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Local TV news runs wild with Evander Kane story in front of hockey world

The whole (hockey) world was watching!

The whole (hockey) world was watching!

And local television news decided Friday and Saturday that a flimsy story implying that Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane may have done something wrong at or near a downtown bar was important enough to lead or be near the top of newscasts.

Yes, the so-called "developing story" was deemed more important over the hockey world being at the NHL Draft at First Niagara Center or the world economy in freefall after Brexit.

I’m not sure if the Sabres should have been unhappier with Kane for taking attention away from how well the draft went here or with local TV news for overblowing a story that it had no idea how important it might be.

I’m not saying it wasn’t a story. After all, Kane is a celebrity and Buffalo police investigated him last year in an incident involving a woman that ended without any charges against the hockey star.

There seems to be a pattern here that should concern the Sabres enough to give their star a lecture about not putting himself in these situations and embarrassing himself and the team.

The placement of the story might have illustrated to the hockey world that Western New Yorkers take hockey seriously.

Or they might have just thought: “Seriously? A hockey star may or may not have been escorted out of a downtown bar and may or may not be charged with something is top of the news?”

Even granting that weekends are often slow when it comes to news, the placement of the Kane story was as ludicrous as the idea it was a developing story. Nothing developed. Yet.

By comparison, the Kane story received four paragraphs in the Buffalo News Saturday in the Police & Courts” section on page B3. That’s the equivalent of saying that we’re aware of it, but don’t deem it that important yet. The story included quotes from Kane’s lawyer, Paul J. Cambria Jr. that said the bar owner told him “Kane was not ejected from the bar and was not involved in an incident there” and Kane told Cambria “that he was not involved in anything there.”

We’ll see.

Maybe this story will eventually be worth all the overblown attention it got over the weekend. But based on what the media knows so far, it only was worth a brief mention.

The best way for the TV stations to deal with it would have been to lead with coverage of the NHL draft and follow it up with something like, “in other news, Buffalo Sabre Evander Kane took some of the spotlight away from the draft after he may have been involved in a minor altercation at a downtown bar.”

Then TV news could have spent about 15 seconds with the few details known and moved on to another story in which it might actually have some details.

Channel 2 and Channel 4 described whatever Kane was involved in as a “crime report,” a “police report,” a “minor altercation” and possible “harassment of two women” at a bar.

If it turns out that police are investigating harassment, New York State Penal Law,  Section 240.26 considers it a violation and not a crime.

My favorite quote of the weekend came from Buffalo Sabres General Manager Tim Murray when asked to comment about another embarrassing story involving Kane since becoming a Sabre.

“I’m commenting but I can’t comment in detail because I have nothing to comment on,” said Murray.

If only the TV media would have used the same logic. In his next life, perhaps Murray will be a media critic.

Channel 4’s Nalina Shapiro seemed proud of her Friday scoop that something happened even if she didn’t know what happened from her sources.

To try and illustrate something happened, Channel 4 showed a Snapchat video of a few seconds that led to more questions than answers. Was Kane being escorted out of the bar? If so, was it by a bouncer at the bar? Or was it a friend who had Kane’s best interests in mind?

Without any perspective, that video was worthless except to remind celebrities that social media is everywhere and you better behave yourself.

Finally, by Sunday night, the Kane story had been dropped from the top or near the top of the newscasts because of breaking news that impacted all of Western New York: It was hot Sunday.

I’ve never been happier to see TV news lead with an obvious story about the weather.


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