Hate mail

Part of being a journalist is getting letters like this.

Part of being a journalist is getting letters like this.

I thought it would be fun to go back through my Capital-Journal inbox and pull out some hate mail. I delete some of it, but I try to save a lot of it, too. I don’t really know why. There is something theraputic about reading old hate mail. Lest you think I’m a masochist, I save some of the love letters, too.

Hate mail is one of the great perks of being a journalist. If you’re an accountant or an anesthesiologist or a mechanic or a lawyer, you don’t get people you’ve never met sending you letters about how much you suck at your job. And that all the other anesthesiologists you know are better than you. And that you probably got your job through fraudulent means.

What a treat.

Anyway, let’s start with this one from a guy named Bill Akard, Jan. 21, 2008:

Dear Tully,

Is Tully gender specific? I have never read anything by you before and do not know whether I am addressing a male or female. I guess that is all beside the point because your writing certainly is not “reader specific”. You shouldn’t have wasted the paper in which your blurb (it was much too brief, ambiguous and fluff oriented to be called an article) was written. Half-hearted efforts such as this are why I only read the Capital-Journal about twice a month.

Kind Regards,

Bill Akard

This is my response:

I’m a man. And I don’t know what you’re talking about, but whatever it is, I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

Tully Corcoran
Kansas beat writer
The Capital-Journal
(785) 295-5652

And his retort:

Dear Tully,

I respect the fact that you returned my email. I realize that it cannot always be easy to “put yourself out there” for every Tom, Dick and Harry to take pot shots at. Let me try to elaborate slightly as to why I did not care for your article. I thought, for one, you took on (for the KU faithful) a somewhat cavalier tone. You made it sound as if it was a given that the Hawks would/should win at Missouri. It is always difficult to win on the road in the Big XII and perhaps doubly so whenever playing against a heated rival … as emotion plays such a big role.

You also made reference to “… the 13 or so people watching on ESPNU”. The manner in which you phrased that almost took the “Jayhawk Nation” to task when, the people whom should have been taken to task are those who made the decision to televise this solely on ESPNU. Viewers rarely take kindly to “broadcast blackmail.”

I also took some exception to the title. On some levels it was a “sloppy outing” and we did win ugly; however, I don’t really feel that you did a very good job of explaining why. Both teams’ defense as well as the officiating had a hand in the ungainly flow of this game. I do not know all of the factors. Perhaps you only had a few minutes to meet a deadline. Perhaps you had very limited space. I have told you what I did not particularly care about this article … now, I guess I’ll have to read a few more articles that you have written to see if you take on a more professional tone in the near future. Good luck on future beat assignments.

Kind Regards,


This one was fun because the guy seemed disarmed by the fact that I responded to his e-mail at all. I always respond. I’ve made a point of that, whether they’re nice or mean, because I know how infuriating it is to be ignored, especially when you’re already angry.

Here’s one I got from Leonardo DiCaprio, of all people, who wrote me at 3:24 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2007:

Having known you for some time now, I woud really like
to know who you conned to get a job as sports writer
for CJ. Because we all know you did something to get
that job, whatever it may have been, it had nothing to
do with your writing abilites because I don’t see any.
Yeah yeah, you went to KU, so that’s your lone
credential to write about KU football right?

Your leads on the whole are probably the absolute
worst leads I have ever read in my life. The overall
stories are usually just as bad. Go back to writing in
the Argo section for the Review, that’s were you
belong. I will plead to the top level admin. at CJ
that they do not allow you to write KU basketball
stories. Now that would be an absolute disaster on the
highest scales possible. You couldn’t even hold Ryan
Wood’s jock strap. Peace out.

And my response:

Leo, I’m sorry to hear that, because I’ve always thought you were a terrific actor.

I liked that one because it came from somebody who evidently knows me, or at least knows me well enough to know that I went to Washburn, but not well enough to know that I never wrote a word for the Argo section of The Review (which is the student newspaper there). I also enjoyed the extreme cowardice, here, in making up an e-mail address with a false name just to tell me how bad I am at writing, and writing that e-mail at the level of an autistic fourth grader.

Also, although I did go to KU for a short time, that has absolutely nothing to do with my qualifications to be the Kansas beat writer. It doesn’t work like that. For example, the last two KU beat writers at the Kansas City Star went to Baylor and Michigan, respectively. The Lawrence Journal-World’s KU football beat writer went to Missouri. The Kansas City Star’s K-State beat writer is from Vermont.

Here’s one from Andrew Klieber, Jan. 13, 2009:

do you even watch basketball or know anything about it?  this article is ignorant?  you should have gotten that from the ku players after their reactions to your dumb questions.  obviously you have never played and haven’t been around ksu-ku games very long.  ksu is a solid team this year, not great but pretty good, ku is not the world beaters you act like they are, but you should know that since ksu is the only team that lost players last year. andrew kleiber
read what you write.  you sound like an ignorant sports writer that knows nothing about it.

And my response:
Andrew,You’re way too sensitive. The whole point of my article was that Kansas State has played KU pretty well in recent years and therefore the KU players respect K-State’s program. Try looking past the end of your nose.

As for this:

“ku is not the world beaters you act like they are, but you should know that since ksu is the only team that lost players last year.”

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, here, or where, in my writing, you’ve detected that I’m making KU out to be a world beater, but Kansas lost five NBA draft picks and two other players off last year’s team.

Finally, not that it has anything to do with the way I do my job, but I played basketball in high school, lived in Kansas most of my life and have been covering KU in some capacity since 2004, the point being that I’ve been around this rivalry. I covered the game in which K-State snapped its 31-game losing streak to Kansas, and I also covered the game in which the Wildcats snapped a 24-game losing streak in Manhattan. And believe me, the KU team that lost to K-State in Lawrence in 2006 did not respect K-State the way the current KU team does.

Thanks for reading,

Tully Corcoran
Kansas beat writer
The Capital-Journal
(785) 295-5652

I never heard from this guy again.


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