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COMMENTARY

WGRZ's Dave McKinley blasted for insensitive tweet, recognizes mistake

Alan Pergament

WGRZ-TV reporter Dave McKinley had an insensitive Twitter moment over the weekend that he undoubtedly wishes to forget and hopes his followers can forgive.

He replied to an ABC News item about four men, believed to be homeless, who were found dead in New York City’s Chinatown after they were apparently attacked by a suspect who hit them with a 15-pound metal pipe.

“Ban metal pipes,” tweeted McKinley.

Some Twitter members took the tweet from McKinley – who critics consider to be a smart aleck – to be sarcastic support for gun ownership at the expense of the four dead men. The tweet led to outrage from Twitter followers.

“This is weak, my friend,” wrote Dan Telvock, an investigative reporter-producer who used to provide stories for WGRZ and now works for WIVB-TV.

“And we wonder why we don’t take the media seriously,” responded another person on Twitter.

“Classy,” added another person. “Turning off Channel 2 forever as long as you are on it.”

“Not a good take there, buddy,” wrote another.

“Dying alone in the gutter has more dignity to it than your remarks,” wrote another.

McKinley eventually deleted the tweet, which had to be an embarrassment to his station.

It also was another lesson to media members and anyone else about the danger of hitting the send button before thinking of the ramifications of a tweet.

Asked for a response, McKinley wrote: “My tweet was a poor attempt at starting a discussion and I should have been more thoughtful. Instead of taking down my original tweet when responses got heated, I should have clarified my intention. Our viewers deserve better.”

WGRZ General Manager Jim Toellner couldn't have been happy about the embarrassment the tweet caused the station. However, he declined to comment on whether McKinley was being disciplined because he never discusses personnel matters.

email: apergament@buffnews.com

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