Man bites dog (journalism)
The phrase man bites dog is a shortened version of an aphorism in journalism which describes how an unusual, infrequent event (such as a man biting a dog) is more likely to be reported as news than an ordinary, everyday occurrence with similar consequences, such as a dog biting a man. An event is usually considered more newsworthy if there is something unusual about it; a commonplace event is less likely to be seen as newsworthy, even if the consequences of both events have objectively similar outcomes. The result is that rarer events more often appear as news stories, while more common events appear less often, thus distorting the perceptions of news consumers of what constitutes normal rates of occurrence.
The phenomenon is also described in the journalistic saying, "You never read about a plane that did not crash".
The phrase was coined by Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe (1865–1922), a British newspaper magnate, but is also attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848–1921): "When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news." The quote is also attributed to Charles Anderson Dana (1819–1897).
Examples of literal use in journalism
Reuters ran a story, "It's News! Man Bites Dog", about a man biting a dog in December 2007.
A 2008 story of a boy biting a dog in Brazil had news outlets quoting the phrase.
In 2010, NBC Connecticut ran a story about a man who bit a police dog, prefacing it with, "It's often said, if a dog bites a man it's not news, but if a man bites a dog, you've got a story. Well, here is that story."
On May 14, 2012, the Medway Messenger, a British local newspaper, ran a front page story headlined "MAN BITES DOG" about a man who survived a vicious attack from a Staffordshire bull terrier by biting the dog back.
On September 27, 2012, the Toronto Star, a Canadian newspaper, ran the story headlined "Nearly Naked Man Bites Dog", about a man that is alleged to have bitten a dog in Pembroke, Ontario.
On December 2, 2012, Sydney Morning Herald reported about a man that bit the dog and its unfortunate consequence; 'Man bites Dog, goes to hospital' 
On May 5, 2013, "Nine News", an Australian news outlet, ran a story headlined "Man bites dog to save wife" about a man who bit a Labrador on the nose, after it attacked his wife and bit off her nose.
On March 12, 2014, Rosbalt, a Russian news agency, reported that a man in Lipetsk had burnt a bed in his apartment, run around the city in his underwear, and, finally, "bit a fighting breed dog" following an hours-long online debate about the situation in Ukraine.
On June 14, 2014, the South Wales Argus ran a front page teaser headlined "Man Bites Dog" about a man who has been accused of assaulting his partner and her pet dog. The Online version of this story was later amended to "Man bites dog and escapes jail".
Examples in literature
In Terry Pratchett's novel The Truth, protagonist and newspaper editor William DeWorde uncovers a plot against the ruler of the city by interviewing the sole witness, a dog, via an interpreter. DeWorde's resulting story is headlined "Dog Bites Man", and he notes with some amusement that he was able to make the phrase news-worthy.
Dog shoots man
As an example of a related phrase, a story titled "Deer Shoots Hunter" appeared in a 1947 issue of the Pittsburgh Press, mentioning a hunter that was shot by his own gun due to a reflex kick by the deer he had killed. And in 2005, in Michigan, there was a case of "cat shoots man".
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- "Man bites dog and escapes jail".
- Gilbert, Simon (1 September 2014). "People filmed as father and son fought off crazed dog with shears in Coventry street".
- Aspinall, Adam (1 September 2014). "Man bites dog fending off vicious attack against own pet".
- "Man bites dog then dies at One-Stop shop in Cambridge". 17 December 2014. Archived from the original on 19 December 2014.
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- "Man bites dog: Parish council chairman bites out-of-control dog to defend his puppy".
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- Andrew Rayment, "Fantasy, Politics, Postmodernity: Pratchett, Pullman, Miéville and Stories", p 42., Rodopi, Jun 15, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
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- "Dog Shoots Man: Pet Owner Recovering After Freak Gun Accident", Fox News, December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Buckley, Madeline (October 27, 2015). "Dog Named Trigger Shoots Indiana Hunter in Foot", Indianapolis Star. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- "Deer Shoots Hunter", Pittsburgh Press, October 18, 1947, via Google News. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
- Associated Press (March 10, 2005). "Cat Shoots Owner With 9mm Handgun". Fox News. Retrieved January 26, 2018.