In the Friday edition of the New Orleans Times Picayune, reporter Rowan Kavner relates the experiences of LSU’s Mo Isom, the reigning homecoming queen and women’s soccer player who is trying out for a placekicker spot on the LSU football team. Isom has become an internet and media sensation, with numerous blog posts and news stories written about her and interviews on major networks.
Isom’s story is an inspirational one. Not only is she competitive, athletic and articulate, she’s also deeply religious and is being compared to Tim Tebow for her outspoken dedication to God and crediting her faith for her success.
Like Tebow, that kind of outspokenness—I call it God Swagger—will inevitably draw unfettered disdain, even hatred from those who think people like Isom and Tebow should just shut up and play.
So, it was this passage in Kavner’s article that caught my attention and caused a brief moment of shame:
Isom said the feedback she has received has been mixed. She's gotten everything from inspired women to hate from Alabama fans on Twitter, but she doesn't look at blogs. She continues to eye the possibility of suiting up on Saturday nights.
Hate? From Alabama fans? Say it ain’t so. Bama fans are an outspoken bunch, but we appreciate good effort from good people when we see it, even if it’s associated with one of our chief rivals.
I wanted to know who exactly was hating on Isom in Twitter.
I went through her Twitter feed, looking for mentions to @MoIsom89 with examples of such unclassy behavior by Bama fans. That was no small task—she’s received about 1,000 mentions since March 4, before which older tweets were not available. I scanned all of them.
I didn’t find any hate tweets.
I did find a few of these, though:
So why would Kavner report that Isom is getting hate from Bama fans on Twitter? I seriously doubt that Isom would bear false witness, even against the Bama Nation. Did Kavner make it up?
The foundation of good journalism is good information gathering. It doesn’t appear that Kavner tested the accuracy of information gathered for the story, and could not answer the following question in the affirmative:
“Have I gotten all of the information I need to be confident that what I am about to publish is truthful?”
The evidence doesn’t support Kavner’s claim at all. In fact, the only tweets Isom has gotten from Bama fans—dating all the way back to March 4—were expressions of support, not hatred.
Alabama fans don’t hate Mo Isom and it’s my hope that the support expressed in the Tweets above above continues to flow from the Bama Nation. I’m confident that it will. I’m not so confident in the ability of the Times-Picayune to recognize it.