August 16, 2010
Reporter Renee Gork said it was raining Saturday morning when she left to cover Arkansas' first team scrimmage for The Hog Sportsradio ("Northwest Arkansas' newest and most exciting, interactive sports station"), so she grabbed a hat on her way out. Gork being a Florida grad, she happened to grab a Gator hat. Coach Bobby Petrino happened to notice:
Prompted by their fearless leader, Razorback fans noticed, too, and went on the hunt for the unprofessional traitor in their ranks. The incident also caught the attention of Gork's bosses at The Hog, who promptly pulled the plug on her Arkansas career:
It's not the first time Razorback fans' deep, single-minded obsession has cost a favorite message board target their job: Houston Nutt feels your pain, Renee. On the bright side, at least you didn't ask Tim Tebow for his autograph.
Unfortunately, due to Gork's sloppiness, Arkansas partisans have at last stumbled upon the dirty secret of sports reporting – of all reporting, really, regardless of the subject – which is that literally every single person chronicling your team, school, family, religion, business, political persuasion, community organization or personal artistic taste in any medium secretly hates all you hold dear and is actively seeking to undermine your values at every opportunity. Yes, your suspicions have been correct all along. I've been to journalism school (twice), where you learn the most sacred rule of the trade: Slow, subtle, spurious sabotage. The whole "objectivity" thing is just a front to disguise the reporter's obligatory loathing and sense of superiority to all people, ideas and institutions on her given beat. You figured it out, Hog fans. Congratulations. The jig is up.
[Update, 5:34 ET, 8/17] Due to a fairly stunning level of national media attention, Gork took the opportunity Tuesday to apologize and give her side of the story. For its part, Arkansas would like readers to know that it didn't ask for anyone to be fired, though Gork had been advised to steer clear of Monday's practice "to allow additional time to pass."
[Related: Outrage over Tim Tebow autograph flap]