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Worst News Judgment Ever

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Stop the presses!note 

"Russia and the United States are at war. Missiles have been fired by both sides. Washington and Moscow are in flames. Details on these and other stories in just a moment, but first, this word about hair care."

Exhibited by entire newspaper editing teams at our heroes' hometown papers, the Worst News Judgment Ever gets relatively mundane news stories placed in prominent locations (i.e., A1, above the fold, bannered across five or six columns, and with an overblown mug shot). Our heroes have an easy time finding whatever they happen to be looking for, usually seeing the paper in a vending machine. With that sort of placement, you don't even need to buy the paper — it's all in the giant-print headline.

Usually, the news judgment is so wildly overblown as to cause disconnection from the audience; you will rarely, if ever, see a Lampshade Hanging pointing out this ridiculous fallacy, especially if jaywalking is considered to be a primary headliner rather than subjects that are more important (i.e. wars, climate change, etc.).

While improbable in the real world, the overplayed story in question usually provides our protagonists with a Red Herring.

On the other hand, if the main headline is earth-shattering enough, one may start to wonder why there are any other articles on the front page at all. When the main headline reads "Extinction of Humanity Imminent", then how in the heck is "New Petitions Against Tax" newsworthy?

In a comedy or an old movie, will manifest itself at the end of a Spinning Paper montage.

There is also an inverted version of this trope that is usually used intentionally for ironic purposes: an important story (often describing the events that occurred in the movie we've just seen) is shown stuck in a corner on the newspaper, while a vapid story (such as a celebrity scandal) sucks up the headline space. The paper is showing terrible judgement by emphasizing the wrong story (given, among other examples, the protest of MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski over having to lead with a Paris Hilton story when there were several more serious stories worthy of attention, this could be considered Truth in Television).

This variant is almost always used as a commentary on society's preoccupation with meaningless gossip, but it is sometimes used to show that the world has virtually ignored a story that would have changed everything (such as proof of the existence of aliens, vampires, or similar). In this case, it's not so much bad judgement — the paper would have no way of knowing that the freak meteor shower was the remains of a destroyed alien invasion fleet — but probably still counts as an example of this trope because the audience knows that the small story is actually of critical importance.

Sometimes this will be used as a joke; the "main", plot-important story is used as the main headline, with an even more important story stuck in a corner. For example, in The Trapped Trilogy, one newspaper main headline was about a serial killer escaping. A smaller one was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Some times you'll find comments about the lack of meaningful other news as a joke.

Often used to demonstrate that Old Media Are Evil. Likely to take place in small-town papers or school newspapers. Compare Coincidental Broadcast when used to relay plot-relevant information, and Yet Another Baby Panda when news broadcasts conclude with a fluffy piece. See also Local Angle. Kent Brockman News often features this. Contrast If It Bleeds, It Leads, where the only important info that gets reported to death is the most miserable. Proportional Article Importance is when a reader of the newspaper misjudges the importance of an article.


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  • In the second Johnny Turbo mini-comic, Tony holds up a newspaper that had "FEKA's CD system failing in Japan!!" taking up the top third of the front page. Because low sales of a video game system is shocking, ground-breaking news.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bokurano: After a fight between giant Mecha, a newscaster announces that, despite the fact that a behemoth appeared nearby and many of the aquarium animals were lost, the dolphins probably escaped to the ocean. Much to everyone's relief. The behemoth appearance was also responsible for the deaths of thousands but hey, dolphins are symbolic.
  • CITY: Weekly CITY Magazine, every week. Its publication consists of 2 pages of horoscopes, a page of manga, 4 pages of articles, and 93 pages of advertisements.
  • Drifting Classroom is about an entire school full of students and teachers which one day suddenly disappears for no discernible reason. Obviously, this would receive lots of media attention, since it's a case of lots of possibly dead children as well as something seemingly scientifically impossible. But when it's mentioned in the news report in volume 2, the report about it begins with the words "In other news..." So apparently a scientifically impossible mass disappearance of children isn't as important as whatever it was that the TV news reported about before it.
  • One Piece: Anything plot-relevant will always be in the front page of the papers. Apparently, the characters (or at least Trafalgar Law) expect this, since at one point, he tells Donquixote Doflamingo that if Doflamingo's resignation from the Seven Warlords does not appear on the front page of the next day's paper, Law will not return Doflamingo's head scientist back. There is no mention on what Law would do if the announcement happened anywhere else in the paper. Indeed, Doflamingo's resignation was put on the front page, though the same paper also mentions the teaming up of several notorious pirate captains, Luffy and Law included, placed in the newspaper's middle pages. Justified, however, in that Doflamingo has the clout needed to demand the press to put exactly what he wants into the papers in order to get what he wants.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: The media aboard the Macross gets called out on this in one episode by resident Jerkass Lynn Kaifun, who, in a rare moment of having an actual point, angrily berates a bunch of reporters who are asking about Lynn Minmay collapsing from overwork when a major Canadian city was just annihilated by the Macross's shield system overloading.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5: Mika Masuko, the School Newspaper News Hound, tends to put the story about the Bishōnen she keeps running into as the top story. The story about the five superpowered heroines fighting evil is far less prominent and more understated, if it appears at all. This, however, suits the Precures just since since it makes it easier for them to hide their identities..

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In episode 14, the news gives a lot of attention to a musician who... missed a note while playing a song.

    Comic Books 
  • Ambush Bug: In a letter column, a reader suggested that the Daily Planet couldn't be such a great metropolitan newspaper if it kept running headlines like "SUPERMAN FOILS ALIEN GORILLA HOAX — Presidential election results on page 32."
  • * This website lists several Silver Age Daily Planet examples. Is the marriage of a prominent official’s child being attended by a superhero really newsworthy?
  • Marvel Universe:
    • the Daily Bugle has been known to devote the entire front page to op-ed pieces such as "Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?", complete with banner headlines.
      • In one story Jonah tries to beat this habit, only for all his other ideas to be shot down by his editor. (For example, they tried to run a story about a supervillain's plot to kill New York with poisoned newspaper ink, which got shot down because it would make people paranoid about buying newspapers.) He eventually runs the "Spider-Man: Menace" story again, and the readership makes fun of him for beating a dead horse.
      • In the very first Spider-Man story in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spidey makes the top front-page headline of at least four newspapers, apparently for doing nothing more than showing off his powers and webshooters in front of audiences. And this in 1962, the year, among other things, of Algerian independence, the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. And given that the Fantastic Four had been introduced the previous year, Spidey wasn't even the first or most impressive superhero in the Big Apple.
      • A story in Fantastic Four has the Crusader, a deranged clone of a 50s superhero (long story), going around New York destroying banks and attacking the managers, causing severe economic impact and runs on the remaining banks. The Bugle's only contribution? Accusing the Crusader of looking like Spider-Man (for the record, he really doesn't).
    • The Defenders: Nighthawk has just rescued a young psychic woman who had been horribly experimented on in a lab run by a corrupt company that exploded afterward. Nighthawk tells the other Defenders how such an event will get huge attention from the media and he can't wait to see the company's horrible work plastered over the front pages. At which point, his butler comes up with a newspaper someone had just dropped off with the line "read it and weep." At first confused, Kyle is rocked when he finds a two-paragraph story about a building fire buried about twenty pages into the paper and realizes the company is going to get off scott-free for their actions.
    • Spider-Man: In a Todd McFarlane arc, Spider-Man goes to Canada to investigate a string of savage murders allegedly committed by the Wendigo. During the arc, he encounters Wolverine, who reveals that a mundane human serial killer is the real culprit. The actual murders received banner 72 point headlines, but, when the truth is revealed to the public, the retraction is buried on page 15 or so. Sadly, a case of Truth in Television (during the McCarthy hearings, while his flamboyant accusations were front-page news, whenever any of his accusations were proven wrong, the retractions were buried near the obituaries).
    • Ultimate Marvel Team-Up:
      • Issue 2 has a Daily Bugle, with the fight between Wolverine, Sabretooth and Spider-Man in the cover, titled "Spider-Man: Menace?". In another sector, as a secondary and less interesting piece of news, "Sentinels take N.Y.".
      • And then, Jonah and Robertson get in a discussion about an article about the mutant scare, and completely ignored Ben Urich, who was trying to say that a general called him and warned him that a destructive monster known as Hulk is heading to the city.
  • X-Men: In a TV news example, the X-Men save the Big Applesauce from one of the Mole Man's creatures which Channel 4 talks about for all of thirty seconds, despite spending two minutes on "that useless tart dancing topless in a nightclub", to which Colossus replies "Who is this Hilton girl again?"
  • Diabolik: An old story has a journalist and his editor believing that the title character is a lousy criminal that Ginko made appear incredibly skilled to hide his own incompetence, and printed it on paper. For this, Diabolik murdered them in most spectacular fashion, as the King of Terror couldn't tolerate anyone threatening his status as The Dreaded nor insults to the one cop who actually keeps him somewhat in check.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: "Monkey Business," in issue #67, has the girls' apologies for ruining Mojo Jojo's restaurant business twice making the front page of the Townsville Times.
  • Transmetropolitan: Typical headlines include things like "deranged artificial penises loose in water supply!" and "rogue Japanese ambassador starts 'onnabe' meme", some of the many reasons why Spider (himself a journalist) hates the city. Though once he harassed a senator for pictures of his penis, as a lead-up to a story on an illegal porn studio.
  • X-Statix: In one issue, a reporter cuts away from coverage of a charity event in order to deliver the exclusive scoop that Venus Dee Milo is a virgin.

    Comic Strips 
  • Apartment 3-G: In June 2009, a major news network breaks into programming to announce the return of a minor Tibetan lama from China. For bonus points, the reporter mentions the name of the man who accompanied him — Margo's erstwhile fiancée.
  • Bloom County: A story arc in which space aliens attack Earth with death rays and abduction beams (starting in Bloom County itself, of course) and harvest humans for food and sex slaves toys with this trope when Milo reports all of this to his editor-in-chief (who's already an alcoholic and a chronically nervous wreck) at the Bloom Beacon:
    Editor: You mean you want me to bump my Jack Kemp adultery rumor story to page TWO!?
    Milo: I didn't say that!
  • Dick Tracy: In the crime-ridden big city where the strip takes place, a newspaper runs an above-the-fold story titled "Local Farmer Faces Foreclosure".
  • Doc Savage: An unsold newspaper strip was shopped around to newspapers in 1936. (The first week's worth of strips were eventually published in Doc Savage: Manual of Bronze from Millennium Comics.) The first strip had a villain reading a newspaper that proclaimed as its lead story 'SAVAGE TO SAIL ON THE CAMERONIC', with a subheading 'Famous Adventurer Refuses Interview — Will Not Make Statement'. So the lead story is that someone is sailing on an ocean liner and refusing to talk about it. The mind boggles as to what the rest of the article must have contained. Although the placing of this article on page 1 is a prime example of this trope, stories like this commonly appeared in newspapers of the time. People were fascinated by the travel plans of celebrities, and if they were intending to travel they'd pick a ship based more on who they were sailing with than on the safety or comforts of the vessel in question.
  • FoxTrot:
    • In a strip, Andy is flipping channels, hearing nothing but "Today in the O.J. Simpson trial..." and remarks in exasperation, "100 channels and one thing on."
    • Andy is watching the OJ Simpson trials. Suddenly, breaking news: aliens have landed and are now addressing the UN! Amazing! Now back to the OJ Simpson trials... Andy remarks that now she understands why Elvis shot that television.
  • Mark Trail: Mark loses his beloved puppy. This apparently is so important that the newspaper runs a two-column story on the disappearance, complete with an enormous picture of the dog.
  • One political cartoon involves aliens coming to Earth and saying such things as "We come in peace and bring a cure for cancer." Meanwhile the news reporters are running the opposite direction yelling "J-Lo had twins! J-Lo had twins!"

    Fan Works 
Marvel Universe
  • Pound the Table inverts this during its first arc. When the trial date is set, Noa is expecting the media to be all over the story of a "dangerous" mutant being charged with assault. Instead, the front page announces that Captain America has been found, thawed and rescued.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • Designer Decoy: Discussed and downplayed. Lila's attempted sabotage of Marinette's dress at a young designers competition manages to make headlines in all of Paris' major news outlets. Marinette is surprised that the incident is getting such major coverage, but chalks it up to a combination of it being a slow news day, the scandal of it essentially being an insider job (since the competition was sponsored by Gabriel and Lila was one of their models), and "the international angle" (since Lila's also the daughter of a diplomat).
  • What Goes Around Comes Around: In Truth & Journalism, Marinette's return to school is complicated by a Media Scrum around the bakery, with Nooroo revealing that Ladybug's first day back is currently the top trending story in Paris. The narration even points how how there are certainly other potential stories that are going ignored in favor of hyperfixating upon the teenaged heroine.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Clop it!: Breaking News fancies herself to be an Intrepid Reporter, frequently describing herself as such; in practice, however, she constantly exercises this, latching onto 'sensational scoops' that prove to be anything but.


  • A Rabbit Among Wolves: Justified. When Jaune Arc has the faction of the White Fang under his control do charity work, a story is published in response speculating about whether or not he's a crossdresser. Lisa Lavender secretly sends Jaune a copy of her original draft, revealing that she wished to publish a piece questioning whether he was a villain or a victim of circumstance; however, her editor refused to publish it. The only way to get the story covered at all was through the more lurid lens.

Super Sentai

  • Eiga Sentai Scanranger: One episode has a years-old murder abruptly make front page news, with no explanation as to why it's considered a murder rather than an accident (as the victim fell off a catwalk). The killer is actually the Monster of the Week, despite how the death occurred three years before the villains arrived from deep space.

Team Fortress 2

  • Respawn of the Dead revolves around a zombie outbreak that ultimately destroys an entire town, requiring massive containment efforts to prevent a full-on apocalypse. Yet in the aftermath, the survivors find no new reports about the incident, with the stories that get printed instead seeming positively mundane.

    Film – Animated 
  • Inside Out: Anger regularly reads a newspaper called The Mind Reader which reports on Riley's thoughts, leading to such front page headlines as "NO DESSERT!" and "RILEY QUITS HOCKEY!"
  • Ratatouille: The newspapers in Paris apparently consider events in the hospitality industry worthy of the front page, instead of the business or lifestyle sections. Sure, the French take their food a bit more seriously than the inhabitants of other countries, but not to that extent.

  • Alex Rider: The death of a small time journalist is on the front page. Turns out that's because he wasn't really dead, it was MI6 trying to scare him out of revealing the truth about Alex, so they had to make sure he saw the story.
  • America (The Book) delivers a page-long "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the media for failing to be more confrontational in the run-up to the Iraq War, citing a defense of "But the last season of Friends really is news!" in mockery.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The announcement of the Golden Ticket contest and the subsequent search for the tickets dominates newspaper front pages — and, in adaptations, television news as well — for weeks on end. Granted, the contest is Serious Business to most of the world, with people being driven to ridiculous and even criminal means to find the tickets.
  • Dave Barry mocked the once-prevalent use of this trope in political campaign ads in Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway. In his satirical campaign ads, both candidates used "realistic newspaper headlines" with illegible articles, the headlines detailing all sorts of atrocities committed by the opponent. In one of his year in review columns, he described the North Koreans becoming increasingly bored and annoyed since they invaded and took over the U.S. and it hadn't made the news at all. Eventually they figure out a solution: start a Reality TV show. The show is called something along the lines of We Have Taken Over Your Country Imperialist Pigs. Which quickly got canceled because nobody in the show was blonde.
  • Discworld book The Truth plays with this; while chief editor William de Worde believes it's important to put big stories that affect the whole city (like "Patrician Stabs Clerk With Knife! (He had the knife, not the clerk)" in his newspaper, his business partner Sacharissa Cripslock focuses on more frivolous stories if they'll help sell the paper. They have a big argument about it but eventually decide to keep both.
  • Somewhat lampshaded in Jeffrey Archer's The Fourth Estate. Richard Armstrong goes into a tirade against the editor of one of his newspapers that led with "Extra Benefits for Nurses" while his rival Keith Townsend had his newspaper lead with "Top Pop Star in Drug Scandal". The editor replies that the pop star in question had never had a hit in the top 100 and was caught smoking a joint in the privacy of his own home. After Townsend pulls more stunts like a bingo contest and a nude on page three, Armstrong eventually fires his editor.
  • The The Great Brain entry More Adventures of the Great Brain has Tom deciding to prove he can work for his father's small-town paper by putting out one of his own. To his credit, Tom is able to solve a major bank robbery as a front-page story. However, the rest of his "news" is malicious gossip about town residents, much of it already known for years, people just didn't bring it to light. This leads to full-on fights in the streets and people threatening to sue Papa until he calms them down. Incredibly, Tom thinks his father is upset about him scooping him until his dad gives a massive Break the Haughty speech on Tom mistaking gossip for news, causing a mess with his tales, and the only thing he's "proven" is that he's only fit to deliver the paper, not write for it. Tom's brother, J.D. is rocked by how, for the first time, his brother is reduced to tears realizing how bad he screwed up.
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is lying down next to the window in order to hear the TV news to see if there is anything about mysterious disappearances or deaths, which would tell him that Voldemort is moving. Instead, he ends up hearing a newspiece about a bird that has learned water skiing in order to keep the heat away. Although it is made clear that this is the traditional silly/'feel good' at the end of the news bulletin and not a lead story. Harry is also sensible enough to note that if they had enough time during the broadcast for water-skiing birds, there clearly weren't any murders that day to report on.
    • In the third book, Ron's family winning a large cash prize in a contest run by the paper is the leading article. Granted, the newspaper would want to toot its own horn, and they'd probably mention it somewhere on the front page, but that's still not enough to make it the leading story. Especially considering that barely a month earlier, a teacher lost his memory, a student nearly died, and a prominent citizen lost his position on the Hogwarts Board of Governors. And all this under suspicious circumstances, in a children's school which most wizards consider to be the safest place around. You'd think they'd at least have pointed out that one of the kids featured in the article was the girl who almost died at Hogwarts.
    • As the fifth book shows, the Ministry of Magic isn't afraid of squashing the Prophet from running stories it doesn't like (and the Prophet generally is fine with complying). Given that the newsworthy events of the second book also involved the Ministry making very bad moves (Fudge wrongly arrested Hagrid and kicked out Dumbledore, still didn't stop the danger to the students, and ended up having it revealed that he and the Board of Governors were bullied into it by Lucius Malfoy), it wouldn't be that hard to see the Ministry downplaying those events, or having them ignored entirely.
  • Left Behind: Every child on the planet has just disappeared, along with a great many Christians. The planet is plagued by horrific plane crashes and car accidents as a result. The Pope himself is gone, and the Catholic church has fallen into disarray. What stories do Global Weekly consider the most important to cover? A convention of Jews in New York, and a recent recall election in Romania. This stuff wouldn't be front page material on a slow news day.
    • "Ladies and gentlemen, we have an urgent news bulletin! A minor reporter from the midwest who you have never heard of and who nobody but his 3 friends give a flying fuck about, is feared dead following a 'mysterious car bombing'! In other news, all children in the entire world vanished last night, experts say it was likely the result of 'excess electromagnetism' or some shit, so in other words we have no idea and it could happen again to all of us at any second. In sports news..."
    • The hiring of a pilot for Air Force One is a major headline in the aftermath of the worst disaster humanity has ever known. note  While arguably a prestigious position, even aviation magazines probably aren't going to be covering this event in light of everything else that's happened to that point.
  • Murder Is My Business: The entire story only happens because an old lady in New Orleans reads a newspaper article about a soldier who was struck and killed in a traffic accident in El Paso, Texas, and asks private detective Michael Shayne to go there and investigate. (She believes the dead soldier is her son, who enlisted under an assumed name.) Why is the death of a random GI in a traffic accident national news?
  • Regarding The...: The Dry Creek/Geyser Creek Gazette zigzags this trope. Sometimes its front-page headline will be about a state election or a cargo ship sinking under mysterious circumstances; sometimes it'll be about a sixth grade class holding a field trip fundraiser. Since the series uses an Epistolary Novel format, the newspaper usually functions as exposition expanding on what the various characters are talking about in their letters (no matter how news-worthy these events would be in real life).
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: "HEIMLICH HOSPITAL ALMOST FORGETS PAPERWORK!" Wait until the readers of the Daily Punctilio read about this!
  • Featured several times in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, particularly Lost In A Good Book:
    "Toad News Network was the top news station, Lydia Startright their top reporter. If there was a top event, you could bet your top dollar that Toad would make it their top story. When Tunbridge Wells was given to the Russians as war reparations there was no topper story — except, that is, the mammoth migrations, speculation on Bonzo the Wonder Hound's next movie or whether Lola Vavoom shaved her armpits or not. My father said that it was a delightfully odd — and dangerously self-destructive — quirk of humans that we were far more interested in pointless trivia than genuine news stories."
    [upon finding a new Shakespeare play] "He showed me a copy of The Owl. The headline read: ‘New play by Will found in Swindon’. The Mole had the headline: ‘Cardenio sensation!’ and The Toad, predictably enough, led with ‘Swindon Croquet Supremo Aubrey Jambe found in bath with chimp’."
  • In Why Not Me?, the Franken-Lieberman victory in the presidential election is such a Foregone Conclusion that the top headline after Election Day is "PRINCE CHARLES KILLED IN POLO MISHAP!"

  • The Onion would have many examples of this if it weren't a parody newspaper and not obligated to do real reporting. However, "No Jennifer Lopez News Today" is a parody of this trope: a story about reporters desperate to find reasons to reprint the famous photo of Lopez in her Grammy Awards dress (which is printed twice alongside the article).
    • An even older article had the story: "CNN Still Releasing News Piled Up During Elián González Saga". They included stuff like "China's Communist Government Falls", "Bubonic Plague Outbreak in Africa", "Los Angeles swallowed by the Sea" and "Mexico invades Texas". A photograph in the article shows a stack of videotapes with labels like "Library of Congress Demolition" and "Albrightnote  Rape Footage".
    • Our Dumb Century had an article about the 1992 Somali genocide being ignored by Americans in favor of "Dream Team Excitement" (the U.S. Olympic basketball team).
  • In 2008, People magazine ran a cover story about Ellen DeGeneres getting married to Portia De Rossi. The story about American Michael Phelps being the first person EVER to win 8 gold medals in swimming got a tiny little mention in the corner. An Op Ed later chewed them out for it.
    • The same thing happened in 2011 when they ran a cover story about relation troubles between the current couple on The Bachelor, and demoted a story about the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan to a small thumbnail image on the top left corner.
    • People does this most of the time, being dedicated to celebrity gossip and human interest stories rather than important news.
  • Private Eye parodies this sort of thing regularly in the 'Colour Section', with common versions being popular celebrity news being rewritten as a story "Exclusive to All Newspapers" and described in straightforward, "Man Rides Bike" style — often with a mention of a far more important story being on Page 94. It's "Street of Shame" (Newspaper News) section may instead attack such things directly, and it also has the occasional feature "Going Live" to note the more absurd examples of a journalist standing on the street outside a house where something interesting happened several hours ago.

  • The death of a single drug addict makes the front page of the Los Angeles Times in Eazy-E's "Boyz N Tha Hood." "Little did he know I had a loaded 12 gauge/ One sucka dead, L.A. Times front page."
  • Joe Jackson takes several shots at the British tabloids and their front-page stories in his song "Sunday Papers":
    If you want to know about the gay politician
    If you want to know how to drive your car
    If you want to know about the new sex position
    You can read it in the Sunday papers, read it in the Sunday papers
  • During the introduction to "MLF Lullaby", Tom Lehrer quipped that "Much of this discussion took place during the baseball season, so the Chronicle may not have covered it".
  • In the Hatsune Miku song "News 39", the mission statement of the Channel 39 news is to make their headlines about the most uplifting and positive news in the world no matter how small it is (an entire segment is dedicated to a local couple's engagement, for example). The anchorwoman justifies it by saying people need to know there's still good out there in spite of the bitter news that can be watched anywhere else.
  • "New Dress" by Depeche Mode notes that, for all the tragedy and important news stories in the world, in the eyes of the media that wasn't as important as the fact that "Princess Di is wearing a new dress!"
  • In "In the Middle of the Night" by Madness, a newsagent and compulsive Panty Thief goes on the run after seeing a photofit of himself on the front page of the Sun, a national British tabloid (referred to in the song by its Rhyming Slang nickname, the Currant Bun). Even given the reputation of the Sun, it must have been a slow news day for a photofit of a local pervert to be front-page news.

  • A classic Bob & Ray skit combines this with Weirdness Censor, as newsman Wally Ballou doggedly interviews a cranberry grower in Times Square even as sirens, gunshots, screams, etc. are heard in the background. Revisited in their 1979 NBC TV special; see it here.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • An old George Carlin bit has him doing a promo for the nightly news: "The sun did not come up this morning, huge cracks have appeared in the earth's surface, and big rocks are falling out of the sky. Details 25 minutes from now on Action Central News."
  • Chris Rock joked in 2004 that George Bush was trying to distract us from the war in Iraq by making news stories that the media would cover instead. He was the one who sent the girl to Kobe Bryant's hotel room, he killed Laci Peterson, he sent the little boy to Michael Jackson's house, and he made Paris Hilton's sex tape.
  • Eddie Izzard inverts this in Definite Article, when she notes that even papers don't steep too low:
    Thimbles don’t get enough press these days, do they? I don’t think they ever did, because very rarely you see, "'Thimbles? Ooh!' Says Man."
  • Wanda Sykes once called out the news for teasing recall notices during the evening news:
    Reporter: It will kill you, and it might be on your dinner plate right now. We'll tell you what it is after the break.
    Wanda: (horrified expression as she looks at a mimed spoon that is moments from entering her mouth) Is it peas?!

    Video Games 
  • Alba: A Wildlife Adventure: When Alba completes a quest, the newspaper (El Pinar Diario) will show large headlines like "Birdwatchers seen at beach".
  • In the "Pandoran Gazette" (which comes with the Collector's Edition) in Borderlands 2, this is lampshaded.
    Local Newspaper Writer Desperate To Fill Space On Page
    Two hundred words. That's a lot of words. I mean, relatively, I guess it isn't — War and Peace was a lot of words. At least three hundred, definitely. But in a world where a headline like "Man eaten alive by giant ape monster" doesn't warrant much more than a shrug, it's hard to find two hundred words worth of news that will actually excite people.
  • In Chulip, the local paper will post about any and all events that go on in Long Life Town, including who Our Protagonist has kissed.
  • Zig-Zagged in Circus Electrique: After 'the Maddening', the Illustrious London Voice prints regular reports on how the titular circus is faring, such as the reaction to the latest show you held, the enemies you fought in your latest battle, and how your resource management is going. The last is Justified by the Ringmaster making that information public in hopes of attracting investors. And at least some of your exploits are, in fact, major breakthroughs.
    • Further Justified in that the Maddening is making it difficult for most of the newstaff (aside from plucky protagonist Amelia Craig) to venture out and bring in other stories. This also doubles as a justification for the Voice reprinting old articles from their archives, helping reveal the Backstory and lore.
  • Drakensang 2: River of Time plays with this: there is a newspaper boy in Nadoret, the main city in the game, selling both the local paper and the all-Aventurian paper. The local paper contains one article each, mentioning recent events in the game, while the 'big' paper gives a historical overview, but is more window-dressing, containing little that is relevant to the game.
    • Woman kisses toad — yuck!
  • The newspapers ending each level in Hitman: Blood Money will always give the 72 point treatment to whichever assassination 47 has just pulled off. Meanwhile, stories like the death of the United States vice president are relegated to minor blurbs.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3, Three Dog of Galaxy News Radio seems to focus specifically on the Lone Wanderer, either praising or insulting them based on the player's actions. Lampshaded when he covers the Lone Wanderer starting a Collection Sidequest for Nuka Cola Quantum, stating that it's a slow news day. Since the only events of the world before the Lone Wanderer and later the Enclave arrives are "Brotherhood paladins kill Super Mutants", "Raiders ransack caravans, burn villages and use victim's bodies as home decoration" or "Ghouls spotted and/or eliminated somewhere", seeing some change is noteworthy for everybody.
    • Generally averted in Fallout: New Vegas, where Mr. New Vegas, the Radio host of Radio Vegas's news reports are generally news worthy. And the Courier is rarely ever mentioned by name, except for the one news story relating to him being shot in the head and recovering (which is what kicks off the game). Played straight in a few stories, such as the one relating to the Camp Golf rookies and their training scores.
    • In Fallout 4, Travis of Diamond City Radio generally tries to report the news as is while remaining impartial (though he's generally supportive of the Minutemen overall) as well as usually dancing around the player's involvement in the events, but he's also hindered by the fact that he's a nervous wreck of a man. By completing his sidequest however, he becomes a better DJ and reporter and will report the news with more detail and confidence while still remaining mostly impartial.
  • Max Payne: Max sees a bunch of newspapers and newscasts with a story about the murder of his colleague. On the very same night he was murdered that is.
  • Quite a few clues in Nancy Drew games can be gleaned from newspaper articles or magazines. Sometimes the relevant not-especially-newsworthy article will share the front page with several others... each of which is a Continuity Nod to a previous game from the series, and just as trivial.
  • The title screen of Paperboy is a newspaper declaring on the front page that "Amazing Paperboy Delivers!" If he runs out of lives or loses all his customers, his subsequent firing makes the front page as well. And if he makes it through the week alive and retires (after just one week?!)... same thing. Not to mention the world of Paperboy is a World of Weirdness where the paper route contains sentient lawn ornaments, miniature tornadoes, and the actual Grim Reaper, all things you'd think would make the news first. Newspaper delivery truly is Serious Business. Some Fridge Logic here: if no one is reading the paper, is it news? The paperboy example is, of course, spoofed in the movie Press Start (2007).
  • In later Pokémon games the TV-news-crew apparently have nothing better to do but follow you around and tell their audience about stuff like you catching a Level 3 Bidoof, or inform the world that your plants need watering. Never mind that there's an evil organization about possibly stealing Pokémon and trying to destroy the world...
    • Similarly, most of the Pokemon News Flash segments in Pokémon Channel (particularly the ones with Meowth) mostly have news that's not only trivial, but also virtually pointless.
  • Invoked in the flash game The Republia Times. You play as the newspaper editor of The Dictatorship and ordered to puff up pieces that keep people entertained (to bring in more readers) or inspire loyalty while downplaying negative news. Thus until you're contacted by La Résistance you're encouraged to produce papers with huge articles about a celebrity wedding while stories like a terrorist bomb causing 600 casualties being relegated to the side column.
  • At the end of Rock Band 3, a series of Spinning Newspapers tells of the ensuing riot after your band's definitive performance, your rise to global super-stardom, the media attention that swamps you and how your band eventually goes missing in a plane crash over the seas of Venezuela. The final article telling of the search being called off with no hope of survivors has on the side a piece headlined "Starlet drinks coffee!"note . For the curious, your band didn't actually die; it was a scheme to escape the media attention, giving you an opportunity for a tropical vacation.
  • In StarCraft II, UNN reporter Kate Lockwell is interviewing the Crown Prince while the Dominion is facing both an invasion by the Zerg and a rebellion... and anchor Donny Vermillion decides to ask him about his love life. Here, the bad news judgement is in the questions — any sane reporter would ask him about Raynor's rebellion, or the war with the Zerg. Fortunately, Valerian gives a quick and simple answer to Vermillion's question (he actually has a crush on Lockwell) before moving on to more important matters.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, the Delfino Emergency Broadcast System will frequently scroll plot-important updates across the bottom of the screen. Generally, these involve things that would genuinely qualify as important news in this world, such as the kidnapping of Princess Peach or the game's villain being spotted about town. However, at one point, the D.E.B.S. sees fit to broadcast the sighting of a Yoshi egg on a local rooftop. Funnier yet, it ends the announcement in question with "reports are unconfirmed", as if it's a difficult feat to go look on top of the roof in question.
  • In Tomodachi Life, this is the point of Mii News. Other than announcing when something's unlocked, their main point in the game... Is to announce silly news articles, such as a Mii reentering Kindergarten, or a Mii finding a lost sock. Sometimes interviewed Miis will lampshade this with these possible responses:
    In other words, we're having a really slow news day, right?
    Isn't there anything more interesting going on?
    Do you guys ever cover anything serious?
  • A running gag is that no one reads Aya's Bunbunmaru newspaper in Touhou, which probably has to do with the second running gag that Aya can't keep a straight story, will often ignore facts or focus on the wrong details, or write outright useless stories that will be weeks old when the paper is finally distributed.

    Visual Novels 
  • A former police officer being convicted of poisoning a customer is definitely newsworthy. However, the news article Gumshoe brings Phoenix in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations says absolutely nothing about the case (not even the defendant's or victim's name) and focuses on what a shoddy defense Phoenix gave her. True, his defense was inexplicably poor and the idea that he might have essentially thrown the case might be newsworthy, but at the expense of all other information? Of course it wasn't Phoenix at all, but Furio Tigre dressed as Phoenix.


    Web Original 
  • In Darwin's Soldiers 3 a fight between two characters literally tears up the entire Las Vegas strip. Also, a different character was killed in a convenience store. Somehow, the latter event made the papers, but the former did not.
  • Lampshaded in one of the missions on the WGBH FFFBI site, where one of the items in the mission dossier is a newspaper article about New Delhi getting new binumerical street signs (that does come in handy in teaching the agent Hindi numerals) that ends with the line "Bystanders agreed with India Inquirer reporters that it was indeed a slow day for news."
  • The JibJab video, "What We Call the News" sums up this trope in a nutshell.
  • JonTron suggests that this is why there's a disproportionately high amount of Italian-animated films about the Titanic featuring talking mice.
    Jon: But this isn't even the only Italian-animated Titanic film that features. Talking. Mice. The other being called The Legend of the Titanic, The LEGEND of the Titanic. Did Italy just miss the news that day? Was that the day the world's biggest meatball was made, and the Titanic sinking was just a footnote right at the bottom?
  • In the Rifftrax short Overcoming Fear, the lead character proudly carries around a stack of newspapers where the front story is his in-class defense of a new bicycle regulation.
    Newspaper: "Student Defends Bicycle Ordinance."
    Kevin: "On slowest news day in history."
  • In a Strong Bad Email segment, Strong Bad runs his own news show and keeps teasing "The World in Crisis" as a major news story… that gets pre-empted for such significant news as a line forming at Bubs' Concession Stand, Strong Mad saying "I SHOULD WIN!" regarding sports, and a weather report allegedly given by an inanimate object. He never explains "The World in Crisis" story.
  • Played for Laughs in Suburban Knights, in which a recorded news broadcast from the eighties gives most of its focus on the disappearance of a geeky LARPER named Chuck Gaffers. The story following that?
    On a lighter note, the president has been shot.
  • The first game in The Trapped Trilogy ends with a newspaper with a headline about a serial killer who's the main character of the game, and the main villain of the series on the loose. Headline-worthy material, to be sure, except that just below it is a story about the second coming of Jesus.
  • In Video Game High School, a news segment about the president being kidnapped is interrupted with news about varsity captain of VGHS getting fragged in a pubstomp.
  • In Vinesauce Tomodachi Life, the already bizarre news reports in the game get cranked up in a side episode where Vinny plays the prequel Tomodachi Collection. At several points in the episode, Vineschnoz (a clone of Vinny's Mii that sports a Gag Nose) tries to share his hot news. Thanks to the game corruptions Vinny is implementing, his reports range from odd (saying some Gratuitous Japanese) to weird (a conspiracy theory involving ents and "ÄSlw b" that he says twice) to slightly frightening (talking about the aforementioned "ÄSlw b" while being covered up by a glitched texture wall). For some reason, the last report he gives out is completely normal (by Tomodachi standards of normal).
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • While Cecil's sense of what makes a news story noteworthy is often a bit skewed, he usually does manage to pick out the relevant stories to report on. However, he really drops the ball in Ep. 31, "A Blinking Light up on the Mountain". He neglects to mention (first) that the mountain is new, (second) that the new mountain rose out of a new set of mud plains, and (third) that the mud plains are currently covered by an invading army.
    • Returns in Ep. 60 "Water Failure" when, despite several incrediby news-worthy happenings around town, Cecil keeps getting sidetracked by station problems, such as the water being off so he can't make coffee:
    Cecil: We've tried to turn off the faucets, but the handles just spin loosely and have seemingly no effect on the smell. We tried calling the plumber but they just screamed something about there being four suns. 'Four suns!' they howled into the phone, before muttering for a while about nothing being as it seems, we've been duped by God, all is lost, blah-blah, something-something living nightmares. So, I guess we’re going to have to contact the Water Department directly about this issue. (Beat) Oh! Also, I should have mentioned earlier, the two suns have now doubled to four suns. There are now four suns in the sky. So that’s awful.
    • In "[Best Of?]", we get to hear a clip from Cecil's first broadcast after becoming full-time radio host, where he picked Leonard Burton's retirement as his main story over America entering WWII.
  • Parodied in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series episode 24:
    News Caster: We interrupt this program to give you an urgent report. It seems that the Domino Museum is holding an extremely boring exhibition on ancient Egypt. Apparently this qualifies as news. In other plot-related stories, Seto Kaiba is about to receive an important phone call.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Worst News Judgement Ever


Hatchetfield Action News

Unlike most examples, Paul Matthews actually pays attention to the local news story on his television... Which is unfortunately a Human-Interest Story and not a report on the apocalypse-bringing meteor, with Paul turning his TV off during the latter story.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IgnoredVitalNewsReports

Media sources: