The hot rumour yesterday afternoon was that Wayne Gretzky may be MLSE's target to take over as President of the Maple Leafs. It was just as quickly shot down. But in the meantime the genesis of a story at Canada's only five platform media company provides a fun case study in how the local media generates their own story:
Step One - The 'source' of the rumour
"I've often thought Wayne Gretzky was coming back to Toronto," Cox said on Prime Time Sports Wednesday. If you're Bell and Rogers, who would be better than Wayne Gretzky as president of the Toronto Maple Leafs."
Step Two - The buzz is building
The host of that show, Bob McCown, tweets that there is a buzz around Gretzky going to the Leafs.
Gretzky next Prez. of the Leafs? There is a buzz...— Bob McCown (@FadooBobcat) January 22, 2013
Step Three - The Insider confirms the rumour
Nick Kypreos, a member of Sportsnet hockey panel, adds gasoline to the fire.
Can definitively say preliminary discussionswithin MLSE have taken place. "@fadoobobcat: Gretzky next Prez. of the Leafs? There is a buzz"— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) January 22, 2013
Step Four - The article on the website
Step Five - The random tweet that serves as quasi confirmation
Wayne Gretzky as President of the Toronto Maple Leafs???Stay tuned.— Neil Smith (@nycneil) January 22, 2013
It all comes together using just Sportsnet employees and former employees as the source. Of course, Sportsnet isn't the only major sports media news source in the city so once the rumour started spreading those fuckers at TSN sought to clarify the situation:
There is, no doubt, going to be considerable talk about whether Wayne Gretzky could become president of Toronto Maple Leafs. Here's my take:— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2013
TML presidency one of few jobs in hockey 99 would seriously consider but no direct contact between MLSE and Gretzky camp has been made.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2013
There likely was informal 3rd party inquiries - after Bell/Rogers took over Aug but none in last 2 months - and perhaps internal MLSE talks.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2013
Bottom line for me: Gretzky would be all ears if MLSE wants to go down that road but nothing tangible with MLSE seems to have taken place.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 22, 2013
And then Dave Shoalts - for what it is worth - also chimed in:
Two sources close to MLSE board say there is nothing to the notion of the company looking at Wayne Gretzky as CEO or president or whatever.— David Shoalts (@dshoalts) January 23, 2013
In a story that Shoalts expanded upon, he explains that at least two members of the board have not heard a single thing about the possibility of Wayne Gretzky taking the role of President of the Maple Leafs. All of this happened after Kypreos' first tweet but before this 'clarification'
While the name Gretzky has come up within MLSE walls, I have no internal info that suggests formal talks have even taken place. #easytwitter— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) January 22, 2013
So the impression that there was a buzz about the Leafs hiring Wayne Gretzky as their new President is as far advanced as a married guy that has discussed a possible threesome only with his buddies over beers. Is it definitely not happening? No, but is it anywhere near as advanced as Sportsnet gave the impression that it was? Not even close. And the cherry on top is that Darren Dreger said he got a text from Gretzky that he has never been approached via any channel to be the Leafs' President. So that's that.
Although Down Goes Brown already gave us a preview of what to expect from a Gretzky presidencywhen this rumour was originally started in November of 2011.
Step Six - Write an article decrying social media for spreading the rumour that you and your company started and spread
There was no news report to begin with, no direct confirmation Gretzky had been interviewed for the position or would even be interested.
Here there be links
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