're hearing them from a background TV in a movie as the main character leaves."
- In one episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, Peter is so busy getting ready for school and talking to Aunt May that he doesn't notice the (muted) news report of the escape of the Sinister Six.
- In The Powerpuff Girls the Professor sets up a curfew for the girls as they have to be in bed by 9:00 PM. When he watches the news it all features Townsville being attacked by everything the girls would handle but tries to ignore all of it because of the curfew. Only when he sees a channel reporting Daylight Savings Time ending and noticing he forgot to set the clocks back does he finally get the message and let them save Townsville.
- The episode "Joker's Favor" from Batman: The Animated Series: Everyman Charlie Collin's car's radio broadcast the last part of the bulletin announcing someone has escaped and is considered armed and dangerous. Charlie, not being a Super Hero, only cares that this would aggravate the traffic jam he's in and goes in a Rant Inducing Slight on how his life sucks. Some minutes later, he will be Mugging the Joker...