--- - |2+ Objective We offer a novel consideration of how judicial behavior influences Court coverage, examining when the media use negative language to cover the Supreme Court, and the consequences of this portrayal. Methods Regression analysis to examine over 1,000 news articles from 29 diverse outlets covering rulings from the 2014 term, using text‐based measures of the Court and media's negative coverage. Results We find that the Court sends an important signal of conflict when using negative language in its decisions, leading to increases in negativity in subsequent coverage. We also show that this effect is conditional upon both the degree of consensus and ideological signals the Court sends when it rules. Conclusion The media's treatment of the Supreme Court is in many ways a product of the conflict and ideological positioning that can be observed from the Court's rulings. It suggests that Court signals can attenuate media slant. - 'Social Science Quarterly, EarlyView. '