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In the world of 24-Hour News Networks it's hard not to stay up to date with all the world's problems and issues. Well, that's if you're actually paying attention to the news, that is. This trope is when a lot of the impending doom and gloom has been ignored because the characters were going about their lives in a mundane, nonchalant way while ignoring all of the breaking news on the radio and TV. Usually missing out on the early reports of the incoming Alien Invasion, the rise of the machines, the coming Zombie Apocalypse, or just bad crappy severe weather. Which of course would have saved them a lot of trouble later. But hey, this happens to us all in real life, right?

Just think about it. You're sitting on your couch flipping through the channels and all you get is little blurbs of the following: This just in! Reports are coming in all over about.... *changes channel* ....There are several reports of strange.... *changes channel* ....Earlier today people witnessed a strange object hovering over Chicag.... *changes channel* ....There's chaos on the roadways as the city streets are jammed and.... *changes channel* ....Police are warning people to stay inside, and.... *changes channel* ....It has been reported that these people appear to be in a catatonic daze with the taste for.... *changes channel*

Damn, there's nothing on TV!!.... *looks outside* Hey, what the hell is everybody running from?!!

A subtrope of Failed a Spot Check. See also Worst News Judgment Ever, when the media misses out on the news, rather than the viewers.

Examples of Ignored Vital News Reports include:


  • Shaun of the Dead: Shaun practically ignores every unusual event that's happening around him due to being very preoccupied by his miserable personal problems. In fact when he wakes up in the morning he changes the channel every for every news bulletin or boring show. Said news bulletins, which include a nature documentary, finish each others' sentences (even when switching to and from non-news channels), all talking about the dead coming back from the grave.
  • In the Canadian animated short The Big Snit, a couple is too busy fighting to notice the news reports about nuclear war breaking out.
  • 2005's War of the Worlds has a little bit of this in the beginning before the alien invasion.
  • Night of the Living Dead famously has Johnny switch off the radio in the opening scene, just as the announcer is explaining that they're "back on the air after an interruption due to technical problems".
    • In the '90s remake, Johnny and Barbra are too busy bickering to pay attention to the radio reports.
    • In the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake, Ana does this with her car radio on her way home from work, and then she and her husband miss a TV report while taking a Shower of Love together.
  • In Apollo 13, Ken Mattingly turns off his television just as the "Special Report" graphic appears. He goes to bed and misses the report on how the space mission is in danger.
    • He also takes the phone off the hook when going to bed, forcing someone from NASA to break into his apartment to get his help.

  Engineer: "Good, you're not dead."

  • In Fright Night, Charlie and his mother are busy conversing when a news report about a murder plays on the TV. While never explicitly stated as such, the victim was presumably killed by the vampire next door.
  • Played with in Independence Day. Will Smith's character pays passing attention to the news, and assumes it's about the "small earthquake" he and his wife felt a few minutes prior. It's only when he gets outside and notices everyone hurriedly packing their cars that he takes a good look around and finally sees the several-mile wide spaceship. Clearly his character is not a morning person...
  • Threads has the main characters not pay much attention to the developing crisis in Afghanistan, even though it's covered in the TV news reports all the time... Until the first soviet nukes arrive.


  • The lead character in Day by Day Armageddon initially does this, but starts paying closer attention later on when talks of a "super bug" starts to spread in America. Since the story is framed as the main character's journal, he not only notes the news reports, but considers them important enough to record. But it still serves about the same narrative purpose of having the unfolding Zombie Apocalypse set up for the reader while the characters ignore it, since he treats fears about The Virus dismissively.

Live Action Television

  • In Mad Men episode 3-12, "The Grown-Ups", Harry and Ken are chatting about work, and Ken asks Harry to turn the sound down on the TV. Then the CBS News bulletins about the Kennedy assassination start popping up on the screen, but Harry and Ken don't notice until other Sterling Cooper employees barge into their office to watch the TV.
    • Duck turns off the TV in his hotel room on the first report that the president has been "wounded" in order to have sex with Peggy. Afterwards, he mentions that before she came in there was something on the news that's been on his mind, and he turns it back on just in time for the famous confirmation by Walter Cronkite ("From Dallas, Texas, the flash, apparently official..."). On the other hand, Betty is watching when Jack Ruby kills Lee Harvey Oswald live on camera.
  • Minor example in Cheers: when Lilith announces she's leaving Frasier, the latter threatens to jump off the building above the bar. Meanwhile in said bar, the gang is obliviously watching TV with Norm channel surfing and happening to glance a report about "some guy threatening to jump off a building". An extremely agitated Cliff then shouts at Norm to go back...to an episode of Quincy. Only then does Sam ask to change to the "jumper" and they realize who it is.
  • In a parody, the lads on The Young Ones actually did watch a news flash about a police siege, but they never noticed that it was happening at their own house. Even when it concludes inside their house.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, the characters turn on Robin's morning talk show but get sidetracked by their conversation and fail to notice her putting out a fire, resuscitating a man after a heart attack and delivering a baby, all on camera.
  • In a season 3 episode of Heroes, Hiro and Ando are trying to figure out why they have been sent to protect a baby, rather than the adult with the same name that they thought they were sent to protect. While they argue over possible explanations, the baby keeps turning on the TV...which is showing news reports of the adult they thought they were being sent to protect, wearing a suicide-bomber vest, being arrested outside the U.S. Capitol building. Hiro and Ando ignore the TV except to turn it off in annoyance every time the baby turns it on, until they finally unplug the TV in frustration. Then the baby turns the TV on yet again with his powers, and Hiro and Ando switch to enthusing about the baby having a mutant power, still ignoring the news reports on the TV until the baby's mother comes home and tells them about it.
  • Patrick in Dead Set does notice that something is happening on the news, but only worries about whether it'll affect the upcoming broadcast of Big Brother. (It does.)

Western Animation

  • In one episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, Peter is so busy getting ready for school and talking to Aunt May that he doesn't notice the (muted) news report of the escape of the Sinister Six.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls the Professor sets up a curfew for the girls as they have to be in bed by 9:00 PM. When he watches the news it all features Townsville being attacked by everything the girls would handle but tries to ignore all of it because of the curfew.
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