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Worst News Judgment Ever / Real Life

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Ironically for a Trope about news, the sheer number of Real Life examples show that Truth is clearly stranger than fiction.


  • On June 14, 1940, every newspaper in Cleveland had their front page, above-the-fold headline focusing on how nine members of the Indians had gone to their owner to demand manager Oscar Vitt be fired. It placed above the other item of the day: Paris falling to the German army.
  • For many of these real-life examples that occur in modern times, it is important to remember that most people in advanced nations no longer bother to read newspapers and instead get their information on the internet. Therefore, they only read the stories and articles that interest them. It was the same way back when newspapers had their heyday, but back then if you wanted to read the one story in the newspaper you were actually interested in, you had to buy the whole paper. Now, if you go to the Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC webpage, there may be hundreds of stories, but you're only going to point-and-click-and-read the ones you want to. This is why that often insignificant celebrity gossip or events that are trivial in terms of the big picture are prominently displayed on the page.
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  • The short-lived sci-fi series Threshold touched on this when a sardonic scientist notes "the day the Mars probe landed, one of the greatest achievements in human history, you know what the lead story of every newscast that night was? Britney Spears married in Vegas."
  • During the height of the Paris Hilton nonsense (covered in more detail below) surrounding her going to jail, when on-air anchors were loudly voicing their displeasure at having to report on such a unimportant event, one of the the senior editors for a news site wrote a concise article where he put the responsibility right back where it belongs, on the people reading the news. He wrote that while he personally could not stand Paris Hilton, could not stomach the fact that he was writing about her, and (like everyone else) heartedly wished she would go away, she was the only thing that people wanted to read about. He also said that there were plenty of links on their web page to actual, important news, but no one was reading them. Everyone was clicking the links for the Paris Hilton stories and breathlessly reading those. These created a monster that fed itself.
    He had to get people to come to his news web page in order to get page views, the more page views he had, the more popular his site was, the more popular his site was the higher it was on the radar of the advertisers who bought ad space, and the more advertisers who bought ad space, the more revenue he could earn that would allow him to earn a profit and stay in business. It was only common sense, therefore, to give the people what they wanted in order for him to stay in business. He finished by saying that knowing all of that didn't make him feel any better about himself for running a Paris Hilton story.
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  • Many small-town newspapers — in particular mom-and-pop-run weeklies, with circulation in rural communities and where the owners and/or news staff have little to no actual journalism training or news sense — tend to emphasize "chicken dinner" stories (e.g., "Church supper draws 300 people"), social events, personality features, or fluff anecdotes about nothing in general above actual news. Much like the fictional example given in the lead of this article, the headlines run front page above the fold, with oversized photographs and large-font headlines emblazoned across the page. Actual news — a fire, crime, or controversial issues affecting local government/schools — may be buried deep in the paper or completely ignored. While some editors say this is because the event in question may be several days old and in their mind covered sufficiently by competing media (i.e. TV and daily newspapers in the paper's circulation area) with more resources, others do this because of their lack of training/skill/news sense, or the staff's priorities (for instance, a perception that their readers want "good news" over the negative). TV newsrooms in smaller markets often have the same problem due to the focus on local issues. They also tend to focus on car accidents and crime.
  • The term "junk food news" is used by some sarcastically to define news they say is "sensationalized, personalized, and homogenized inconsequential trivia." Critics contend that such news — often celebrity/show business/Hollywood rumors, the latest (ultimately short-lived) fads, dubious medical/consumer advice/claims/research that is little more than a pitch for some useless product, major sports events/rumors, certain criminal trials (e.g., the murder trials of O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony), "weird" news, "humorous" police blotter items and "chicken dinner fluff" — take the place of serious, investigative/watchdog journalism. For example, a news story recounting the legal troubles of Lindsay Lohan might receive banner news attention while a story about, say, a binding referendum that could expand or scale back gun control policies, or a vote on requiring an ID to purchase cleaning fluid, gets little to no attention. More can be read at that other Wiki. Supporters of the "junk food news" theory might claim that such news detracts from a journalist's actual mission (to keep government in check) and has allowed — either by acting passively or as part of some larger "conspiracy" — government to, in their words, "infringe on the rights of others." Those who debunk that argument will counter with claims that actual news is given sufficient coverage and that the public is interested in pop culture (e.g., how their favorite team did if they've played in a championship game, the latest news on Michael Jackson, etc.).
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    • With regard to police news, many newspapers will publish a listing of police calls from within the cities and counties within the circulation area, and on occasion such calls will involve unusual circumstances (e.g., officers finding a boa constrictor while searching a car trunk for stolen goods, a drunk driving suspect who was totally naked). While virtually everyone would agree such calls are a matter of record, regardless of the circumstances, and more often than not merit separate stories, the disproportionate emphasis on the "offbeat" calls and such getting banner headline coverage (above serious police/crime/court stories) is the point of contention.
    • In addition to "humorous" police news, some critics contend that "missing white woman" (i.e., "damsel in distress") stories, or stories about a search for a missing person the media supposedly portrays as "sympathetic", get disproportionate media coverage over serious reporting on police issues and criminal/court proceedings. The term "Missing White Woman Syndrome" comes from the victims of such incidents, usually a young, attractive white woman of a middle- to upper-middle-class background, often illustrated through extensive use of formal photographs and other pictures of said victim in "happy times" with family and friends, and interviews with close friends and family (often tearfully pleading for the safe return of their friend/daughter, even though they know it most likely isn't going to happen). In contrast, unless they are sufficiently well-known to the point that their disappearance cannot be ignored or if the editor's/publisher's values are different than larger media, men and/or the women who don't fit the stereotypical "totally hot babe" definition (e.g., a fat, ugly short man) frequently get none of the coverage... or, if they do, get buried deep in a little-read section of the newspaper under a small headline. More can be read at that other Wiki.
    • Project Censored annually complies a list of stories it says were the most ignored and/or underreported by the mainstream media during the past year; the 2011 top "ignored" story was "More soldiers committed suicide than died in combat in 2010." Supporters say that pop culture, personality features and "chicken dinner" stories with little or no actual headline value get preference over the actual stories.
  • This sometimes cannot be avoided, often when a major news event occurs just as the paper is about to go to press. Unwilling to recompose the layout, some editors will simply drop the major event in a corner and leave the rest of the front page intact. The same thing can happen with news magazines which are written well ahead of being put on shelves. In other words, something similar to Animation Lead Time. For example, the May 2nd 2011 edition of the Danville Commercial-News led with an article about a local shopping mall agreement, relegating the death of Osama bin Laden to a single column halfway down the right of the page.
    • This can appear to be the case for newsmagazines (Time, etc.) that are printed and on the newsstands well in advance of the date printed on the cover.
  • Mock the Week's 2011 series made no mention of the phone hacking scandal that came to a head in July 2011, because the news really broke after they'd finished filming the last full episode. The continuity announcer was almost apologetic in this respect.
  • Happened all the time in the 1930s Newsreel, which was always geared more toward light entertainment than the dissemination of information. In a decade when North America witnessed (among other things) more bank runs, home foreclosures, protest marches, public works programs, constitutional controversies, and natural disasters than it would ever be possible to mention on a single page, the most obsessively promoted story in the newsreels was... the Dionne Quintuplets. These were five identical little girls born to a French-Canadian family from Ontario, and their appearance marked the first mass-media coverage of multiple births in history. Newsreel reporters tirelessly covered the Dionne girls as they grew up throughout the 1930s, as they were at the time the only known case of surviving quintuplets. Unfortunately, their remarkable situation was exploited both by their physician and by the Canadian government when the Dionnes were taken from their parents as infants and used/abused as a tourist attraction. The Other Wiki has the entire sordid story here.
    • The whole hullabaloo was parodied more than six decades later in the South Park episode "Quintuplets 2000," which had the townspeople becoming obsessed with some Romanian quintuplets in a story that also doubled as commentary on the then-current Elian Gonzalez case.
    • Then there were the criminals of the time. In the first part of 1934, there were often going to be a couple of newspaper stories on bank robber John Dillinger on a daily basis — especially in Midwestern cities.
  • Extremely high-profile celebrity deaths, such as those of Princess Diana and Michael Jackson, and their aftermaths aren't exactly unimportant, but they have an alarming tendency to dominate international media for weeks on end at the expense of equally or more newsworthy stories. Diana's overshadowed the death of Mother Teresa the same week, and Jackson's death (especially in the U.S.) seemingly overshadowed any other story of the summer of 2009, from Iranian voter revolts to North Korean missile tests. 24-Hour News Networks are especially bad about this.
    • For all the coverage Whitney Houston's death got, you could be forgiven for thinking she only ever sang one song over and over again for her entire life.
    • Alongside that, celebrity disappearances, such as John-John, John F. Kennedy's son, get oodles of media attention even when there's nothing to actually report on.
    • Regarding Michael Jackson's death, KNX 1070, a news radio station in Los Angeles, created a new section, "The Michael Jackson Update," for any little bits of information regarding his death. This section went on for at least a month and was repeated each hour.
  • The death of Diana exposed massively bad news judgement on the part of British Newspapers. From their point of view, the timing of her death was incredibly inconvenient: it happened just as the Sunday papers were going to press very early on a Sunday morning. The most the papers could do so as to get to the sales point on Sunday on time was to hurriedly strip off the front pages and print "Breaking News!" together with the first very rushed expressions of sadness and sorrow that a great saintly woman had died horribly in a car crash. Unfortunately the inside pages still contained news and opinion articles, prepared before her death, that carried the previous editorial wisdom that Diana was a calculating harpy out to destroy the Royal Family from within/ a brain-dead blonde bimbo/a threat to the security of the Windsors/ an embarrassment who was having an affair with an Egyptian Arab (who also died in the crash) and possibly about to give the royal princes an Arab half-brother. The resulting incongruence did not sit well and provoked a Hatedom of some magnitude; it also illustrated how editorial lines can about-face in an instant and said something about the nature of news manipulation.
  • Yahoo News is notorious for this; its headlines are very rarely useful at all. In the UK, they seem to be obsessed with Cheryl Cole, often reporting the tiniest bit of information about her. They seem to think it's amazing that she couldn't break into the U.S. market. Her overexposure in the news may actually have caused people to become sick of her out of Hype Backlash.
  • In early 2000, a panel of American journalists selected and ranked "the 100 most important news stories of the last century." Even allowing for a bias in favor of American news their judgment was a little questionable, especially since stories that were reported upon as they happened — as opposed to even more terrible events the world learned about long after they happened — were given higher priority. Granted, number of fatalities does not directly equate to newsworthiness. Examples:
    • The Holocaust — which killed 11 million people, yet wasn't made public until it was too late — finished in seventh place, right below the assassination of John F. Kennedy, which killed one person as cameras were rolling.
    • Babe Ruth's 60th home run made the list, while the Cambodian genocide of the '70s didn't.
    • The seven people who died in the Challenger explosion were seen as a bigger deal than the 20 million people who starved to death in China's Great Leap Forward - similarly to the above, the latter happened over a number of years, while the former was caught live on-camera.
    • Nixon's resignation as a result of Watergate was counted a more important story than the German invasion of Poland which started World War II.
  • The November 5, 2008 Edition of one Oklahoma newspaper made no mention of who won the presidency, only noting that McCain won the county.
  • Lampshaded by Rosie O'Donnell. Her legal troubles made the front page on several newspapers, on the day when over a dozen soldiers were killed in Iraq. "We interrupt this story that is coming from Iraq, cause Rosie's suing Donald; Donald's suing Rosie back."
  • North Korea's second nuclear bomb test was lost in the UK among stories of Susan Boyle and Katie Price. (If it had worked, there would have been more commotion.) The only reason that most people in the UK became aware of this story was due to a radio newsreader who, due to a slip of the tongue, announced that North Yorkshire had tested the bomb. The clip was repeated endlessly over the next few days.
  • December 2007/January-February 2008: In the U.S., NFL Playoffs and anything remotely having to do with the New England Patriots completely eclipsed the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the first woman to be elected as the leader of a Muslim nation, and the election that marked the return of Pakistan to something more closely resembling democracy.
  • Since Hard Copy was canceled in 1999 and most of that show's staffers moved over to Entertainment Tonight, their definition of "Entertainment" seemingly consists of reality show stars' foibles, anorexic twins, triple team coverage of Jennifer Aniston getting a latte, and Vanessa Minnillo getting dirty looks while wearing a fat suit. The box office gets covered in a shameful fashion, any actual breaking news gets less coverage than the "ET Birthday Quiz", and film critic Leonard Maltin has given up on getting more than 20 seconds on the show and does all of his true reviewing on Reelz Channel. Also takes the trope of Viewers Are Morons to an extreme ("Real or rumor: This film premiere took place last night. That is real!").
  • The Colorado "Balloon Boy" incident. It's almost as if the family orchestrated it just to show the media's ridiculous priorities. Denver stations showed the whole thing live (as did the major cable news networks), and focused on the story for a while afterward. It was even lampshaded by cable news channels, which spent a considerable amount of air time discussing whether or not they should be covering the incident.
    • Saturday Night Live: "On Thursday, a boy hid in a box. I guess that was a faster way to tell that story."
    • Most local news stations tend to cover disasters like plane crashes and the like from a regional angle, even if it has no connection whatsoever with the state or the local area: "No Wisconsin residents were on board the XYZ Airlines flight which crashed en route from Atlanta to Los Angeles."
  • One day in Spring 2009, the Northern Ireland section of BBC News Online was headlined with "Dog found wearing sunglasses". With a picture of said dog.
  • On March 5 every year in the United Kingdom, well, it seems to be the day for this. Celebrity news and so-called funny stories dominate the headlines, with everything else... well, sidelined.
  • Soviet newspapers famously assigned Moon landing of Apollo 11 to the same level of importance as several Polish films being aired on TV. As opposed to some examples, it was due to politics, not infatuation with stupid gossip.
  • The separation of Cheryl Cole (née Tweedy) from Ashley Cole, in the week that the British MP expenses' row investigation was still ongoing. This even led to the affair being dubbed by one pundit on a radio station as "Cherylexpensegate."
  • When CNN had their Windows 2000 computers struck by the Zotob computer worm the network inexplicably spent three hours covering it as a live breaking news story when it was just mainly confined to their computers and not really causing all that much havoc beyond late-night mocking and the Turner IT team having to fix every computer in the CNN Center.
  • When Tiger Woods returned to golf, it was second or even first priority on the news. Wonderfully parodied by Private Eye, who ran the headline "Man Who Plays Golf Plays Golf".
  • In general, a frequently raised criticism of twenty-four-hour news services is that it leads to this; instead of providing everything that's happening, what usually happens is that the news services pick one 'main' story and thrash it to death. This inevitably leads to situations where there's constant coverage of next-to-nothing happening around the 'main' story which nudges out 'lesser' stories which actually are occurring. The stereotypical example of this is reporters standing outside someone's house delivering reports which run along the lines of, "Well, nothing's happening right now — but we'll be the first to tell you when it does!"
    • It also leads desperate reporters to engage in wild conjectures in order to fill up time — conjectures that may stick in the minds of viewers. This is especially true in the case of major plane crashes, where reporters seem to be congenitally incapable of refraining from looking for oversimplified, sensational, terrifying, and universally wrong explanations for the accident.
      • Remember the dead baby in the restroom at the Superdome during Katrina? A completely unfounded rumor, reported as news by every 24-hour news channel.
    • The programation of some twenty-four-hour news channels, however, will consist of news reports repeating the same ones again and again, with updates of said news when necessary and/or breaking ones and in between other programs as weather, stock market, television reports about current events, etc.
  • Did anything else happen in the state of Florida on the night of July 8th, 2010? Every single newspaper in the state, or at least the southeastern part, put aside stories like the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, the state Legislative session being extended to deal with said spill, the Palm Beach County teacher's union at an impasse with the school district, the Russian spy controversy, a Pakistani suicide blast, and other news to focus on LeBron James announcing that he will sign with the Miami Heat.
  • Porra, G1! is a Brazilian Tumblr that covers big news website mistakes (from simple misspellings to big ones such as writing "Players only returned to practice in the next Friday") and examples of this trope (one of the best so far: "Google employee rides his bike in front of the company's building in Zurich").
  • News about the Comprehensive Spending Review in Britain, containing the most wide-ranging budget cuts for years, was quickly overshadowed by a football player signing a new contract with his club, and all sorts of important stories like that same player's wife getting a boob job.
  • A local newspaper in Nottinghamshire decided to print a story about Michele Bachmann on pages 4 and 5, with an article about her for some random reason. Particularly odd was the fact that there was major news on that day about the financial markets in Britain.
  • The local Fox affiliate for Jacksonville, FL (then known as WAWS, currently WFOX) listed the most important news stories of 2010. What made this list instead of the Wall Street bailouts, the Stimulus Package, the Matthew Shepard Anti-Gay Hate Crime laws, the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq, or Arizona's immigration laws? Lindsay Lohan being sentenced to rehab again.
  • The tabloid series Inside Edition seems to exist solely to report every move Bristol Palin makes. Yes, they have stretched a brief news story from 2008 across several years.
  • The Daily Star often prioritises gossip over news, and as such runs into this quite a lot. Most notably, the UN sanctioning action in Libya was relegated to page nine, after a model's tits, coverage on the personal life of Katie Price, whose last action of note was in 2004, and Comic Relief. The front page didn't even mention Libya. At the same time, its stablemate, the Daily Express, was more concerned with petrol prices than covering the actual conflict.
  • On April 8, 2011; Portsmouth, Virginia NBC affiliate WAVY-TV 10 began covering the story of a baby black bear running loose in Virginia Beach on their 5:00 newscasts. Where this becomes an example is when they stayed with the story for much of their remaining newscasts (even pre-empting NBC Nightly News in doing so). All this was begin covered to where there was little mention in those newscasts of the potential threat of a government shutdown due to disagreements over spending cuts in the Congressional budget. Ultimately, the bear was lowered down just as WAVY switched to NBC's prime-time lineup.
  • On September 11, 2012 NBC's Today Show controversially decided to skip coverage of the annual September 11th Memorial Services in New York and Washington D.C. to continue a scheduled interview with Kardashian mother Kris Jenner. ABC and CBS both showed the coverage live even interrupting programming on the West Coast (the memorial was showing live on the East Coast) to show the memorial. Notably New York NBC affiliate WNBC did interrupt the program during the interview to show their own local coverage of the memorial.
  • News in general tends to focus on what's happening in/affecting the country it's made in. This often means big international news affecting more people is often only broadcast after small local headlines, if at all. For instance, in the UK the 2010 Brazilian floods, which killed at least 51 people and forced 120,000 to leave their homes, was broadcast second to doctors in the U.K getting a pay rise.
    • This happens on a larger scale on regional media. A news program/newspaper of that kind may dedicate more than half of its time/pages to regional issues, up to having sections dedicated to news of the major cities, etc. of said region, news of national scale receiving less coverage and international ones even less, to the point the sports section may be much longer than the latter.
  • When the Libyan rebels suddenly appeared on the green square of Tripoli, everyone wanting to know what the hell happened was sure to avoid CNN as they ran a headline about a celebrity car crash.
  • The Blair Government of the UK thought they could use the 9/11 attacks as an opportunity to release a huge pile of press-releases that would have made them look bad (in the words of a memo that was supposed to remain internal, "It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury."). Obviously the 9/11 attacks weren't a small story, but by using them this way the government hoped the distraction offered by the event would keep the British electorate from noticing things that were more directly relevant to them due to them being lost under a barrage of 9/11 coverage. Of course this backfired horribly when the aforementioned memo was leaked to the press. The British public were outraged by the apparent lack of compassion and cynicism displayed, and several governmental careers were ended prematurely in the ensuing scandal — the special advisor resigned, the department's communication chief became resigned,note  his boss had to clarify the situation, and the phrase "bury bad news" entered the lexicon.
    • Having said that, while everyone remembers the attempt to "bury" a story, few people remember what the story actually was, so you could say that the approach did work after a fashion. The item in question, which was indeed published on the 12th of September, announced changes to payments to councillors that were expected to be unwelcome... of course, no one remembers that incident because of the previous day's events.
  • During the Miami Bass rap group 2 Live Crew's legal problems in 1990 stemming from their third album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, being declared legally obscene, Rolling Stone Magazine ran an article which included the group's leader Luke (Luther Campbell) looking at a newspaper and pointing out how Nelson Mandela coming to the U.S. was on page 3.
  • After the failed assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan in 1981, news agencies across the United States reported that he had not been hit. This is perhaps the biggest example of misreporting a major news story in American history. Here you can see ABC News anchor Frank Reynolds reporting that he wasn't wounded, and then seconds later the revelation that yes, he was. "The president has not been wounded... He was wounded? My god! The president was hit? He's in stable condition, all this information!" Actually, he was undergoing major, potentially life-threatening surgery to remove the bullet at the time. Additionally, later all three networks and CNN reported erroneously that White House Press Secretary James Brady (who had suffered a head wound that left him confined to a wheelchair) had died (with new CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather actually announcing a moment of silence). Also, at one point an equally inaccurate report stating that Reagan had died was reported before that was corrected. When the erroneous announcement of Brady's death was corrected and send to Reynoldsnote ; Reynolds finally blew up; screaming at staffers to "... get it straight so we can report this thing accurately".
  • On September 16, 2013, people in the Denver, Colorado metro area wanting to know about the massacre of twelve civilians in Washington, D.C.'s Navy Yard made sure to avoid KMGH-7 (Denver's ABC affiliate), as they were leading with ad nauseam coverage of flooding over the previous week that had inundated many parts of the Front Range.
    • For the record, KMGH has been criticized before for Skewed Priorities. For example, in June 2013, when central Colorado was ravaged by wildfires, they pre-empted ABC World News with Diane Sawyer in favor of wildfire coverage. They have also been criticized for completely pre-empting some shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune when the other Denver news stations like KUSA 9News would simply run a continuous scrolling ticker along the bottom of the screen.
    • The same happened with those September 2013 floods as well: Based on a read of users posting on the KMGH 7News Facebook page, they are falling into the stereotypical criticism of 24 hour cable news channels (thrashing a story to death and putting it ahead of everything else). The comments for September 17th, for example, include one user who wrote, "Please, please go back to regular programming. Don't get me wrong[:] you have covered the storms and floods with [due] diligence and we appreciate it. Now you are just repeating yourselves and grasping for something to say to fill time." Another user wrote, "Can you guys start to show our show's ?????? I understand, people are having trouble, but having to watch it 24 hours a day is way too much. Go to another channel and run your live coverage."
  • Lyndon Johnson once said, "If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: 'PRESIDENT CAN'T SWIM'."
  • If you were in Denver, Colorado at any time in January 2014, the NFL playoffs, AFC championship game of January 19th, and anything having to do with the Denver Broncos or Peyton Manning making the Super Bowl completely overshadowed such things as the Arapahoe High School shooting and subsequent death of Claire Davis. Anything having to do with the Broncos also eclipsed such things as a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy being killed in a car accident on January 26th. Controversy also ensued when a number of angry KUSA viewers vented their frustrations on the KUSA Facebook page for their decision to interrupt coverage of a Stadium Series hockey game between the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium that had been on the air for three hours in favor of showing the Bronco players arriving in New Jersey. One user said it best: "Why would you interrupt a hockey game to show people getting off a plane? I understand it is the Broncos, but getting off a plane is not "breaking news"".
  • January 23rd, 2014: MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell interrupts a congresswoman being interviewed about the NSA to break news about Justin Bieber being arrested in Florida for drag racing on public streets while drunk and stoned. Justin Bieber's arrest also overshadowed such things as a massive pileup in whiteout conditions on Interstate 94 in Indiana that killed three people, a fire at a nursing home in Quebec, and the suicide of a University of Pennsylvania student.
    • It should also be noted that countless other celebrities have also been arrested on DWIs, but haven't been given a fraction of the attention that Bieber's incident got. The last celebrity DWI to cause a comparable media circus to Bieber's was Mel Gibson's back in 2006. The reason Bieber got so much attention is most likely because he is so big a Snark Bait target that people are eager to make fun of him every chance they get.
  • In his book Chasing Madoff, Harry Markopolos details how he spent nearly a decade getting anyone to listen to the obvious fact that Bernie Madoff was running a massive Ponzi Scheme. One chapter ("Didn't Anyone Want a Pulitzer?" has Markopolos trying to get various reporters to listen to his clear evidence of Madoff's guilt. Time and again, he was ignored and while John Wilke of The Wall Street Journal was interested, his bosses refused to let him investigate or write about it. One explanation was that it wasn't a "sexy enough story" to go into while another seriously contended it would be damaging for the economy and investors. While some bloggers did report on Madoff, the media remained oblivious until his arrest in 2008 with the long delay costing even more investors their life savings.
    • In his book, Markopolos openly states that he always wondered why in a conspiracy thriller "the hero just doesn't tell what he knows to the media. Even if he doesn't have evidence, they'll still listen to him." Markopolos now knows that's untrue as he had evidence of Madoff's fraud and no one would report it.
  • The assault on Filipino host and comedian Vhong Navarro generated a mother lode of news reports showing the finer details about the incident, and allegations on the actor supposedly raping a (then) little-known starlet. So much that it practically buried news on a flooding that took place in southern Philippines, among other things, to which critics and media watchdog groups aren't happy about.
  • Another Philippine example: On 22 August 1983, the day after Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr was shot dead, at least one major news headline proclaimed … "TWO KILLED BY LIGHTNING". Justified because, this being Martial Law, all news media were under government censorship and control—but the increasingly savvy electorate got just outraged enough that the death signalled the beginning of the end for the Marcos regime, famously toppling it from office in the 1986 People Power "Revolution". (According to the founders of the Philippine Daily Inquirer broadsheet, this trope is what pushed them to start their own paper.)
  • March 12, 2014: In Denver, Colorado, a man abducts a 4 year old child while stealing an SUV in Longmont. He then leads police on a 90 minute car chase along Interstate 76 and E-470, during which he carjacks two other vehicles, before finally being caught in south Denver; all of this is recorded by a news helicopter. This entire chase for the most part, at least in the Denver metro area, overshadowed a gas explosion in New York City that destroyed two Harlem apartment buildings and killed at least eight people.
  • Inverted in 2006 after a hotly disputed presidential election in Mexico, the losing candidate, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, decided to proclaim himself "Legitimate President of Mexico" in a public ceremony with his followers. Except for a few sympathizing newspapers and CNN, the event was largely ignored by the Mexican press, and as a result he and his followers accused them of this trope.
  • In February-April 2014, Ukraine had a revolution, leading to Russia to take over Crimea and stir up trouble in eastern Ukraine, thereby raising the specter of civil war in Ukraine and returning the memory of the Cold War and generally giving everyone the geopolitical jitters. Meanwhile, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 bound for Beijing mysteriously disappeared, probably crashing somewhere in the Indian Ocean, and there was a big search for the debris. CNN followed the latter to almost egregious degrees - BuzzFeed stats say that on March 12th, the network devoted 256 out of 271 broadcast minutes covering Flight 370 on the same day that there was a fatal gas explosion in East Harlem that killed eight people, among other newsworthy stories. You would have been better off tuning in to a local New York City news station if you wanted to know about that explosion.
    • CNN also drew criticism from a number of sources, like Stephen King, for exploiting the grieving relatives of the victims on the plane in an effort to boost ratings. One month after the crash, he said on Twitter, "This constant rehashing of the tragedy shows no respect to the families; it turns them into supporting players in CNN's ratings quest." Their coverage eventually fell into the lines of "Well, nothing's happening right now — but we'll be the first to tell you when it does!" They even went so far as to call the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic as "breaking news". That particular gaffe was even called out by the parody Twitter account for The Newsroom character Will McAvoy. To put things into perspective, there came a point where the questions changed from "When will they find the plane wreckage?" to "When will CNN shut up about the plane and cover more important issues at home?"
    • Ironically, the shootdown of a different Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight 17 over Ukraine in July, and the news media's focus on it, brought the Ukraine-Russia conflict back to light in turn, and CNN's coverage of that Malaysia Airlines plane actually won them an award for Best Live Television Journalism.
  • When a U.S. Presidential Election approaches, don't expect to hear anything else on the news from October 1st to Election Day...unless a massive hurricane hits the New York City area, does more than $60 billion in damage, and causes the area to have potentially week-long power outages. In that case, don't expect to hear even election news.
  • This 2015 intro to WTKR news in Virginia treats a bridge renaming just as seriously as a double murder and a homegrown terrorist.
  • This Cracked article says that your Facebook account's "trending" stories feed has very bad priorities, and tends to have links to stories on "celebrity engagements, baby bumps, stories about actresses making public appearances with faces that don't look exactly like your favorite version of their faces from 1994, etc." To demonstrate, the article talks about the suspension of Brian Williams from NBC News. But then it points out, "It turns out Facebook isn't a dummy. We click junk. Which is why print media looks different from our trending stories. On the day that most of us were tapping the Williams stories," almost every major print newspaper in the United States ran front page articles on the death of American aid worker / ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller in an airstrike, and the announcement that Jon Stewart was leaving The Daily Show was never mentioned in print newspapers, but was, along with Williams' suspension, one of the two trending searches on Google that day, while the "right" stories about Mueller and a shooting of an Arab family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were ignored. In conclusion, it explains that the discrepancy highlights the difference between a newspaper and a tabloid (the newspapers supply information you need to know, and the tabloids provide you with information you want to know[.
  • The murders of WDBJ-TV reporter Allison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward would have likely dropped off the radar and out of public consciousness quickly... had the murders not been filmed on camera by the shooter, happened during a live morning broadcast, and been uploaded online. Thus, the video went viral and the story quickly ballooned into a national juggernaut, completely overshadowing the sentencing of the Aurora theater shooter James Holmesnote  and a far deadlier massacre in Chicago. The Parker-Ward murders generated far greater news coverage and public interest than a number of shootings that with higher body counts (e.g. Sikh Temple, Navy Yard, UCSB).
    • The shooter was a disgruntled ex-employee of WDBJ-TV and was known to have exhibited poor news judgment. In the days following the shooting, his shortcomings as a reporter and employee — everything from journalistic ethics to an ability to get along with his co-workers, and even to overall completeness and accuracy of stories he was assigned to cover — were noted in several stories. The Associated Press Stylebook details, under "Briefing of Media Law," liability for news-gathering conduct, which includes "intrusion upon seclusion" and "trespassing." Both of which the shooter had considered doing when he attempted to pursue a story on an unknown topic. This happened shortly before he was fired by WDBJ.
  • Exploited during the World Cup in 2006 in Germany, when the nation (and the world at large) were busy with European Football, while the German government seriously attempted to do changes to the Grundgesetz (the German Constitution), knowing the presses wouldn't report such an issue when there is such another "major" event in place. The changes failed to manifest thankfully; one of them was to allow the German army to work inside the country and if need be even against civilians. Something like this would be cause for a major public scandal which, expectedly, also didn't happen.
  • The first wave of the 2014 Ferguson protests was overshadowed by Robin Williams' death on one side and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on the other. The second wave - after the grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson - on the other hand, completely dominated everything else that happened — with another police death, the July choking of 43-year old Eric Garner, sharing the spotlight — for the two weeks that followed.
  • Challenged by some reporters (this one for instance) who point out that they do in fact often cover the very stories that people complain are being "ignored by the mainstream media." The problem is that people are more likely to read the fluff pieces, which in turn makes them more valuable for ad revenue, which in turn makes editors place them higher, which in turn means more people read them—ultimately creating a form of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. So if you ever wonder why the media fixates on silly articles, take a harder look at which news articles you choose to read.
  • On January 3, 2016 Cleveland's ABC station, WEWS-5 broke into a new episode of America's Funniest Home Videos to announce the firing of Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer while every other Cleveland channel broke the news with a scrolling ticker, not interrupting programming. One hour later they broke into a new episode of Galavant to carry a half-hour long news conference regarding the firing. Once again the other Cleveland stations did not break in to air the press conference besides Cleveland's CBS station WOIO-19, which broke into programming on their sister station WUAB-43 for the press conference, since the channel was a MyNetworkTV affiliate and not airing any programming of worth.
  • The media's handling of Islam-related terrorist attacks came to light after the Brussels bombings of March 22, 2016. As shown by this graphic, international reaction to terrorism seems to depend on what country the incident happened in. Since the beginning of 2015, there have been dozens of Islam-related attacks, but they only seem to gain major international attention, outrage, and/or solidarity if they take place in Western countries — namely the two Paris attacks (Charlie Hebdo in January and the November 13th coordinated assaults), the San Bernardino, California shootings of December, the Brussels bombing, and later, the June massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando and the Bastille Day attack in Nice. While the October bombing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt also got plenty of attention, most of the talk about it was political rather than sympathetic to the victims. Compare that to the public's indifference to attacks in cities like Beirut, Baghdad, Ankara, St. Petersburg, and Istanbul, many of which had higher body counts than the Brussels, Paris, Orlando, Nice, and San Bernardino events. This has led many to complain that it seems terrorist attacks in countries that are war-torn, unstable, corrupt, poor, and/or contain a Arab/Muslim-majority population, are seen by the rest of society as normal and routine, and the rest of the world values only Western lives and reacts only when Al-Qaeda or ISIS hit particularly close to homenote . Not helping the case here is that some of these unreported attacks took place around the same time as the Western ones, i.e., the Beirut bombings taking a place a day before the November Paris events (as the link in the bullet point above discusses) or two major Turkey bombings in the two weeks prior to Brussels.
    • On a related note, a terrorist attack in a non-Western country will get airtime if there were Western casualties; take for example the Bali attack of 2002, which despite happening in Indonesia, got heavy media coverage due to most of the casualties being Western (including 88 Australians, 23 Brits, and 7 Americans), and the Tunisia attack in 2015, which was covered in Britain because most of the casualties were British.
  • The three main factors that determine public interest in a story about gun violence is the death toll, the demographical makeup of the victims, and the motivation of the shooter. In the Obama administration alone, there were hundreds of mass shootings in the nation and about ten that the flag was lowered for. The ones that shocked the nation the most during this time period were the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 (where the gunman was targeting children), the Orlando massacre (because of the Islamic connection, homophobic motive, and most importantly, due to it having the highest body count of any mass murder in the United States since the 19th century purges of Indian tribes by western settlers), the Las Vegas massacre (due to overtaking the body count in Orlando), and the Parkland massacre (because, like Sandy Hook, it was an attack on children). The only other ones that quickly gained major coverage were those where there was something to hook the public (i.e. Fort Hood's narrative of an Islamic soldier betraying his country, Tucson was an assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Aurora shooter James Holmes's "Batman" narrative and the fact that seventy people were injured although only twelve of them died, Isla Vista's misogynistic narrative, Charleston's white supremacist rhetoric and the Confederate flag debate, and San Bernardino being the first major ISIS-related shooting in America). Other stories with equally high body counts, like the Sikh Temple, Washington Navy Yard, Umpqua Community College, or Sutherland Springs church shootings didn't really have a hook that kept people focused in on the story.
    • Other factors determine the staying power. Almost always there is a talking head pointing out that they are not covering Black on Black shootings, especially when related to gang violence and how quickly coverage will be dropped if the weapon in question was illegally obtained (Sandy Hook being an exception as the weapons were legally purchased by the shooter's mother, but he was not legally able to use them) and even how the situation was resolved (media observers noted that one mass shooting incident was quickly dropped from coverage despite the "national debate" on gun control that follows from such incidents being a major talking point. A few checks into the story revealed that the gunman was taken down by a citizen with a valid concealed carry permit.
  • What happens when two major news events happen close together and you have to cover both? The Washington Post does a documentation of how there have been cases where they did a double-headline on their front page. In this case, the arrest of the Unabomber coincided with the Secretary of Commerce being killed in a plane crash. Both got headlines on the front page. In other cases, though, where two major events happened at the same time, only one event got a headline. Sometimes this was justified: for instance, the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 in 1982 happened on the same day that a fatal derailment happened in the Washington Metro tunnels. The coincidence of the events was part of the story, so it probably seemed unnecessary to break them apart.
    • Another example given is how the eruption of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 coincided with riots breaking out in Miami over the acquittal of four police officers. Naturally, most people remember May 18th for the former story as opposed to the latter. The Washington Post handled the matter by running headlines for both Mount Saint Helens and the riots on the front page, but put more photos on the front page of the eruption.
  • If you wanted to know more about the 2016 7.0 earthquake in Japan, you wouldn't have gone to CNN. They spent more attention both on the air and online about a zoo employee being killed by a tiger instead. Both stories, however, were overshadowed by the larger 7.8 earthquake in Ecuador.
  • Chyna and Prince died on the same day in 2016. Coverage of Prince completely eclipsed that of Chyna. Although Chyna's death could be considered more "shocking" than Prince's because she was 12 years younger than him, Prince is far more widely known to the general public. Prince's death also overshadowed a series of drug-related murders in rural Ohio and a mass kidnapping in South Sudan. While all death is tragic, Prince's was due to natural causes rather than intentional murder.
  • In the 2016 presidential election race, there was a noticeably disproportionate amount of airtime given to Donald Trump. The reasons why are best explained here.
  • On rare occasions, awareness campaigns have helped rescue a very serious but little-known story from this status and get it to the headlines. This was most effectively seen with the "Bring Back Our Girls" movement in response to the mass kidnappings of schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Chibok by members of Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Although the story largely went unnoticed throughout much of April, it quickly gained international attention after reports of Boko Haram planning on selling them as sex slaves. Immediately after that, #BringBackOurGirls was tweeted over a million times, as an image of a frowning Michelle Obama holding up a sign with the hashtag became a symbol of the international outrage and solidarity with Nigeria that happened afterwards. Unfortunately, most of the schoolgirls have yet to be rescued as of 2016.
  • The Kony 2012 video also got a similar reaction, although the Internet quickly turned it into a Black Comedy kind of meme, so people didn't take it quite as seriously as the Nigerian girls.
  • Gordie Howe was a legend in the world of ice hockey. Even if he wasn't quite at the level of Wayne Gretzky, he was still one of the most respected names in the industry. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune of dying shortly after Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice, the former of who was an even bigger icon (and about fifteen years younger) and the latter who, while more of an cult name in the MMA world, died at the young age of 42. But then, Howe's death was completely overshadowed by the murder of pop singer Christina Grimmie at a concert in Orlando, Florida. Grimmie was largely unknown to the greater public, being mostly recognized for her stint on The Voice, but she had a cult fanbase on YouTube. But she was only 22 when she was shot and killed by a fan (possibly an ex-boyfriend) after a concert. While Howe's death was sad, it was hardly surprising as he was 88. This wasn't about Howe having less recognition than Grimmie so much as the fact that the latter's death was a shocking murder that nobody saw coming. Also not helping Howe's case were the other major news stories surrounding it, namely the announcement of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presumptive nominee for the U.S. presidential election and the controversy surrounding the sentence of former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner for sexual assault. However, all of these stories were eventually overshadowed by the Orlando nightclub shooting, as it was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The shooting also made the deaths of legendary voice actress Janet Waldo and (in a lesser way) of Michu Meszaros, the actor that portrayed ALF in costume, complete afterthoughts outside of television-related sites, though they wouldn't have been front page news anyway.
  • The news coverage of the Orlando nightclub shooting eventually shifted focus from the actual crime itself to the remarks of various politicians and what they were doing in response to the crime to the point that what politicians were doing overshadowed the facts of the crime.
  • A few days after the Orlando nightclub shooting, a boy was killed by an alligator in the Seven Seas Lagoon at the nearby Walt Disney World Resort. Such an event would have probably only been a local news story (with many a blip on national newscasts) if it weren't for the fact that it happened shortly after both the nightclub shooting and Christina Grimmie's murder, was less than a month after another high profile child-wild animal encounternote  and it was apparently the first recorded instance of an alligator attack on Disney property.
  • Something worth noting is that after massacres like Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, San Bernardino, or Orlando - basically any mass murder where the incident is a shooting - most American news media uses these events to debate over gun control rather than terrorism or mental illness. Charleston was the exception to the rule, as the discussion that followed that was instead focused on racism.
  • The Nice, France truck incident of July 14, 2016 would be somewhat overshadowed by news media within 24 hours by an attempted military coup in Turkey. This was subverted on social media, however, where Nice was for the most part the bigger story of the two (not that Turkey didn't get its fair share of attention either).
  • On July 18, 2016 a lone-wolf terrorist on a train in Germany attacked people with an axe, injuring four people before he was killed by police, but for those living in Cleveland, Ohio and in fact most of the United States, that story was totally ignored by the presence of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which every local news channel was covering the course of the whole week. It even dwarfed a shooting at an anti-violence rally in nearby Euclid, Ohio and the death of TV actor and producer Garry Marshall. The shooting at a Munich McDonald's four days later, on the other hand, quickly took center stage, as, aside from the Republican convention being over by that point, the shooting was actually deadly, having killed nine people. Making matters worse, however, was the fact that the gunman was targeting children.
  • Most American newspapers headlined their July 27, 2016 editions with the news that Hillary Clinton had become the Democratic presidential nominee. The majority of the headlines, however, were accompanied by photos of Bill Clinton and/or Hillary's defeated rival Bernie Sanders, rather than of Hillary.
    • A truly bizarre entry into this, but the opening of Democratic National Convention was overshadowed by... the opening of the Democratic National Convention... namely, leaked e-mails that were widely misinterpreted and reported by anti-Hillary media as DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz orchestrating rigging of the Democratic primaries in favor of Clinton and against Sanders. The outrage forced Wasserman-Shultz to resign that morning... which only served to highlight this story over the opening of the convention later that day because part of the Chairperson's duties were to open the convention. The narrative of "DNC rigging the primaries" has since been proven as false and intended to discredit Clinton, and was a likely factor in her losing the election.
  • In August 2016, Louisiana was hit with its worst flooding since Katrina, but due to coverage of the Olympics and the Election, it was largely ignored by television news. On the Internet, however, the flooding was in a much brighter spotlight. Since the storm did not have a name and the death toll was quite small, the story would have likely gone under the radar outside Louisiana had it not been for the fact that Baton Rouge was already reeling from a police-on-black death and a murder of a police officer by a black man, or that the lack of news coverage didn't incite such a major controversy.
  • The divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in September 2016 devoured all other news stories the week it was announced. Coverage of a series of bombings in New York City and New Jersey dominated the early part of that week before Brangelina took over the news cycle. The Pitt-Jolie saga also eclipsed stories like Yahoo announcing a data breach of 500 million users, a shipwreck of a boat of Egyptian migrants, and a gasoline shortage in the southeast. The story of another police-on-black death in Charlotte, North Carolina initially went under the radar due to the divorce coverage, but as the subsequent riots grew bigger the story quickly exploded, with a shooting at a Washington state mall only temporarily unseating it as the top news story in the nation.
  • On October 8, 1871, several massive fires were blazing in the Midwestern United States. The largest was the Peshtigo Fire, which swept through the frontier town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin after a series of smaller fires consolidated to form one big blaze. Somewhere between 1,200 and 2,500 people were killed, many from drowning or hypothermia after diving into the nearby river for safety. A horror show by anyone's standards, but not well-remembered in the history books because it, plus other even less remembered fires in the Michigan towns of Holland, Port Huron, and Maniste, were all overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire, which killed fewer people and torched a much smaller area than the Peshtigo blaze, but became more notable because it was the biggest city to burn.
  • News coverage of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, like Sandy, happened at the peak of the election cycle (although this time not the week right before the election). Unlike with Joaquin a year earlier, Matthew actually ended up being a threat to American land. And like the Orlando nightclub massacre during the summer, a Donald Trump-related story quickly overshadowed it (and this time, one completely unrelated to the story it replaced); in this case, the release of an 11-year old tape of Trump making misogynistic comments about Arianne Zucker on the set of Access Hollywood. A leak of a batch of Hillary Clinton emails by WikiLeaks were released the same day as the Trump video, but it went virtually unnoticed compared to the massive media circus caused the latter (which has been a trend between coverage of the two candidates throughout the entire election cycle). Even people who agreed the Oregon shooting story took media priority over Joaquin the previous year thought the Trump story was being blown out of proportion and that Matthew was actually important.
  • Budget cuts were happening to NHS hospitals in Ormskirk, Wigan, Southport but the papers chose to focus on Gigi Hadid instead, to the exclusion of other more important local political news. This was possibly Filler taken to a new extreme or Refuge in Audacity. Ironically, Gigi Hadid is huge in those towns, more so than The United States.
  • On July 17th, 1994, pretty much all network (and some cable) television was preempted for live coverage of OJ Simpson trying to flee the police in a white Bronco after being accused of a double homicide...which basically amounted to watching a car going well below the speed limit putter along the highway for two hours. OJ Simpson would then go on to be a regular major news story for the better part of a year until he was acquitted, with a few revivals after the former football player was taken to court two more times on other charges before being sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery. It's entirely possible that the press may revive the OJ obsession when he comes up for parole in 2017.
    • All the networks is a gross understatement. There were so many helicopter cameras in the area that at several points, signal feeds were getting crossed. At one point, Tom Brokaw had to pause his coverage to remind viewers of the fact that he was Tom Brokaw and not, as the NBC feed had on screen, Barbara Walters (who was on ABC no less) and explain that the mistake was being caused by the sheer volume of coverage.
  • The shooting at an elementary school in San Bernardino on April 10, 2017 was completely and utterly overshadowed by the story about a passenger being forcibly escorted off a regional United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville, a controversial Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner that trivialized Black Lives Matter morning protests, allegations of sexual harassment against longtime Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, and the U.S. invasion into Syria and subsequent comments made by Sean Spicer that allegedly defended Adolf Hitler; this overshadowing was present not only in the news, but in public discourse as well.
  • The Westminster vehicular assault attack of March 22, 2017 went virtually under the radar in the United States, where news coverage was monopolized by the many scandals of the Trump administration, including the Obama wiretap claims, the Russia investigation, the American Health Care Act, and the Neil Gorsuch hearings. The Manchester bombings of May 2017, on the other hand, averted this fate, as it quickly took center stage worldwide. This is because the Manchester attack had a higher body count and occurred at a concert of Ariana Grande, a very popular American pop singer (which heightened the story's visibility stateside) — not to mention the victims largely being youth.
  • The deadly fire at Grenfell Tower in London on June 14, 2017 would have certainly garnered much more attention across the pond had it not occurred on the same day as the Congressional Baseball shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, in which one congressman was wounded, but nobody besides the perpetrator died.
    • A few commentators were quick to point out that the coverage of the Congressional Baseball shooting occupied coverage for three days on most American networks, but the feud between CNN and Trump after the later tweeted out a gif of him wrestling with a man with the CNN logo photoshopped over his face lasted nearly twice as long (it wasn't helped by CNN threatening to dox the gif's original creator, which pushed the dying story back into the national discourse). Part of the problem was in both incidents, political rhetoric was clearly a huge factor in both stories but the accusation was levied that media personalities were much more interested in the feud story because it involved right-wing extreme rhetoric but glossed over the shooting story because it involved left-wing extreme rhetoric. It wasn't helped that many critics pointed out that the feud's coverage had pushed the fact that Steve Scalise (the congressman who was shot) was still in the hospital and his condition had been downgraded out of regular coverage.
  • The story of Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer who had promised dirt on Hillary Clinton practically drowned a missing persons story of four friends in Pennsylvania disappearing that weekend. It wasn't until the end of the week when it was discovered all four were victims of two alleged serial killers that the story was picked up again. Unusual as one of the victims was attending school in Baltimore and his disappearance was a top news story in many Washington/Baltimore area local media for much of that week.
    • In a slight reverse of this, the lead news story for the week of October 30, 2017 was the unsealing of indictments in Robert Mueller's investigation into the Russian meddling, leading to two arrests and one guilty plea. Fox News, meanwhile, covered Google's new cheeseburger emoji, which had the cheese under the patty, rather than on top.
    • In a similar case, as an FBI raid on Donald Trump's lawyer occupied the news on April 9, 2018, Tucker Carlson devoted much of his Fox News show to a story about "aggressive, sex-crazed" pandas.
  • A terrorist attack at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed one woman and injured 19 more. Less than a week later, a terrorist attack in Barcelona killed 15 and injured hundreds more. Despite the latter being considerably deadlier, it was almost completely drowned in the news by coverage of the former, due to the far more shocking circumstances behind it (because of the rally being the backdrop for the attack and because it provoked widespread backlash against the president). An otherwise ordinary body count to a flash-in-the-pan terrorist attack ballooned to a story that news aggregators compared in size to some of the worst mass shootings in history. On at least one news tracker it registered bigger than the Orlando shooting!
  • Immediately after the December 2017 pipe bombing in New York, in which only three people received minor injuries while the terrorist was more seriously injured and later put into custody, CNN infamously reported on the 12 Diet Cokes Trump allegedly drinks every day.
  • The Stoneman Douglas shooting was briefly this, because about two days after the shooting, news coverage of the attack was drowned out by coverage of Robert Mueller's investigation as he had indicted several Russian nationals for conspiracy charges. It didn't last though, and the shooting quickly returned to the forefront upon the formation of Never Again MSD, the Emma Gonzalez speech in Fort Lauderdale, and the group's first few days of activism.
  • Certain news stories will get attention from one side of the political spectrum while being virtually ignored by the other:
    • During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, left-wing media focused on stories about Donald Trump while right-wing media focused on those about Hillary Clinton. This dynamic has been in place for a long time, but the divisiveness of this particular election polarized the two sides to unprecedented levels. Since neither candidate enjoyed much enthusiasm, many Americans focused on convincing people to vote against the candidate they dislike than for the one they like, or either voting for third-party candidates or simply not voting.
    • The Dallas cop killings of July 2016 made headlines on both sides of the spectrum, but the right tended to be the one more closely following the story. On the other hand, the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile that precipitated the shooting gained attention almost exclusively from the left.
    • The Congressional Baseball Shooting tended to be more of a right-leaning story, although both sides covered it extensively.
    • Coverage of the Stanford Rape Case with Brock Turner was heavily restricted to left-wing media; the same can essentially be said for the Larry Nassar case.
    • Islamic terrorist attacks do tend to get much of their attention from right-wing media, with the left only focusing on the particularly deadly ones.
    • Inversely, when it comes to gun violence, it's the left that tends to follow the stories more closely, with the right usually tuning in only for exceptionally deadly shootings, or ones committed by a racial minority and/or a left-wing perpetrator.
    • Nearly all Kate Steinle/Mollie Tibbetts coverage came from the political right, as it was a story about tightening immigration laws. The latter story coincidentally came out during the trial of Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort and the plea deal of Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen.
    • When the Harvey Weinstein story first broke out, it was almost exclusively a right-wing story, as Weinstein was a Democratic donor and conservative media were trying to cite him as an example of how the Democrats also had a problem with sexual misconduct that needed to be addressed. Left-wing media, however, was still dominated by coverage of the Las Vegas shooting and the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. However, this didn't last very long, as the Weinstein story blew up rapidly on the left as the Las Vegas and Maria stories receded from the spotlight, and quickly caught up to where it was on the right.
    • During the run-up to midterm elections in October 2018, both sides extensively covered the attempted murders of several prominent Americans — including two previous U.S. presidents — via mail bombs, to the point that Trump complained on Twitter that this trope was in play: "Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows - news not talking politics." This despite the fact that politics was central to the story, as all of the intended targets were critics of his administration.
    • The Mueller probe and the allegations of Russian interference into the 2016 election got a lot of attention got a lot of attention on the political left, but were downplayed on the right.
  • On April 15, 2019, the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, two of the most important sites for two of the world's major religions, both caught on fire, but guess which one was covered most in Western media? The Notre-Dame was much more heavily damaged, though. Native American activists also noted how the fire at Notre-Dame received much less attention than the desecration of Native American sacred sites.
  • There's a noticeable difference in the coverage of American cable news networks from international channels like BBC World News, France 24, DW or Al Jazeera. The former tends to concentrate on American politics to the exclusion of international stories, and international news channels have coverage that is more, well, international.
  • On January 13, 2019 in Malaga, Spain, a two year-old boy fell in a very deep shaft requiring a very large effort to rescue him, which received international coverage. Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain after almost two weeks of hard work. Some Spanish channels would offer 24 hours coverage of the rescue operations, including opening news programs with it and even overshadowing news of more reach that took place during those thirteen days.
  • Hurricane Dorian in 2019 was the worst hurricane to hit the Bahamas in a generation and also struck parts of the eastern seaboard. What was the public’s mind largely focused on at the time? Hurricane Dorian...well, not the actual destruction of the storm, but rather a minor scandal where President Donald Trump accidentally tweeted Alabama was at risk of being hit and afterwards tried to prove that there was a chance it could hit the state.
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