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Immoral Journalist

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I work at the paper here as a new journalist. Here the sales come first, and the truth comes last
Øystein Sunde, "Smi mens liket er varmt" (translated from Norwegian)

The purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with useful, accurate information they can use to make better decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments. Immoral Journalists don't really care about that. At best, they're too lazy to waste time checking if that juicy story is actually true — getting it out as soon as possible to sell more newspapers is what truly matters. Or maybe they exaggerated some details or made up the whole thing because they think it doesn't matter anyway. They may also be plagiarists.

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The worst Immoral Journalists are actively malicious, or at least it feels that way. They have zero consideration for their subjects, and will gladly shove a microphone in your face two minutes after you watched your entire family being murdered. They won't hesitate to ruin someone's reputation, even if they know for sure that the allegations are all false. They'll happily churn out propaganda for Corrupt Politicians. In extreme cases, they may cause some kind of disaster just because they think it'd make a good story.

Note that this trope is not exclusive to journalists. Other people who work in news media, e.g. editors, can fall under it too.

May overlap with Intrepid Reporter and Glory Hound. May write Advertising Disguised as News stories. Often employed by Strawman News Media and various other sleazy figures and organizations. Compare Kent Brockman News. See also Endangering News Broadcast.

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Paparazzi is a subtrope. Old Media Are Evil is a supertrope.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Two of these appear as vengeance targets in Hell Girl:
    • One Villain of the Week in the first season of is Takashi Inagaki, a journalist who wrote an exaggerated piece on a politician accused of accepting bribes, ruining the lives of the politician and his family. While he did publish a retraction, he did so in such a way that almost nobody actually reads it and he gets sent to Hell by the politician's son despite Hajime's attempts to convince the kid otherwise. Hajime even stopped working for Inagaki a few years before over his lack of ethics and refuses a new job from him when told to fudge an article. Given that Hajime sells celebrities' secrets back to them to make ends meet, that's saying a lot.
    • An episode in season three involves a murderer who was inspired by a recently-published book. One of the three protagonists for the episode is a reporter who wrote a well-researched article on the case, only to have it replaced by a highly sensationalized article that her boss did no research on and published under her name. The reporter sends her boss to Hell for destroying her reputation and livelihood as journalist.

    Comic Books 
  • Deconstructed in Oxymoron. The titular Ax-Crazy supervillain gives local reporter Crystal Gaines "exclusive coverage" of his growing rampage since he's an Attention Whore, which she reluctantly agrees to. While her reporting does end up causing more harm as Oxymoron's notoriety inspires a legion of copycats, it's pretty much An Offer You Can't Refuse, and she becomes one of his many victims later on anyway.
  • Zig-zagged with J. Jonah Jameson Jr., the head editor of the Daily Bugle and one of Spider-Man's most recurring supporting characters. He constantly runs articles that defame Spidey, making him out to be the bad guy working with the supervillains, both because it drives up sales and furthers his personal vendetta against masked individuals. However JJJ is also mentioned to be a crusading journalist when not covering Spider-Man, and has won a Pulitzer Prize for his investigative work. He's also fiercely protective of his staff despite his treatment of them, has gone to jail several times for protecting his sources, is one of the only voices in the mainstream media to advocate for mutant rights, and has stared down more than one supervillain when they try to shake him down for information.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Cassandra Arnold helps the White Magician maintain his status as a hero by helping him be a Villain with Good Publicity through her broadcasts in exchange for getting intel ahead of time about when he's going to be fighting so that she can be the first on scene (sometimes getting there and setting up before the fight starts, and usually on her way there before the fight starts), getting exclusive interviews, misrepresenting things on scene, and intentionally confusing, misleading and cutting away from bystanders to support her narrative.

    Fan Works 
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Ouka Oosawagi is a struggling broadcast reporter who seizes on her ability to provide five minutes of "commentary" in her stand-ups to lambaste Peter for views and clicks. She spreads conspiracy theories and rumors about him, often with little basis, and jumps on any opportunity to get a story even under mysterious circumstances (like when the U.A. barrier is suddenly decayed away by an unknown force).
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    Films — Animation 
  • Louis & Luca and the Snow Machine:
    • Editor-in-chief Frimand Pløsen's newspaper is failing because he keeps making incorrect predictions that it'll start snowing soon. His solution? Pressuring the inventor Theodore Rimspoke to make a snow machine. It gets worse as Pløsen undergoes Sanity Slippage: near the end of the film, he's even willing to let Pinchcliffe disappear in the snow just because it'd make an amazing story. Even after returning to his senses, he doesn't take any responsibility for his actions.
    • Pløsen's journalist Melvind Snerken is a slacker who doesn't seem to be terribly concerned about the accuracy of his articles. At one point he tries to write a recap of a sports match that hasn't even taken place yet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 15 Minutes, the murder of a famous detective is filmed by the perpetrator as part of an elaborate scheme to get off on an Insanity Defense and become rich and famous from the sale of the tape. Afterward the murderer calls Robert Hawkins, the host of a tabloid TV show named Top Story and offers to sell him the tape. Hawkins buys it for one million dollars to run on his show, much to the shock of the entire city.
  • In Ace in the Hole, the cynical and unscrupulous reporter Chuck Tatum ends up taking a job with a small New Mexico newspaper. The job is pretty boring until he finds a man trapped in an old Indian dwelling. When Tatum learns that the rescuers can get the man out in about 12 hours by shoring up the inside of the mine, he convinces the rescue crew to drill in from above instead, a job that will take 6 days and will give Tatum enough time to whip the story into a real career-changing event. The story ends well for neither Tatum nor the caved-in man.
  • Die Hard:
    • In Die Hard, sleazy reporter Dick Thornberg threatens to have the family nanny deported if she doesn't let him interview Holly and John McClane's children. The resultant interview outs Holly as John's wife to the terrorists, leading to potentially fatal consequences. When it is all over, Holly decks the guy.
    • In Die Hard 2, Dick Thornberg goes Large Ham on a live broadcast that terrorists have seized control of Dulles Airport. In reality, the terrorists have simply hacked into the runway wiring, leaving them unlit. This news triggers a panic stampede in the terminal itself.
  • Wayne Gale in Natural Born Killers pursues Outlaw Couple Mickey and Mallory Knox, filming their crimes in lurid detail and turning them into a cult icon purely to keep himself in business. The two get sick of him at the end and kill him following their escape from prison.
  • Nightcrawler is about a petty criminal who learns he can film gruesome violence, disaster, and death and sell it to the local news. Things take an even darker turn when he realizes he doesn't need to wait for the disasters to happen naturally.
  • The Night Flier: Richard Dees is a sleazy and cynical tabloid reporter with few lows he would not stoop to for a story, with trespassing crime scenes and desecrating gravesites being some of his lesser crimes. After promising his new colleague a by-line for her assistance in tracking down the Night Flier, he screws her over by locking her in a closet.
  • Richard Jewell became controversial due to its decision to portray real-life journalist Kathy Scruggs as an immoral journalist who slept with an FBI agent in exchange for getting information on the Centennial Olympic Park Bombing, despite there being no evidence of any such tryst happening in real life.
  • Eddie Brock is depicted this in Spider-Man 3. Eager to get a leg up at the Bugle, he takes pictures of Spider-Man and then heavily doctors them to make them look as though he's engaged in criminal activity. When he's caught out, his entire career is ruined and he's sent down the path to becoming Venom.
  • In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, one of the plot's minor antagonists is David Warfield, a Rupert Murdoch-esque tycoon who buys a majority share of the Daily Planet and immediately turns it into a tabloid newspaper. The two trashy articles that influence the plot the most are the declaration that Superman told a kid who wrote him a request to help create world peace to drop dead when Supes answers that he's reluctant to meddle so much with mankind's affairs, and the declaration that Superman is dead when he is injured during his first fight against Nuclear Man and doesn't shows up for a few days (the other newspapers that appear in the same montage don't go that far in terms of speculation, just saying that they are worried he hasn't been seen).
  • Tomorrow Never Dies has British agent James Bond work with Chinese agent Wai Lin to thwart media mogul Elliot Carver from engineering a war between the United Kingdom and the Peoples Republic of China simply to sell more newspapers and television airtime, body count be damned.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins offers an interesting version of this trope that's paired with Protagonist-Centered Morality. Throughout the film, Florence's husband St. Clair Bayfield is shown paying off critics of all kinds to write flattering reviews of her absolutely horrendous singing. When Earl Wilson, of the New York Post, decides to write a truthful piece instead, he's depicted as something of a bad guy, even though he's literally just doing his job (he doesn't have any personal vendetta against Florence or St. Clair, either) and even turns down a massive bribe to run the story. So he's only immoral in the sense that Florence is the hero; in another movie, Earl would be praised for his crusade.

    Literature 
  • Alex Rider has Harold Bulman, who decides on his own to expose Alex's secret to the world, regardless of the consequences. MI^ have him declared legally dead and arrested for his own murder before he can publish it.
  • Flawed: Pia is introduced as the reporter who interviews every Flawed person after their trial and branding, and Celestine dislikes her, thinking she's using her situation just to cook up drama and get readers while feigning any sort of sympathy for her. Ultimately subverted; Pia uses the alias Lisa Life to report more honest and sympathetic articles about Celestine, proving herself to be a good person and journalist trapped in a bad job.
  • Harry Potter: Rita Skeeter is willing to do anything for a good story, such as spying on people, sensationalising what people tell her, and outright inventing gossip when nothing good comes out. In particular, she's willing to print completely false stories about people she dislikes.
    • She's also literally breaking the law to get her biggest stories: she's an Animagus who can turn herself into a beetle to get dirt. Animagi are required to register with the Ministry of Magic to prevent abuses of power such as Rita's scheming.
  • In The Millennium Trilogy, Rabid Cop Faste offers a unscrupulous journalist inside information into the investigation of Dag and Mia's murder in exchange for the journalist making insinuations about rival Detective Modig.
  • Red Dragon has Freddie Lounds. Embittered that his legitimate journalism career was going nowhere, he went into the sleazy murder-sensationalizing tabloid business. With absolutely no evidence, Lounds decides to write a piece about how the Serial Killer called "The Tooth Fairy" is an impotent repressed homosexual which gets him killed in a particularly brutal fashion.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, there is Geraldine Julienne of the Daily Punctilio, who is ready to publish anything in the paper, provided it makes a good story. For example, after the events of The Vile Village, the Punctilio publishes an article accusing the Baudelaires of Count Olaf's murder and forcing them to stay on the run for the rest of the books.
  • The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum has Werner Tötges, who harasses the title character throughout, frequently makes up quotes and distorts facts to make her life fit a salacious narrative of a promiscuous woman who aids and abets anarchists and terrorists, and doesn't care if she's innocent or not.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hannibal: Fredericka Lounds is a more modern take on the character in Red Dragon. This version is convinced Will Graham is a psychopath, so she basically harasses and stalks him for anything incriminating she can write about.
  • House of Anubis: Joy briefly became one in season 2, once she became editor of the school news blog, "The Jackal". In an effort to bully Nina out of the school, she posted an anonymous article bashing her for things like skipping class or not visiting her hospitalized grandmother, written to make Nina sound like a bad person. Her other friends called her out on being a poor journalist, especially in comparison to the much more informative and considerate Mara, whose blogging alias was what Joy used in writing the Nina article, allowing her to temporarily take credit for the stuff Mara actually wrote.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk and the Man who Shot Santa Claus", Brandy Barber purposely skews Monk's explanatory interview to make him look bad, and seems disappointed when she has to change her coverage to something complimentary after he solves the mystery.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: Louise Cherry is a woman journalist, determined to succeed in the business. She's willing to manipulate her reports so that her articles sell better or to bribe people to get the best information. In "Murdoch Without Borders", she outs herself as a xenophobe who sees all immigrants as invaders and criminals. Her article unfairly pins a Greek man for murder and it's meant to create violent protests and incite deportation.
  • Pagan Peak: Charles Turek is an ambitious journalist with a reputation, for this reason he is chosen by the Krampus Killer to publicise his story. Turek happily goes along with receiving the information the killer sends to him about his murders, allowing him to control the narrative rather than turning over the information to the police, simply so more people will read his articles. Even leaking tapes of the killer torturing people online, and publicising the information that Detective Ellie Stocker is having an affair with her superior. After believing the killer is dead, he even publishes a book glamorising his own role in the events.
  • Parks and Recreation: Joan Calamezzo is an important presence in Pawnee's media, and a reporter that has a taste for controversies more than she is interested in the truth. She extrapolates every little thing that goes wrong and even outright lies about things and events in the city (such as telling that all staff in Leslie's Harvest Festival are criminals when she was specifically told they aren't), and freely shames many of her show's guests (mainly Leslie) whenever it will bring her ratings.
  • In Proven Innocent, journalist Dylan dates defense attorney Madeline Scott in hopes of finding evidence that she murdered her best friend years earlier. After she finds out his true motives, she dumps his ass.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, Geraldine Julienne's character is combined with that of Mrs. Poe, making her even worse. She's a very callous woman whose main priority is writing delicious headlines. Mrs. Poe is shown boasting about her article about the fire that killed the Baudelaire parents right in front of the Baudelaire children. In the final episode, it's shown that her paper will be shut down due to false reporting and she's in jail, most likely as a result of her unethical practices.
  • Sherlock:
    • Kitty Reilly in Series 2. She's convinced Sherlock is a fraud and is looking for any dirt she can get on him to make her career. While it doesn't really redeem her, we eventually learn she was being manipulated by Moriarty.
    • Newspaperman Charles Augustus Magnussen, who snoops into the dark secrets of major political figures and then uses those secrets to blackmail them. Sherlock considers him so disgusting that he opts to simply shoot him in the head rather than find a way to outsmart him.
  • Roger Nixon in Smallville tries to blackmail Lex Luthor into paying him a large sum by threatening to publish an article detailing Lex's wild teenage years in Metropolis, only to find himself in over his head when Lex instead threatens to Un-person him to trap him into his service, chiefly by investigating the car crash in which Lex first met Clark Kent. Nixon comes to share Lex's obsession with finding out Clark's secret, even ignoring Lex's constant warnings for him to stay away from Clark and his parents. In the penultimate episode of Season 1, he spies on Clark and finds out about his Nigh-Invulnerability. In the Season 1 finale, he videotapes Clark surviving an explosion that he himself arranged, bugs the Kents' property so he can eavesdrop on them, steals the key to Clark's ship from Lex, trespasses on the Kents' property to activate the ship with the key and, when discovered by Jonathan and Martha, shamelessly declares his intent to expose Clark to the world. In the Season 2 premiere, Nixon ends up trapped underground along with Jonathan, with whom he argues about Clark's well-being. He initially shows signs of potentially pulling a Heel–Face Turn, only to leave Jonathan trapped and try to make off with a Kryptonite-weakened Clark after the latter comes to rescue them. When Jonathan gets frees and fights him, Nixon gets the upper hand and prepares to kill Jonathan, declaring his willingness to do anything to get his story. Luckily, Lex shows up in time to shoot Nixon dead.
  • The Wire season 5 adds the goings-on at the Baltimore Sun to the show's expanding plot, and how its staff reacts to the shrinking newspaper market. One of the new employees, Scott Templeton, is already admonished by his boss Gus Haynes for fabricating quotes, then proceeds to invent an interview with an (unbeknowst to him) equally fake Serial Killer who's supposedly preying on the homeless of Baltimore. By the end of the season, Scott is promoted and receives a Pulitzer Price for his "investigative reporting", and Gus is demoted.
  • In one episode of NCIS, the killer is a journalist whose career peaked when covering the murder spree of a serial killer some years before, and decided to try reviving his career by committing copycat murders so that he could cover that story again.
  • In her first appearance in Battlestar Galactica (2003), D'Anna Biers is accused of stoking tensions in the fleet behind the veneer of investigative journalism. The issue is rendered moot when it is revealed that she was never a real journalist but a Cylon agent.
  • Black Mirror features one in "The National Anthem", its very first episode—fitting, as the entire plot is a criticism of the 24-hour news cycle and sensationalist journalism. Although the entire industry is called out, the main culprit is Malaika, a journalist at the fictional United Kingdom News. She has a contact at 10 Downing Street and uses topless shots to bait him into leaking her government information so she can get a scoop. Later, she uses that information to try to infiltrate the (supposed) hiding place of the kidnapped Princess Susannah. In most stories, she would be a classic Intrepid Reporter, but this instance makes it clear that she's only making matters worse for everyone involved and cares more about getting an exclusive story than anyone's safety—and she ends up getting shot by government soldiers when they discover an unidentified civilian sneaking around a top-secret facility.
  • In the British satirical show The Day Today, there's Peter O'Hanraha-hanrahan, an aggressively incompetent journalist who either makes up or bungles stories so frequently (during 9/11, live from New York, he reported on WTC "negotiations") that he often elicits an angry rant from the newsreader.
  • V (1983): Kristine Walsh is one of many journalists reporting on the initial First Contact with the alien Visitors, but soon becomes a spokesperson for their cause because of the boost it will give to her career. As the Visitors become increasingly tyrannical by rounding up scientists, this gets her chewed out by an older journalist she used to look up to by calling her "Goebbels". Kristine has a Heel Realization and later tries to expose the Visitors on live air, but it's too little, too late: Diana immediately blasts her.
  • CSI: NY had two.
    • Robert Murdock appears in a few season 5 episodes. He runs a sleazy newspaper and revels in printing stories that make the NYPD look bad, particularly when the "blue flu" hits. Although, he subverts it himself later when he prints a tribute to a fallen officer.
    • In season 8's "Clean Sweep," while at a crime scene, Mac is approached by a reporter named Jennifer Walsh who openly flirts with him, trying to get him to corroborate/comment on things she's speculating about...even going so far as to ask if HE would compromise his own values in order to close a case. When he shuts her down, she worms her way into the lab to accost him in his office with the same questions. He promptly dismisses her, again.
  • Dexter: Christine Hill from season 4 is initially just a bit unscrupulous, sexing it with up with Detective Quinn and then using their pillow talk in her reporting, which is really his own fault for being stupid enough to share confidential information with her. Then it's revealed that she was the one who shot Agent Lundy and is the daughter of the Trinity Killer, whom she tried to cover for.
  • Narcos: Valeria Velez is a reporter and anchorwoman who seduces notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar to gain more insight into his operation, but just becomes a mouthpiece for the cartel in the process and ends up getting her killed. Valeria was loosely based on a Real Life reporter, Virginia Vallejo.
  • The Law & Order episode "Juvenile" starts with the attempted murder of an investigative journalist who claims gangbangers targeted him for his series on how they use old ladies to smuggle drugs. It turns out that the entire story is a fabrication, one that actual gangbangers find quite amusing. He did accidentally get close enough to the truth to make someone nervous in connection with another story, though.

    Music 
  • Bo Burnham's "Channel 5 News" is about an awful, dishonest news channel, with reporters that delight in seeing people hurt and upset, and who are willing to fabricate drama to get views, regardless of who it effects. The Only Sane Man is the weather man, Max, who spends his whole verse being openly remorseful and disgusted by the actions of his channel, and who gets his segment cut short due to going off-script.
  • Chumbawamba has the song "British Colonialism & The BBC", which has the boss of the BBC bragging about killing revolutions.
  • Exaggerated in Moja stick's "Illusory Retrospective". It's about some lunatic who destroys everything, kills everyone and then writes about it in her newspaper even though no one is around to read it.
  • Øystein Sunde's "Smi mens liket er varmt" is about a journalist who's a pretty terrible person: He doesn't care about the truth as long as the paper sells, and never bothers to check his facts because it "takes too long". He encourages people to bully losing athletes when they're already feeling terrible about losing. He chooses to takes pictures of an injured boy instead of calling the ambulance right away. After the boy dies, the journalist takes pictures of his mother while she's crying over him, and then ruins her life with follow-up stories.
  • Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry", which is about the callousness of TV news reporting as well as the tabloidization of all news. It's told from the point of view of a news anchorman who "could've been an actor, but I wound up here", and is thus not a real journalist. The song's theme is that TV news coverage focuses too much on negative and sensationalist news; in particular, deaths, disasters, and scandals, with little regard to the consequences or for what is important.
  • Chamillionaire's song "Hip Hop Police" and "Evening News" features the rapper himself (in whiteface) portraying Bob O'Wildy, a smug news anchor who alternates between insulting him and misleading his viewers before switching to commercials.

    Video Games 
  • Downplayed by the reporter Miranda in Full Throttle: she is not actively malicious, but when she sees a potential tragedy, her first instinct is to write a story about it and send it in to her editor, and only then does she consider helping the victims. For example, while she does administer first aid to Ben after he crashes his bike early in the game, she does so only after shooting a bunch of photos of his unconscious body. Later on, when she overhears that Malcolm Corley is "headed for an ambush", she stakes out in the bushes with a camera to document said ambush instead of warning him, leading to his death (though she manages to capture the murder on film, which then becomes the main MacGuffin of the plot).
  • Jimmy Chen, aka "The Stowaway", Elusive Target in HITMAN 2, started publishing slanderous articles on celebrities after his acting career tanked, and is the object of a contract from someone angry with him sitting on information about the danger of an anti-depressant until the first suicides.
  • In the Nancy Drew video game Alibi In Ashes, TV reporter Brenda Carlton is first shown accusing Nancy of committing arson by burning down the Old Town Hall. We soon see that she tends to not only twist things that people say or trip them into making incriminating statements, but also that she has illegal, invasive and unethical means for getting information. Worse, we find out that she was the one who burned down the Town Hall after luring Nancy to it, hoping to use the fire to frame Nancy for it, to kill her, or both!
  • Touhou: Downplayed with Aya Shameimaru. She frequently twists the truth in her writing to her own advantage and has written lies several times. However, she can be thoughtful about the effect her stories will have, and is more interested in pursuing the truth than ruining other peoples' reputation for the sake of it.
  • As part of the backstory of Yandere Simulator, a good journalist was framed as being one of these. The yandere main character's mother, Ryoba, was also a yandere in high school, and a local journalist began investigating her school after the suspicious deaths of several students, and quickly settled on her as the main suspect. However, Ryoba turned the tables by accusing him of being a pervert stalking a high school girl, and when his evidence proved insufficient to convict her, he became a disgrace and lost his job.
  • Mass Effect and its sequels have Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani, who tries to interview Shepard once per game and each time makes outrageous accusations and takes every opportunity to try and make Shepard look bad. A Paragon Shepard will beat her at her own game and come out looking even more heroic. A Renegade Shepard will probably just punch her lights out.

    Western Animation 
  • Ian Peek from Batman Beyond steals an intangibility belt, kills its creator and uses it to walk through walls and get dirt on Gotham City's celebrities for his tabloid newscast "The Inside Peek".
  • Darkwing Duck: Bianca Beakley starts out as a bad-tempered anchor who yells at her crew and steals their ideas. She escalates to supervillainy to boost ratings and decides to stick with it because Evil Pays Better.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Kent Brockman's personal brand of reporting has absolutely no problem being sleazy as all hell if he thinks it will bring him ratings, such as saying that Marge Simpson has killed people and must be stopped before she kills again when she escapes a mental institution in "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge", his assumption that a space shuttle has been invaded by alien ants and his declaration that he's willing to serve them in "Deep Space Homer" or him calling the local Army base "the kill-bot factory" in "Homer Loves Flanders". In "Girly Edition" he even tells Bart that he only cares about making "personal interest" stories because it brings in ratings.
    • In "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer eventually starts to write fake news for his "Mr. X" webpage to try to keep his 15 Minutes of Fame (he blew his cover as a whistleblower in order to get the money one of his "real" news got, because it would have gone to charity otherwise). While the episode quickly becomes a homage to The Prisoner (1967), we do manage to see that said fake news harmed someone when we get a glimpse of the Flanders children convalescing in bed because Ned didn't give them shots. Todd is apparently undergoing a Near-Death Experience, as his one line is a plaintive "mom?"
    • "Homer Badman" features Rock Bottom, a cable news program that blatantly manipulates footage to sell stories. Homer agrees to an interview to explain why he grabbed a gummi Venus de Milo off a babysitter's behind, and presents his case clearly and succinctly. What airs is a painful mess, with blatant edits and cuts (to the point where a clock in the background keeps leaping around) and an ending wherein Homer apparently "attacks" interviewer Godfrey Jones (by simply zooming in on a still image):
      Homer: Well, someone had to drive the babysitter home. That's when I noticed she was sitting on—her can—oh, just thinking about her—sweet—sweet—can—can...
    • Homer himself becomes one in an episode where he gets yet another job as food critic for the Springfield Shopper. At first, his love of food prompts him to write glowing reviews of every restaurant in town, which, in addition to fattening up the populace, makes the other reporters of the Shopper look bad. They urge Homer to start writing negative reviews instead, and he follows their advice, coming up with extremely nasty pieces without even bothering to dine at the restaurants. The eateries' owners decide to kill Homer to save their businesses.
  • Played With in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "The Krabby Kronicle". Upon seeing the potential of money being made from newspapers, Mr. Krabs sets up his own newspaper business aptly named the Krabby Kronicle with SpongeBob as his reporter. However, things get out of hand when Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob to "embellish" his stories. Being The Ditz that he is, SpongeBob goes around taking pictures of everyone in Bikini Bottom and writes out-of-context stories from them. This turns the newspaper brand into a huge success, but at the expense of ruining people's lives through gossip. Eventually, SpongeBob starts realizing what he's doing wrong and tries to warn Mr. Krabs about it, but he becomes too self-absorbed in his wealth by that point and threatens to take away SpongeBob's fry cooking job. In a clever act of karma, SpongeBob decides to twist Mr. Krab's threat into a story to make it seem like he's being unfairly overworked and underpaid, and combined with the testimonies of the other offended victims, results in everyone boycotting the business and taking back all the money earned from it.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Ponyville Confidential" has Diamond Tiara fulfill a J. Jonah Jameson-esque role as she forces the Cutie Mark Crusaders to write unflattering or outright untrue stories about Ponyville's citizens under the pseudonym of Gabby Gums, such as the Cakes divorcing, excerpts from Rarity's diary, or trying to portray Twilight as a snob, Applejack as lazy, and Rainbow Dash as a softy. When they begin to have doubts, Diamond Tiara keeps them in line by threatening to reveal embarrassing photos of them. When Rarity learns the truth and shares it with her friends, the entire town turns on the Crusaders, which not only makes them pariahs, but ruins their chances of getting gossip. Diamond Tiara does this all to get "juicy" stories and more attention for herself. Thankfully at the end the CMC reveal themselves as Gabby Gums to apologize to the town and tell the whole story. In a bit of Laser-Guided Karma, Diamond Tiara gets demoted to printer while Camera Fiend colt Featherweight becomes the new editor.
  • Superman: The Animated Series gives us Leslie Willis, a nasty radio shock jock whose "reporting" consists of malicious stories and rants about people she doesn't like, especially the Man of Steel himself. A freak accident turns her into the supervillainess Livewire, with the power to manipulate electricity. She proved so popular in the show that she was added to the comics and subsequent TV shows.

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